How To Stop A Dog From Peeing In The Crate

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Dog Training By Kayla Fratt 16 min read August 2, 2023 76 Comments

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crates for tiny homes

Many trainers and experienced dog owners recommend using a crate to potty train your new puppy. This works wonders for many dogs and is the technique that I personally use.

But what do you do when your dog continues to have accidents inside the crate?

Don’t worry! There are solutions to this common conundrum!

We’ve put together a number of tips, tricks, and strategies to help you learn how to stop your dog from peeing in her crate. Read on to learn some of the best ways to put an end to this perplexing problem and help your dog enjoy a dry crate!

How to Stop a Dog from Peeing in the Crate: Key Takeaways

  • Some owners find that their dog will pee while inside a crate. This can be a pretty frustrating problem, but it’s not especially uncommon and there are a number of potential solutions you can implement.
  • As always, you’ll want to consider potential medical issues first. For example, dogs suffering from bladder infections frequently need to relieve themselves — even if they’re inside a crate.
  • Once you know your dog has a clean bill of health, you can move on to training and management solutions. This means doing things like ensuring the crate is the proper size, providing more bathroom breaks, and providing more positive reinforcement when your doggo tinkles outside.

Have other kinds of nocturnal problems? We can help: Check out our guide to stopping a puppy from whining at night!

First Things First: You Have to Crate-Train Your Dog!

If you haven’t even crate trained or potty trained your pup yet, you’ll have to do that first — it’s a prerequisite for putting an end to pee-pee problems!

So, if you haven’t done so already, see our guides on how to crate train your dog and how to potty train your dog.

Your dog needs to be both comfortable in the crate and comfortable alone before we can expect accidents to go away. If she panics when left alone or is otherwise uncomfortable while in her crate, she may urinate out of fear.

Figuring Out Your Pup’s Peeing Problem

When trying to solve crate urination problems, take note of whether or not your dog is having accidents:

  • When she is alone but not crated (in which case, you may be dealing with separation anxiety)
  • All the time (in which case you’re looking at potty training or medical concerns)
  • Just while she’s in the crate (which suggests crate-training or confinement issues)

Identifying the circumstances in which your dog is having accidents will be very helpful in addressing the issue.

Step #1: Rule Out Medical Issues

dog vet visit

The number one step to take when your dog is peeing in her crate is to make sure she’s healthy. This might sound like overkill, but many cases of tricky potty training come back to medical issues!

It could be that your beloved pup is suffering from a canine urinary tract infection (UTI) or some other medical condition. I have a friend whose dog’s back condition led him to pee and poop in his crate well through his first year of life. A simple checkup or urine test may not catch some of these concerns!

This is especially important to check on if your dog previously was fine in the crate, but is now suddenly having accidents. If your adult, potty-trained, or crate-trained dog starts peeing in the crate out of the blue, don’t waste time with PetMD or internet forums.

Just schedule an appointment with your vet.

But before going in for an examination, take note of the following:

  • How often your dog is peeing in the crate
  • Any unusual odors associated with your pet’s pee
  • Whether or not the urine seems dark or bloody
  • Whether or not you’ve changed anything in your dog’s diet
  • Any new medications or supplements your dog is taking
  • The amount of urine per accident
  • If your dog is urinating normally when loose, or only in the crate

Your vet will probably ask you these questions during your checkup, anyway, so you’ll want to be prepared.

Incontinence is especially common in senior dogs, as they’re at higher risk for medical issues. Medical and age issues can also be big contributing factors for dogs who pee while they’re sleeping.

Step #2: Make Sure You’re Providing a Crate of the Right Size


Crate size is a huge part of the process of crate-training, and choosing a crate of the proper size is imperative for house training success.

Crates that are too small are just cruel, and crates that are too large increase the chances that your dog will use one corner for lounging and another corner for peeing.

When working on potty training, your dog’s crate should be large enough for her to lie down, stand up, and turn around comfortably, but it shouldn’t be much bigger at all.

This might seem tiny to us humans who love our space, but it’s the best way to prevent your dog from peeing in her crate. Once you’ve eliminated the potty problem, you can give your pup more space and freedom.

Decreasing the size of your dog’s crate won’t solve urination issues alone: It only helps if you’re also getting your dog out for regular potty breaks.

In many cases, you’re actually better off giving your dog a larger pen area with a designated potty area if you know you’re not going to meet your pooch’s potty schedule. For my puppy, I used a large pet pen with a litter box and pine pellets. He weaned off the litter box in just a few weeks, but it saved me lots of cleaning when he was a little baby or I was ultra-busy!


So, once you’ve verified that your pupper is healthy, be sure to consider the size of the crate she’s using. If you think it is too big, consider picking up a new crate in a more appropriate size or blocking off a portion of the crate to (effectively) make it smaller.

Changing Crate Sizes Doesn’t Always Work

While adjusting the size of your dog’s crate is (rightfully) one of the first things dog trainers, canine behaviorists, and vets recommend, it doesn’t always work.

A few of the reasons dogs may still pee in their crate after adjusting the size include:

  • Your dog has already made a habit of peeing in her crate. If your dog is already accustomed to peeing in the crate, downsizing might not help. This is why it’s so important to get the right size crate the first time around!
  • Your dog was produced by a puppy mill. Dogs that were rescued or purchased from a puppy mill or pet store are morel likely to struggle with peeing in the crate. That’s because they’re used to dividing up a tiny space and using it as a bathroom, since they had to in their previous situation. This illustrates yet another reason to avoid supporting puppy mills!
  • Your dog is a small breed. Unfortunately, potty-training problems of all kinds are more common with small dog breeds. There are a number of reasons this is the case, including the fact that they simply have smaller bladders, many hail from puppy mills, and sometimes owners don’t notice accidents as readily as they would with bigger pooches.

The bottom line is that sizing your crate appropriately is important, but it’s not a catch-all.

Step #3: Temporarily Remove the Crate Bedding

remove crate bedding

Generally speaking, dogs don’t like to relieve themselves in the same places they sleep, because, eww.

This is part of the reason crate-training is so effective.

