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Crate training

Jo Mead

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Hello everyone!

I’m new on here and wanted to pick your brains about toilet training puppies and crates. One of my new recruits is using their crate as a toilet area and I’m not sure of the best approach. I’m thinking positive reinforcement outside and saying ‘No’ when it happens in their crate? Any thoughts or advice gratefully received. Many thanks

There are a couple of things that could be going on.

One is that puppies have virtually no advance warning that they are going to toilet - so if they happen to be in the crate when they need, that's where they will have to go. We have a good guide to toilet training here, have a read but do come back with questions if anything seems unclear.

House training

Please don't say ”no” to her - the word no is massively overused, it doesn't mean anything, it's only a noise and importantly it doesn't tell your puppy what she has done wrong and what you want her to do instead.

Imagine you are learning to drive.

Every now and then, your instructor sternly says Dame!

You would be puzzled. Even if you stopped or interrupted what you were doing, you wouldn't know what you were doing wrong - driving too fast, not using your mirrors, turning left instead of right, going the wrong way down a one way street, in the wrong gear, too close to the car in front etc etc.

And "dame" is a Japanese word for no by the way, but essentially English is just as foreign a language to your puppy as Japanese is to you.

Can you see how it is exactly like that for your puppy? Frustrating for her as well as for you. So treat toilet accidents as your fault for not having her in the right place when she needs to toilet, not her fault for not being able to hold it.

Another possible reason for your puppy toileting in the crate is that the crate is stressful for her.

If that is possible you might want to look at our guide to crate training, written by Emma Judson.

Crate Training, by Emma Judson

Finally, have you researched littermate syndrome? If not, you should start looking into that now. Raising two puppies well isn't impossible but there are some pitfalls you will want to avoid and good practices that you will want to implement.

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