Potty training for dog takes time and effort. The time and effort doubles when you are a first time dog owner or a pretty busy one. There will be a lot of accidents, cleaning up, and for a while you should always watch your step inside your own house or else your foot may land right on top of a pile of dog poop!
You’ve tried all you can to train your dog to go potty outside or on the training pad, but somehow the lesson still hasn’t stick yet. Either your dog fails to associate potty in the right place with reward or she finds her current toilet is too comfortable to let go.
If this is the case, why don’t you try to use crate as a supporting tool for your dog’s potty training? Many dog trainers and coaches like this method because it is effective and take relatively shorter time to complete.
Why crate helps?
Dog are naturally clean animal. In this case, they compartmentalize their house and separate the space for eating and sleeping from space for soiling. When you put dogs in crate along with their snack or toys, they will think of the crate and a place for eating and sleeping and will less likely to pee or poop there. Later, when you let them out of the crate, it’s easier to guide them outside or toward the training pad and teach them to go potty there.
However, this instinct may get weakened if you get your dog from puppy mills or if he has spent too long in pet shop. In both spaces, puppies are contained in their crate and forced to eat, sleep, and soil in the same place. In those cases, the dogs will not make any difference between the space they use to live and the space for potty.
Before you start
Keep in mind that before the crate training proceeds, your dog should not have any fear or dislike toward the crate itself. So, first you should make your dog likes his crate. Putting his favorite toy or snack inside the crate will help him think that crate=snack or toy. But, don’t put water inside the crate because it may spill everywhere and make the crate less comfortable.
Don’t put your dog in crate that is too small for his size. He should be able to stand comfortably inside the crate as well as turning around. However, don’t pick a crate that is too large that will create too much extra space inside as well since your dog then may pick one of the corners as the toilet.
Take notice of your dog’s behavior. Does he have any bathroom habit – maybe he always pees in a heap of clothes or paper? If he does, then avoid putting any bedding inside the crate to avoid him thinking that they’re allowed to pee inside the crate. Putting newspaper is not recommended either since some dogs recognizes paper as toilet. Make it clear to your pup that there is nothing in the crate that indicates it as a toilet.
Next, you should start to introduce the crate to your dog. He should be able to go inside on his own, without you forcing him. He should think that when he goes inside the crate, he’ll find food or toy waiting for him and it doesn’t mean anything bad or dangerous will happen.
Starting the training
After your dog feels comfortable inside his crate – this means he can stay inside without showing any distress sign like barking, whining, or attempting to escape – you can start the potty training. First, dedicate a time for the training because you’ll have to be physically around the crate to let the dog go from time to time. Weekend can work wonder, or if you have family member or housemate stay at home, you can ask their help.
Next, prepare the crate. Make is as comfortable as possible for your dog, maybe throw a toy for him to occupy his time. Put the crate close to the designated toilet to avoid your dog losing it on the way between the crate and the toilet.
Next, take notice of the time your dog need the toilet. Usually they need to go after eating, then 20-30 minutes after that. Puppy usually also goes potty after nap. Let the dog get inside the crate and let them eat or nap inside. When they finish eating or wake up for a nap, it’s time to let them out.
Then, it is the time for you to show him where he should lay his waste. Guide him to where the designated toilet it and tell him to stay there. If he starts to wander around, bring him back to the toilet. Soon, he should finally pee or poop. Stay beside him as he does and try not to distract him until he finishes. When he finally finishes without any accident, pet and praises him. Give him reward for the first few attempts.
After several repetitions, your dog should be able to think of it as a habit and will walk outside or to the training pad without you guiding him after he is let out of the crate. When he does this, it means he already knows where the toilet is. You can then open the crate door for all time and let your dog goes in and out on his own will.
The most important thing during dog training – whatever the training forms – is consistency. The moment you let your dog out of the crate, bring him to the designated toilet and not anywhere else. When he is successful, be consistent with the praise so the connection of “going in the right place = good thing” will form. When accident happens, don’t praise your dog but don’t scold them either.
In the end, potty training with the help of crate will still need time and effort. However, the method is more effective and efficient since this time you’re working with the dog’s natural instinct. All you need to do is nudge him in the right direction.
Good luck with the potty training!