But some dogs (particularly those who are hanging out in a crate that is too large) learn that they can tinkle, and then cover the mess with the crate bedding.

From your dog’s point of view, this is a perfect solution — she gets to pee without having to sleep in a puddle afterward.

So, if you notice that your dog is peeing in her crate and she’s pulling the bedding over the urine, you may want to stop including the blanket or crate pad until she stops peeing in her crate.

No, this won’t be as comfortable for her, but it won’t be terribly uncomfortable, either. Dogs commonly lay on hard surfaces (many enjoy sleeping on the kitchen floor), so it isn’t the end of the world for your pooch.

Besides, once you’ve successfully overcome the crate-peeing problem, you can likely start using the bedding again.

Of course, it’s imperative that you’re taking your pup out as frequently as possible and rewarding her for appropriate elimination and that you’re positive she’s healthy before taking this step.

If your pup is peeing in her crate due to a medical issue, inadequate bladder control, or unclear training, it’s not fair of you to remove bedding and make things even more uncomfortable for her.

If your dog simply can’t hold her bladder very long and is having accidents, your best bet is to offer a larger area with a litter box rather than trying to make the situation more uncomfortable. This is why it’s so important to know the difference between potty training (understanding) and a capacity (medical or time-span) problem!

Step #4: Give Your Dog More Bathroom Breaks

walking dog

Many dogs that pee in their crates are still puppies or adolescents, while others are simply small dogs.

This means that the majority of crate training problems come from dogs with tiny bladders — puppies don’t yet have fully developed bladders, and small dogs will always have a smaller fuel tank. Small bladders can’t contain pee for very long periods of time; those tiny bladders need to be relieved often.

That’s why punishing your pup for peeing in the crate isn’t a fair option. Your dog wasn’t having an accident for fun or out of spite — it was an accident.

walk dog more often

This points to a simple and common flaw in your crate-training regime: your schedule. Simply put, you need to take more potty breaks!

A good general rule of thumb for puppies is that they can hold their pee for their age in months, translated to hours. So, a 6-month old puppy should be able to hold her pee for six hours. Your 6-month-old won’t know automatically that she’s supposed to hold it — you have to teach her!

So, use this as a starting point and make sure you’re giving your pooch bathroom breaks at least this often. But remember: This is just a rule of thumb, and some dogs simply need more frequent chances to potty.

Ultimately, if your dog is struggling with bladder control, try taking your dog out for twice as many potty breaks.

For example, we said above that a 6-month puppy should be able to hold her pee for six hours. But if she’s having accidents, try taking her out every 3 hours instead! I suggest creating a schedule and setting timers on your phone. If this stops your dog from peeing in the crate, then gradually start to increase the time intervals.

We realize it may not always be easy to provide such frequent breaks, so you may need to explore options for letting your pup enjoy a bathroom break or two while you’re at school or work (more on this in a minute).

Your Dog Has to Know She’s Supposed to “Hold It”

This months-to-hours rule of thumb about bladder capacity only works if your dog knows that she’s supposed to hold onto her pee!

Dogs do not naturally know not to pee inside. Most will hold their pee inside of an appropriately sized crate, but there are always exceptions. Once again, this illustrates the importance of properly crate-training your doggo at the outset.

Step #5: Adjust Your Expectations

Dog peeing on carpet

It’s important to know what’s reasonable to expect of your puppy. An adolescent Chihuahua won’t be able to hold her bladder for as long as an adult Labrador will — so don’t expect her to.

Keep in mind the general once-per-hour-per-month rule, but this only works up to about 8 hours or so. Some dogs can’t even go that long. I know plenty of small adult dogs who simply can’t hold their bladders for longer than even 5 or 6 hours.

If you’re routinely pushing your dog past her limits, you’re setting everyone up for failure.

Step #6: Use More Treats to Reinforce Good Pee-Pee Habits

dog treats

What do you do when your dog exits the crate? Do you just open up the screen door, let her do her business, and call her back inside for dinner?

If so, there’s a good chance that your dog still doesn’t fully understand that she’s supposed to cash in her pee for payment. When she exhibits a desirable behavior (peeing outside, in this case), you need to reward her!

While you’re struggling with potty issues, it’s imperative that you follow your dog around outside until she pees and reward her for a job well done.

Just understand that you must reward her immediately with some high-quality training treats. If you wait until you’re back inside, she probably won’t make the connection between going outside and earning a reward.

So yes, this means carrying treats with you whenever you go outside (a handy treat pouch will make this much easier).

If you implement these rewards reliably, you might start noticing that your dog tries to fake you out and squat for treats. That’s fine. She’s really catching on if you start to see her trickery!

But don’t let it fool you, either: Wait until she actually starts peeing before rewarding her.

I still do this with my adult dog — potty training is really important to me. Although I don’t carry treats with me as religiously as I do with a new puppy, I still like to pay my dog for peeing outside. This is especially helpful since I’m training my dog to go to the bathroom on command.

Step #7: Film Your Dog For Behavioral Concerns

dog in crate

One of the most concerning reasons for a dog to pee in her crate is separation anxiety or isolation distress.

At Journey Dog Training, I often ask my clients to set up a video camera (you can use your phone, laptop, or a fancy dog camera that even shoots out treats) to see if the dog is suffering from some kind of extreme anxiety that is resulting in urination.

Set up your spy-cam and watch your pooch while you’re gone. If she normally doesn’t have an accident unless you’re gone for more than 30 minutes, then make sure you watch her for more than 30 minutes.

Many folks set up cameras as in the video below to see what their dog is up to during the day. This dog’s activity is fairly normal, but some owners may witness their dogs expressing extreme anxiety.

A few of the signs that may indicate your pooch is suffering from separation anxiety or isolation distress include:

  • Digging or chewing at the crate
  • Crying or barking for more than a few minutes
  • Panting even if it’s not hot
  • Pacing
  • Licking herself excessively

You probably want to speak with a behaviorist if it looks like your dog spends more than half of her time doing things other than sleeping or playing with her toys. If your dog isn’t relaxed enough to sleep or play, she’s probably very stressed by being alone. Crate peeing is a common side effect of this type of distress.

Understand that your dog is not peeing in her crate because she’s mad at you. She’s not trying to get back at you or express her displeasure at being left alone. She’s scared and upset, or she doesn’t understand the rules.

Separation anxiety and isolation distress are really, really tough problems to crack and they often require professional assistance. So, speak to a certified dog behavior consultant or reputable, force-free trainer if you think that your dog struggles with either of these problems.

And this illustrates one of the most important reasons to avoid punishing your dog for accidents — she is not doing it maliciously.

Need Faster Relief? Renovate Your Crate!

playpen instead of crate

Crate training can be a high-pressure endeavor. If your pup does have an accident, it’s extra messy and unpleasant for both you and your dog.

When I am potty-training puppies or foster dogs, I no longer rely on a crate (I used to)!

Instead, consider a Puppy Palace. Using a large pet gate (I like the Carlson Pet Products locking yard), create a dog-proofed area with a comfy bed inside a crate, toys, chew toys, water, and a litter box.

Your pup will slowly start to crate-train herself by choosing to sleep in the extracomfy bed in the crate. But if she needs a potty break, she can take herself to the litter box. This means no more baths, endless laundry cycles, or even infections from lying in her own urine. 

With most dogs, I use grass or pine pellets for the litter box. Most dogs will quickly gravitate towards the absorbent option. 

As your dog gets more comfortable in your home and you reward her heavily for peeing outside, you’ll be able to wean her off the litter box. With most dogs this takes less than a few weeks.

Renovating the crate is a more humane and practical option if you expect accidents will happen, rather than stubbornly insisting that you and your pup deal with the mess of peeing in the crate!

When All Else Fails, Consider Management Solutions

doggie daycare

If you’ve tried all of the above steps and are still struggling with how to stop your dog from peeing in her crate, it’s time to consider management options — things you can do to help mitigate your pup’s pee-pee problemo.

While these options won’t fix the core problem of peeing in the crate, they will help reduce your daily cleaning duties and keep your dog happier! Who wants to come home to a sad, pee-covered dog every day?

You might want to explore other options beyond leaving your dog in their crate if:

  • Your dog is a small breed or a puppy and you work long hours. Remember that your pooch might simply be unable to hold her pee for as long as you’re gone.
  • You suspect your dog suffers from separation anxiety or isolation distress.
  • Your dog has a medical issue that’s causing the accidents. You might need some other options while she heals up, or the health issues might be an ongoing lifelong issue.
  • Nothing else is helping to stop your dog from peeing in the crate.

There are lots of options beyond leaving your dog in her crate all day. Some options will work better for some dogs. For example, getting a midday dog walker won’t help if your dog’s crate is too big and she doesn’t understand the concept of potty training yet.

So, here are some of your options for dogs who simply won’t stop peeing in their crate:

  • Enroll your pooch in doggie daycare. Doggie daycare will provide your pupperino will get plenty of exercise and social interaction, coupled with regular potty breaks. Doggie daycare does have its downsides, though. It can be expensive, and some doggie daycares are better than others. It’s also a poor option for dogs who’re ultra-shy, have very high energy levels, or are aggressive or reactive. Be sure to shop around to find an option that works for you, your budget, and your dog!
  • Use potty pads and a doggie playpen. Another option for dogs who won’t stop peeing in their crate is to set up a solid potty pad and playpen setup. Teaching your dog to use potty pads is a great option for young or small dogs if you can’t afford doggie daycare. The basic idea is to use the pen to keep your dog in one general area of the room, while also giving her a place to pee that’s easy for you to clean up. This approach won’t stop the peeing problem, but it does give your dog an appropriate place to go while she’s home alone.
  • Hire a dog walker. There are so many options available for dog walkers, it’s hard to keep track. I’ve personally used local college and high school students, as well as services like Wag!, Rover, and HikeDoggie — different dog-walking services all have various pros and cons, so be sure to select one that works for you and your pooch.
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These types of services are great for dogs that don’t do well at daycare. Dogwalkers can take your dog out once or twice a day, giving a much-needed potty break to dogs who just can’t hold it long enough for you to come home.


It can be tricky to stop a dog from peeing in a crate, we encourage you to try the tips and tricks detailed above. And if all else fails, simply opt for one of the management solutions we’ve provided.

But we’d also like to hear your success stories! What has worked for your dog? How did you get your four-footer to stop peeing in her crate? Let us know in the comments below!

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Written by

Kayla Fratt

Kayla Fratt is a conservation detection dog trainer and Certified Dog Behavior Consultant. She is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a member of the American Society for K9 Trainers, and is a member of Dog Writer’s Association of America. She lives in her van with her two border collies traveling the country to help biologists detect data with her nonprofit, K9 Conservationists. Before coming to K9 of Mine, Kayla worked at Denver Dumb Friends League and Humane Society of Western Montana as a Behavior Technician. She owns her own dog training business, Journey Dog Training and holds a degree in biology from Colorado College. When she’s not writing or training Barley and Niffler, Kayla enjoys cross-country skiing, eating sushi, drinking cocktails, and going backpacking.


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I have a 7th month French bulldog puppy and he doesn’t pee or poo in the house he only pees in a crate at night he only wake us up at one time during the night but he already peed usually but we take his water away at 7 p.m. and we take them outside to go to the bathroom at least twice for his bedtime so like once and then his bedtime would be the second time should I take him out more often he does have a divider in his crate I’m hoping I’m doing everything right and a question how long can a 7th month French bulldog puppy hold his bladder for

Ben Team

Hey, Ash.
Have you taken the pupper in for an evaluation by your vet? That’d be a good idea, as it seems like you’re doing everything else right.
As a rule of thumb, puppies can usually “hold it” for the same number of hours as they are months old — so in your case, he should be able to go about 6 or 7 hours between bathroom breaks.
Best of luck!

Kai Badon

I need help! I have a 2 year old red Beijing and put mix female, spayed. I only put her in the crate whenever I leave the house for more then 5 minute. Yet when I come back, her crate is filled with pee and she somehow has managed to escape the crate. I can’t leave her running around freely in the house or she is jump on the counters and get in the trash and destroy everything. The crate is not too big or too small. She has enough room to turn around but it’s the same result. I take her out before I put her in and after I get home. I tried potty training and we were doing great but then she relapse. What can I do?

Ben Team

Hey there, Kai.
Sorry to hear about the troubles with your pooch — that certainly sounds frustrating.

Before tackling the issue of her peeing in the crate, you’ll want to make sure to give her a crate she can’t escape from. That’s crucial if you’re worried that she won’t be safe running around freely in your home unattended.

As for her accidents (and escapes, for that matter), it sounds like she may be suffering from separation anxiety. Check out that article for some tips that may help.
Best of luck!


Hi my name is Whitney, I have a 16 month old English bulldog female spade. She loves her crate the crate door is open she’s in it for several hours at a time when I do go to work. I work from home two days a week. She prefers to sleep in at night, again her crate is open it’s sized accordingly. She’s been crate trained since she was a puppy since we’ve had her. I do throw a beach towel in for comfort, however, she prefers to P in her crate versus outside. She can be outside with us I can take her for a walk sometimes she peas sometimes she doesn’t. She doesn’t have any medical issues I’ve been to the vet they’ve made suggestions as well. None have worked . So like I was saying, I’ll take her for a walk or she’ll be outside and she will run in and P in her crate. She doesn’t have any UTIs or again she doesn’t have any medical conditions. We’ve spoken to her breeder and apparently several of her siblings have the same issue. Any suggestions?

Ben Team

Hey there, Whitney. That certainly sounds frustrating!
We love that you’ve already talked to your vet and ruled out medical issues — too many owners skip that crucial step.

We’d start by recommending that you thoroughly clean the crate with dog-safe products. Throw the towel in the laundry and make sure you also clean the surrounding floor/carpet too. Any lingering pee-pee odors may trigger her to go again.

Also, you may have some luck by teaching her to pee in a specific spot.

Finally, if I were in your situation, I may try to “reset” things.

I would take her outside — for hours, if need be — until she pees several times. I’d walk, and walk, and walk, until I was fairly sure she was completely empty (or nearly so — dogs almost always keep a few drops in “reserve”). Do so safely (make sure she has enough water, watch out for high temperatures, etc.), but try to get that bladder empty one way or another. Then, take her back and put her in the crate for 20 minutes or so, before going back outside and letting her pee again.

Lather, rinse, and repeat, until it feels “right” to her to pee outside.
Best of luck! Hang in there!!!

Heather Stehle

Hi everyone I have a red heeler/ pit and he pees in he’s crate at night and every morning it’s a process of taking crate outside to clean and then give him a bath is there any advice on what I can do he’s only in the crate at night

Ben Team

Hey, Heather.
It’s hard to know exactly what’s going on without more info. Is the crate too large? Are you having him stay in the crate too long without a bathroom break? Is he still really young?
Let us know more details and we’ll try to help!

mary Urbank

I have a 16 month old Boxer who is completely trained (or at least we thought). We noticed probably 3 times a week she pees in her crate at night. We take her out at right before she goes into her crate for the night and she pees outside. We took her to the vet and everything was normal. What could it be???

Ben Team

How big is the crate, Mary? If it’s too large, it may not prevent your dog from peeing.
You may also want to make sure that the bedding doesn’t have any lingering urine odors.
Best of luck!

Alex Ridlon

Hello everybody/Ben team, I have a puppy/dog not sure how old or what breed…. we think he is an Australian Shephard/Border Collie mix. The shelter said he was 2 years old but he does not have his teeth in the middle of his mouth, does this breed not have teeth there at the age of 2? He wont stop peeing in his crate. we were gone for 18 minutes and he stilled peed in his crate. We let him out with our other 3 dogs right before we left than put him in his crate. His crate is about 4 feet long and 30 inches wide. What do we do? I need Help. Not a problem with infections or anything, we have checked. Please, Please help us. we leave our oldest dog, Shephard/lab home when leave and he is out of a crate but our puppy has separation anxiety, BAD anxiety. what do we do? we bring our 14 week old Scotts Bulldog/Rottweiler and our 19 month old Rottweiler/Pitbull/Scotts Bulldog with us. what do we do? We need help. As soon as you can help, please do

Ben Team

Hey there, Alex. Sorry to hear about all the struggles with your new pooch.
A couple of things:
1) It sounds like your dog has lost teeth, but you’ll need to have your vet examine him to be sure. And we’d recommend doing so sooner than later, as you don’t want any potential infections present to spread. Also, you’ll want to make sure you take very good care of his remaining teeth so that eating doesn’t become a problem with age. And for that matter, dental health problems can be quite painful.
2) You don’t mention how big he is, but that crate sounds too large. You only want him to be able to lay down, stand up, and turn around comfortably. If he has too much space, crate training won’t work.
3) He may also be peeing for a variety of emotional reasons. It sounds like you have a lot of dogs there, and only some of them are getting to accompany you on trips, which may be causing some internal turmoil.

So, start with a vet visit to check on those chompers, try to reduce the size of the crate via dividers, and reach out to a canine behaviorist to help address the anxiety/social issues.
You may also want to check out our article on separation anxiety.

Best of luck!


Hi, my 1 year old toy Australian shepherd is still struggling with peeing in the crate while I’m at work. I tried removing his blanket and using a smaller sized crate but am still having this issue. He doesn’t do it when I’m gone for shorter periods of time so I’m guessing it has to do with the amount of time I’m gone however I know he can hold it 8 hours because he holds it that long overnight and my friend who has two other dogs from the same breeder who are the same size has no issues – I think it’s more so he needs to make the connection that he shouldn’t pee in there and needs to hold it but I’m not sure what else to try? Thanks!

Ben Team

Hey there, Jen.
It would probably be a good idea to start by taking your pooch in to the vet to make sure there’s not a health problem that’s causing the issue.
Assuming everything looks good from a health perspective, you may want to go back to square-one of crate training. Put him in the crate for a few hours while you’re home, then take him out to go the bathroom and play for a bit, then put him back in the crate. Lather, rinse, and repeat until he develops a stronger association with the outdoors and peeing.
Some owners have found that helpful.
Best of luck!


Hi Jen,
I’m in the same position right now…2 1/2 month old beagle who sleeps through the night, v.rarely pees in the house when we’re around (probably because we have lots of pee breaks) BUT when he’s in his crate he pretty much pees bang on the 1 hour mark. He’s settles fine, doesn’t whine, plays with his toys etc but then wakes up an hour later an immediately pees. Argh. Have you had any success with anything?
I’m just about to try him with no bedding and hope that helps.

Ben Team

Hey, Ash.
Make sure you always start by talking to your vet to make sure he doesn’t have a health problem. But also, be sure that his crate isn’t too large — he should only be able to lay down, stand up, and turn around inside the crate.
Best of luck!


We have 2 pups(sisters)but one of them keeps peeing and pooing in there bed at night,how do we stop this?they are wet through because of this,during the day they are excellent they go outside,dont get me wrong they have the odd accident,but most of the time they do there business outside,we have tried puppy pads but they just chew them,we have a big crate because we have the 2 of them,we think she may have anxiety which could be the reason she pees in her bed,how do we stop this?

Ben Team

Hey there, Hayley.
It’d probably be wise to keep them in separate crates — that may not be helping matters. Also, you actually want the crate to be relatively tight. You want the crate to be just large enough that a dog can stand, turn around, and lay down comfortably.
Best of luck!


I have a 5 month old puppy who cannot hold his pee for longer than 2 hours. He has taken to peeing in his crate the second he is left alone or wants to come out. I give him treats when he is quiet in the crate and take him out religiously every two hours and he will still pee in his crate or inside. How can I correct this?

Ben Team

Hey, Amanda.
You may want to try placing him in his crate, but remaining in his sight line. This may help give him the confidence/comfort he needs to prevent him from peeing.
From there, you could likely use positive reinforcement to help gradually increase the length of time he’s in the crate, as well as your distance from the crate.
Best of luck!


Hello – we have a 15 week old puppy we believe may have come from a puppy farm type scenario – we started crate training yesterday and he chews at the crate and today he has started peeing in the crate – it the appropriate size and is doing it more from what appears to be a behavioural reason – he will spend an hour outside then when tethered to us will go in his crate stand there and pee…any suggestions?

Ben Team

Hey, Laura.

Don’t panic yet — give him a week or so to try to get the hang of things. I would also recommend checking with your vet just to be sure he’s healthy — a UTI can cause dogs to pee in inappropriate or unusual places.
If he gets a clean bill of health and he’s still peeing in the crate a week from now, you should probably speak to a trainer or behaviorist.

It’s obviously not easy to get a trainer or behaviorist to come to your home in our current situation, but Journey Dog Training offers long-distance options.
Best of luck!

Kim steckbauer

My husband and I have been loving our recued Old English Bulldogge’s and English Bulls for many yrs..We have now taken in a beautiful little girl that was used for breeding..this is new endeavor..problems with potty training..plz help us help her..


this is all common sense and not helpful

Utah Mom

If you are still responding to comments, I would love your suggestions. I have tried Everything with our younger lab. She is 15 months & I am certain has separation anxiety, isolation anxiety. She is happy as can be to play with other dogs. She comes home tired, but we can’t realistically do playdates or doggie park everyday as I work and have children. As a single mama, I have really enjoyed how my older dog is very good at telling us when he needs to go out and rarely has accidents so I never even crate him when I am gone anymore. He has a room with a tile floor just in case when I am gone but he is a superstar at holding if I am out all day. Our 15 month old however can’t seem to make it through the night or even a short couple of hours. She pees and poos every where. I would love to let her run around the backyard more freely but my neighbor seems to think that is cruelty and I have had several animal control visits. She loves to be outside & is pretty well behaved out there but the neighbors are making that Hell. She barks less and is happier to run free. In the house I absolutely insist on trying to (aka beating my head against the wall) crate training her. Every day – often every time we crate her she will have used the potty in her crate. She Does have separation issues – I think it is related to my oldest daughter moving out when she was a few months old. My daughter helped with her often and now she is out of state. This poor dog starts her barking fit if she can hear but not visually have us in her sight. We’ve tried prozac and that makes her pee more frequently and that is hell with crate training. She is becoming VERY barky! That is making us all crazy too because we don’t see it as a sign of needing to be let out, she has shown no correlation. My old guy almost never barks – except for knocks on the door LOL. Both dogs are the same breed, both from breeders directly. I had small kids when my old guy was a puppy and he still managed to learn to not piss and shit in his crate pretty quickly. I don’t know why this one just is Not catching on! I have tried four different crate sizes, going out on demand, setting a schedule, more exercise, diet, vet (which is how we have tried Prozac)…and Nothing! The trainers say – start with crate training… but we can’t get pass that, we’re stuck! She is kind of a turd! My kids are attached and I can’t bear to give up on her. I am really at a loss…Need more recommendations that don’t cost thousands – Yep looked at that too (on one income with rare child support, that is outta my budget). I really thought we could train a puppy because our old guy has turned out to be awesome. This one is making me Nuts!! Help if you can please!

Ben Team

Hey, Utah Mom. So sorry to hear about your struggles with the pupper!
I’m not sure if Kayla will have time to respond, but we didn’t want your comment to go without a response.

It certainly sounds like you’re doing everything you can, so the lack of results is obviously frustrating. I’d recommend double-checking with your vet first, to ensure there’s not a medical problem causing his issues. Normally, a 15 month old dog should be able to go quite a while between bathroom breaks. If your vet gives her a clean bill of health, I’d recommend trying to find a behaviorist or certified trainer to work with. I know that’s not the cheapest solution, but it may be the only way to get to the bottom of your pup’s issue.

Best of luck! Let us know how it goes.

Hannah Williams

hi kayla! my boyfriend and i are both full time students and just adopted a german shepard/blue heeler mix to help with our 2 year old australian shepard’s separation anxiety and aggression towards humans. they get along well, but now our problem is her potty training. we’ve had her since she was 9 weeks old and she’s now 3 months, and it has barely gotten better. she’s gotten better at holding until we go outside, only 3 accidents per day rather than 15, but is now peeing in her kennel. we’ve made it small enough that she only has space to turn around and lie down, but we still come home to a stinky house, blanket, and puppy. please help!!! thank you 🙂

Christopher Locascio

Kayla – Good day and thank you for the article. Cathy and I rescued a 5 year old neutered Dandie Dinmont Terrier. Sam is our third DDT and we rescued him after Oscar passed at 15. Our girl Button is 11 year old and also a DDT and get along well with Sam. During the week he and Button are day boarded together and they get plenty of outside time and attention. But even after getting walked he is peeing in the crate. We crate him at home while we are out because he is a wild man and gets in trouble. While we are out, Button is not crated but is gated in our bedroom with Sam. She does bark while we are out but otherwise fine. We tried separating them while out and have been feeding Sam in his crate which has done well with. This past weekend we tried an x-pen but he pushed the pen across the room and yes, peed. The vet is checking his urine but Sam sleeps in our room and has no problem holding it for 8 hours so we can’t under understand why after being crated for 2 hours we have a mess. Sam was originally from a Mill and then went to an elderly couple who could not manage Sam, his sister and others. He then when to a kennel for about a month before we rescued him. How can we break him of this learned habit? Your input is appreciated, Thanks Chris

Victoria hamer

I’ve read the tips on potty traing for crates but mainly it’s day time problems. my rescue pup shows no vocal signs of anxiety when put in her crate at night but it’s soaking wet in the morning but does not smell of wee any help would great


I have a 3 month old mini pin. Who us nit only pooping and peeping in his crate. But also in his bed. Please help n. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Kayla Fratt

Gerry, what have you been able to try so far? Were you able to start some of the suggestions in the article above?

Adele Mitchinson

My Great Dane puppy was dry all night from 10pm to 6am and dry while I was at work. Then one day that flipped. I’d come down in the morning to a flood of pee in her crate and then there were a few accidents during the day. The day accidents seem to have stopped (Touch wood) but she’s peeing at night and I have no idea where the pee is coming from she must have been out at least 6 times before bed last night but again I wake at 4am and she’s sitting in her pee. She is 19 weeks on Sunday 3 March. I’ve tried feeding her earlier, I’ve tried her sleeping in my room and I’ve tried walking her earlier too.

Kayla Fratt

How old is your puppy? How long has this been going on? It’s a bit odd, so I’m afraid I can’t say for sure without more information.


What is the best thing to do/response when you catch your pup peeing in the house ?

Also, will a puppy that pees in its crate be able to break the habit? Should you wake up every few hours during the night to take it out ?

Kayla Fratt

Hi Christina. If you catch your puppy peeing, take her outside and reward her when she finishes outdoors. The whole article above outlines the steps to help a dog break of the habit! 🙂


Im having issues potty training my female, 30lb Australian shepherd. Shes 9 months old. She gets plenty of exercise for her breed but is actually a very low to medium energy dog. she’s on a feeding schedule. Goes out every 3 to 4 hours. She poops and pees on these trips. She has good dog food. Science diet. Doesn’t eat or drink before bed time. She’s 100% healthy. I’ve given dog treats that are supposed to help her bladder. I’ve scolded her when catching her in the act. Ive made loud sounds or completely ignored her. She is crate trained. She loves her crate. Ive read and followed veterinarian, dog training, and other potty training advice since she was 11 weeks old, But here I am, at 10am after she went to the bathroom at 6am, cleaning up a huge pile of dog poop and looking at a huge puddle of piss in her crate. I can’t take it anymore. :/ its a massive problem. She knows all of her commands and extra ones. She gets long runs, walks, and Swims. But she will potty herself anywhere from3am to 9am and 3pm to 8pm with no warning or reason.


Science Diet is a mid grade dog food.


I have two sibling puppies, 4months old 5pound Shipoos. Their Mother died and they were hand raised by breeder. They do not know not to pee in their crate/sleep space. I’m home with them all day. Take them out hourly. Walk them 3-4 times a day. Keep them in a play pen. And they still pee in their pen. I’m hopeless at this point. Any advice?

Kayla Fratt

Hi Lisa. An hour in a play pen might be too long for 4-month-old puppies. You might need to take them out separately and/or more often. I’d also suggest reading up on littermate syndrome, as you’re at serious risk of developing some behavioral issues raising siblings together.


Hi, I have a 6 year old mix shih tzu/Japanese chin and have never used a crate. I stay at my boyfriend’s 2-4 days every week and take my dog. The first few times we had to go out to events or shopping and he has gotten up on tables and counters. Tore down curtains and furniture trying to get out. So we tried to leave him in a room next time we had to shop and he dug at the door a wrecked that so now we use a crate. We leave for an hour to up to 5 hours depending on the function we attend and I bring him out to go potty and make sure he goes before putting him in the crate. And I’ve trained him to go in the crate by himself by just telling him to. And rewarded him with a treat. The first couple of times hes peed or pooped in the crate. But now will lift his leg to pee out of the crate. The neighbour has said he barks the whole time were gone and sometimes the crate is moved and he is drooling so much he looks like hes foaming at the mouth and I know that is separation anxiety. My question is how do I train him to relax when we go and not to pee in his crate?

Kayla Fratt

Hi, Corri. It sounds like your dog is suffering from pretty serious separation anxiety, and it’s time to get help right away. You might want to check out Malena DeMartini’s Mission Possible course ($100) or reach out to me for private training. One of my trainers LOVES helping people with separation anxiety, and she’s got availability! We’ve got a separation anxiety guide coming soon here, but it’s not ready for reading yet!


I have 1.5 year old female GSP I took in 4months ago. I have tried everything from several trips outside, treats, smaller cage, corn silk, watching water intake, vet trip for UTI medication. And she still continues to pee every night and day while I’m at work. I’ve caught her drinking her own urine and I don’t know what to do anymore. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Kayla Fratt

Hi Cat. I’m sorry you haven’t found any solutions. This is odd behavior – especially the drinking of urine. My biggest suggestion was to get in to see a veterinary behaviorist or behavior-savvy vet to really rule out medical reasons for the problem. There are many things beyond a UTI that could be the cause. The vet can also help you determine if this is behavioral or medical. It may be both.


I have a 13 week old goldendoodle. We have had her for four weeks, and she pees in the crate randomly. I am very concerned that she has picked up a hard habit to break. I haven’t been able to pick up on a pattern. She generally keeps the crate dry all night (one accident overnight in 4 weeks), and she has only woken us up once during the night since we got her to go out. Accidents seem more likely to happen during the day and within an amount of time that I would expect her to be able to hold it. The vet told me she should be able to hold it 7 hours during the day, which I thought was ludicrous at this age. My expectation at this point is 3-4. She seems to hate the crate and often whines immediately after we put her in for a while. Wetting the crate also happens right after whining, so we are always hesitant to take her out of the crate when she is whining for fear of reinforcing whining as a means to exit the crate. Sometimes she does great, and sometimes she wets. we have a crate with a divider, and she has VERY limited space (can turn around but that’s pretty much it). She has wet in the crate both with and without a towel. What are we doing wrong? See below for a typical day’s schedule:

6am-awake and taken outside as soon as she gets out of crate; pretty reliably pees and poops while on leash
Back inside for supervised play time
7am-feed her breakfast
7:30-outside; always pees and usually poops; sometimes a 15 minute leashed walk after breakfast; immediately back in crate
10:30 to 11-outside and some play time before back in crate
2-3-outside and then back in crate
6-outside for potty time and then back inside for dinner
6:30-outside again and then back in crate
10-last scheduled time outside for the night and then in crate until morning

Kayla Fratt

Leah, thank you for all of that detail! I agree that more like 4 hours seems reasonable for a puppy that age. Glancing at the schedule, it seems like quite a bit of crate time for a young puppy. I’d actually recommend letting her out right away when she wines, letting her pee. That essentially rewards her for letting you know that she needs to pee, which is exactly what we want! It’s much nicer to live with a dog that warns you when they need to pee, isn’t it? If she doesn’t pee when you take her out, go back inside. No biggie.

[email protected]

I think I failed to tell you she is put in the wire crate and holds herself just fine. No mishaps, gone 7 hours yesterday and nothing. This has been how she had done no accidents when gone for a few hours. So this is why I wrote. I’m 66 years old and never had issues like this.

Kayla Fratt

Jan, at just three months old, your dog is just a baby. I would recommend a smaller crate and more potty breaks. Use a timer and reward her for going outside.


My dog is 3 months old. I have never ever had an issue raising trying any of my many dogs. I did start out wrong with this one with a big wire crate. We did block it off and that didn’t seem to help.. the dog would pee then lap it up and if she pooped she would try and eat it. She was in a Florida room and I slept in a recliner for first few weeks. I wanted to get bCk to my den with my husband I bought a crate and blocked it off. She holds it fine all night unless I get up and if I do I always let her out also. I spend time with her outside throwing a toy and in front of me on lease. Any time whether she been outside or not so as she put in crate she circles a couple of times and pees. She is doing this on purpose. She was chosen by the breeder to be a good candidate for my service dog to train myself. This was a 6th generation breeding and she has had great success. She health test and X-rays hips.
What am I doing wrong?


I have a 7 month old pug puppy. I take her out to do her business but she is afraid of the grass so I’m using pee pad outside on my patio. She does her business on the pee pad but when I put her in the crate to go run an errand for an hour there is pee and sometimes poop in the crate. Any suggestions?

Kayla Fratt

Jessica, I’d try putting her in an exercise pen with a pee pad in one corner. That way she can relieve herself outside of the crate. It’s really hard to potty train a dog once she learns it’s OK to pee/poo in the crate, so I’d do whatever you can to avoid letting her do that. Is she 100% “empty” before you leave for an hour? do you reward her when she goes outside? At 7 months old, she should be able to hold it for an hour. Finally, I’d try filming her to make sure she’s not in extreme distress. You can try using the pee pad on the grass as well to transition to peeing on grass.


Yes, she is fully empty I take her out and she does her business, before I leave and before bed time. I was going to put her in an exercise pen with a pee pad but she starts to eat the pee pad and/or shredded it. Also she is at the point of jumping out of the pen she stands up and can reach the top of it. But the filming part is a good idea and I’ll have to try it. Thank you


Hey I have a pit bull puppy named kane ,he is a very handsome dog ,but I’m so stressed because he always poops and pees in his kennel. I admit when he messes up I spank him, but I thought that is what you were suppose to do. He is in a bigger kennel but he shares it with my older girl pit chloe and she has to lay in his urine and poop all day. We cant let him run around because he chews on everything and the pads didn’t work. I’ve tried going out with him, but he will stand there forever and come inside and In five minutes use it. If I put him in a smaller kennel by himself he loses his mind. I dont know what to do I’ve almost given up but my wife loves him very much….


I have an almost 6 month Cairn Terrier that I was given to me at 5 months old. She does not know that it is wrong to pee inside the house or in her crate. The previous owner had her crated all day and she would pee in her crate. She doesn’t care. The crate was probably too big to begin with, but it is a good size now. She pees a lot and I restrict her water intake. When I first got her I swear she peed at least every 30 minutes. She will pee outside on demand when taken out by leash and she is taken out very often. She is hardly ever alone for any extended period of time. The vet did not detect any medical issue and she was checked for UTI. She often will sleep through the night without wetting her crate (7 hours). I believe it is behavioral. She is a smart dog. And there has been some progress, but I think I need to scold her at this point. She just doesn’t get that it’s wrong to pee inside. I’m also wondering if I should use pee pads, something that I’ve always avoided.

Kayla Fratt

Diane, it’s really challenging to potty train a dog that has already learned to pee in the crate. Rather than scolding her, I’d recommend setting up a schedule of taking her outside every 30 minutes and rewarding her with food for going outside. Scolding her is more likely to teach her not to pee in front of you than to not pee in the crate.


Your pup has no idea why you are “spanking” him. Even if caught in the act he won’t make the connection. Punishing has no place in crate training. Only positive reinforcement works. If he’s chewing things outside the crate you can throw a rolled up towel with rubber bands at him. That way he associates the chewing furniture with the bad towel and not you. Definitely separate the dogs in 2 crates and make sure it’s small enough. Good luck!


I have an 11 yo female miniature dachshund. Within the last several months we have moved twice and during this time we also had to put her sister down. I’ve always crated the two of them together since they were puppies. Now she has started to pee in her crate when I’m gone. It is not medical and I’m sure it’s because of what she has been thru. She tears up the pee pads and seems to wiggle out of the diapers. Any other suggestions? Also are there any OTC remedies that actually work ? I don’t think it’s incontinence as she holds it in all night when sleeping with us.

Kayla Fratt

It sounds like she may be suffering from separation anxiety, which isn’t uncommon in dogs that have had the sort of stressors she’s had lately. I’d recommend checking out the book “Don’t Leave Me” or “I’ll Be Home Soon” for in-depth help regarding this!

Shirley Bodine

my sons puppy is about 9 weesk old, he is climbing up the inside of his cage and peeing on the outside, how can we correct this problem? Thank you

Kayla Fratt

At just nine weeks old, your puppy does not yet have true control over his bladder. Keep him tired and occupied using puzzle toys and take him outside VERY frequently. Reward when he goes outside. He’s still extremely young!

Donna L Elliott

Excellent article! Thank you!

Lauren Buchanan

Helpful article thank you. My puppy pees in his crate when left for longer than a couple of hours (I know it’s not his fault) so I wanted to use a play pen and leave puppy pads for peeing but he goes crazy. I’m not sure what to do I feel he’s safer in the crate because he calms down eventually but doesn’t seem to in the play pen (attached to the crate with toys etc inside). Is it because it’s a bigger space than the crate? Is there anything you can suggest to help with this please. Thanks.


Hi, I have a 3 months old yorkie. When i first brought him i used to keep him in his crate and he had learned to use his pad. Two days ago he started to poop outside his pad so i made his crate samller and put his pad outside and take him for potty brakes but he doesn’t use his pat any more and hold on to his pee even for hours until i put him in his crate then he does his work. What should i do


I’m having trouble potty training my 4 month old German Sheppard rot mix. Some days she has no accidents and other days she will have 6! I’m a teacher and home all summer and trying to keep her routine and number of breaks consistent to potty train before school starts up. We even have a doggy door she can go outside whenever she wants… but it’s like she’s scared of it and will only go potty when I let her out the front door. She’s been peeing in her crate, I have to give her baths everyday. When we get up in the morning first thing we let her out of the cage and even though she peed in it, she will pee when you open the cage door before even walking outside…. I have been religiously rewarding her with treats when she does go outside and lots of praise. Starting to lose my mind cleaning her crate and bathing her everyday. And when I go back to school in two weeks I won’t have time for this… I already have a 2 year old and am 7 months pregnant… I’m going to get her a smaller crate to start, but how do I get her to not be afraid of our doggie door? Any advice is appreciated! PLEASE HELP!

Kayla Fratt

Holly, that sounds really frustrating! How long is she in the crate for? I wonder if a vet visit to rule out a UTI is in order. I also would recommend finding a local trainer to help you troubleshoot, since you’re on a really tight timeline. You can find one at iaabc.org/consultants or petprofessionalguild.com/Zip-Code-Search


She will be in a new routine when school starts again. Give it time they soon grow out of it. Keep rewarding as you are. For weeing straight outside the crate move the crate nearer a door and open the door for her to go straight out or open the crate and call straight to the door with a treat etc. She will smell the treat so that will keep her mind off weeing. My puppy won’t stop weeing in his crate but I know in the long run he will stop doing it. X

Kayla Fratt

Thanks for the tips!

Tena L Gallup

Our dog is 1.5 yes old and still peeing in his crate. He will prep outside the crate so it’s not on there with him. We are at a loss as 2 what to do. I’ve never had this problem before. HELP!


Please correct the typo in your article: the “U” in UTI stands for Urinary, not Uterine [it is quite impossible for male dogs to have a uterine infection 😉 ]. Thanks.

Meg Marrs

Thanks for catching that Kristie!


What about overnight? I’ve been taking my 8 week old outside to do his business at least half a dozen times each day (including immediately before bed) and he’s now woken me up soaked in pee for a second time in a row

Kayla Fratt

At 8 weeks old, your puppy will still need to be going out multiple times per night. His bladder can’t hold it for that long!

Chuck Taylor

Well, I didn’t read all of the article -but- the best way to stop your pouch from peeing in a crate is… just don’t use a crate in the first place. I know this will get a lot of flack -but- I have never used a crate and I don’t believe in them. My ‘Pup’ has complete run of the house and always has. Yes, house breaking was quite the challenge, especially cause of going to work… -but- when he was 17 weeks old he was house broke and used the doggy door. I had him for 12 of those weeks. So each to his own… Don’t know if the time frame for the task was good or bad but that is what we got.

Kayla Fratt

I’m so glad that worked well for you! Crate training certainly isn’t for everyone – or every dog! That said, some people have to crate their dogs to comply with their lease. I personally crated my dog for a long time because he would eat non-food items and was putting himself in danger. You did very well housebreaking your pup! 17 weeks is impressive 🙂


Thanks Einstein. PS not using a crate was one of the points in the article, captain obvious.

zanatra ambrose

You said your against a crate, you let him go freely about the house and at 17 weeks he was potty trained but you never offered a solution or your method. I dying to know how you potty trained your puppy after he shitted and Peed all over you house?


I’m just replying to person who is against crating. Some people don’t have the option of not crating. We have a small older dog and got a 7 mo. old larger rescue puppy. We wanted to crate when we’re not here, so they won’t hurt each other. The older dog is not crazy about the new one. It seemed he did better in the crate at first but now has peed a few times . I’m afraid our crate is too big, and of course I threw away the receipt. Thank you for your suggestions.


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