Why Do Puppies Pee in Their Crate? Tips to Prevent It

Are you frustrated because your new puppy keeps peeing in their crate? You’re not alone. Many new puppy owners experience this issue and wonder why their pet can’t seem to hold their bladder. The good news is that this behavior is common and can be addressed with a few simple strategies.

So, why do puppies pee in their crate? There are several reasons why this might happen. One common cause is that puppies have small bladders and can’t hold their urine for long periods. Another reason is that puppies may not yet understand that they are supposed to go potty outside. Additionally, there may be underlying medical issues that need to be addressed.

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why puppies pee in their crate and provide you with practical tips to help you address this issue. With a little patience and consistency, you can teach your puppy to go potty in the appropriate place and enjoy a clean and comfortable living space for both you and your pet.

Common Reasons for Crate Accidents

If your puppy keeps peeing in their crate, there are several reasons why this might be happening. Understanding these reasons can help you prevent future accidents and keep your puppy happy and healthy.

Lack of House Training

If your puppy is not yet fully house trained, they may not understand that they are not supposed to go potty in their crate. It is important to establish a consistent potty routine and reward your puppy for going outside. Be patient and consistent with your training, and your puppy will eventually learn to hold it until they are outside.

Anxiety and Stress

Some puppies may experience anxiety or stress when left alone in their crate, which can cause them to have accidents. This is known as separation anxiety, and it can be a serious issue if left untreated. To help your puppy feel more comfortable in their crate, make sure it is a positive and comfortable space for them. Provide plenty of toys, treats, and blankets, and consider using a pheromone spray or diffuser to help calm their nerves.

Medical Issues

In some cases, your puppy may be peeing in their crate due to a medical issue. Urinary tract infections, bladder stones, and other health problems can cause frequent urination and accidents. If you suspect that your puppy may have a medical issue, it is important to consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

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By understanding the common reasons for crate accidents, you can take steps to prevent them from happening in the future. With patience, consistency, and proper training, your puppy will learn to love their crate and stay accident-free.


Understanding Your Puppy’s Instincts

The Denning Instinct

Your puppy’s instincts drive them to seek out a safe, secure, and enclosed space to sleep and rest. This is known as the denning instinct, and it is an essential part of their survival. In the wild, puppies would seek out a den to protect themselves from predators, harsh weather conditions, and other dangers.

When you provide your puppy with a crate, you are giving them their den, a safe and secure space to call their own. However, it is important to remember that your puppy’s denning instinct can also cause them to view their crate as a place to eliminate waste.

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The Need for a Clean Space

Puppies have an innate desire to keep their living space clean. In the wild, they would move away from their den to eliminate waste, keeping their sleeping area free of unpleasant odors and bacteria. When your puppy is confined to a crate, it may feel the need to eliminate waste in a designated area to keep its sleeping space clean.

This can lead to accidents in the crate, especially if your puppy is not yet fully house-trained. By understanding your puppy’s instincts, you can begin to address the issue of crate peeing. With patience and positive reinforcement, you can help your puppy learn to view their crate as a safe and secure den, rather than a place to eliminate waste.

Sources: – Dog DiscoveriesPet Keen

Preventing Crate Accidents

If you want to prevent your puppy from peeing in its crate, there are a few things you can do to help them develop good habits.

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Establishing a Routine

Establishing a routine is crucial for preventing accidents. Take your puppy outside to go potty first thing in the morning, after meals, and before bedtime. Stick to a consistent schedule so your puppy knows when it’s time to go outside.

Proper Crate Sizing

The crate should be just big enough for your puppy to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. A crate that is too big may encourage your puppy to use one end as a bathroom and the other end for sleeping.

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A small white chihuahua dog stands in a large gray plastic shipping box and looks at the camera. The dog is ready to travel.

Frequent Potty Breaks

Puppies have small bladders and can’t hold them for long periods. Take your puppy outside for potty breaks every 2-3 hours, and immediately after they wake up from a nap or finish playing.

Positive Reinforcement

When your puppy goes potty outside, praise them and give them a treat. Positive reinforcement helps your puppy learn that going potty outside is a good thing. Avoid punishing your puppy for accidents in the crate, as this can cause anxiety and make the problem worse.

By establishing a routine, using proper crate sizing, taking frequent potty breaks, and using positive reinforcement, you can help prevent your puppy from peeing in its crate. Remember to be patient and consistent, and your puppy will learn good habits in no time.

Sources: AKC, PetKeen


Now that you know why your puppy may be peeing in their crate, you can take steps to prevent it from happening. Make sure to properly potty train your puppy and give them enough opportunities to go outside. Stick to a regular feeding and watering schedule, and avoid leaving your puppy in its crate for too long.

If your puppy continues to pee in their crate, it may be a sign of a medical issue such as a urinary tract infection. Consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health problems.

Remember, patience and consistency are key when it comes to training your puppy. With time and effort, your puppy will learn to associate their crate with a comfortable and safe space, rather than a place to relieve themselves.

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By following the tips and advice provided in this article, you can help your puppy learn good bathroom habits and prevent accidents in their crate. Happy training!


Should I put my 8-week-old puppy in a crate at night?

You can put your 8-week-old puppy in a crate at night, but there is a caveat. You need to remember that they can only stay in there for 1 – 2 hours because at this age they can’t wait for potty breaks very long. For every month of your puppy’s age, they can typically wait one hour before they need to go outside.

For this reason, you will need to take them outside frequently, so you will want to set some alarms and be on alert if your puppy cries – it probably means that they urgently need a potty break!

How long can you leave an 8 week old puppy in a crate?

Your 8-week-old puppy should only be left in the crate for about an hour or two. This is because they need frequent trips outside and if they are left alone for too long, accidents are going to happen.

Be on alert if your puppy cries out from the crate to help ensure that they get to go outside when they need it. Your little one is depending on you!

Should you ignore the puppy whining in a crate?

If your puppy has just had a potty break, then yes. Responding to their whining when they have already had a bathroom break will teach your puppy that they can get your attention simply by being vocal.

You do not want to reinforce this, so as difficult as it is, you should ignore whining from the crate and your puppy will eventually settle down.

Should I ignore the puppy crying at night?

Puppies need to go to the bathroom frequently, so when your puppy cries out at night then you should immediately take them outside.

As a general rule, puppies can ‘hold it’ for one hour per month that they’ve been alive, so until you learn your puppy’s ‘potty schedule’ it is always going to be best to err on the safe side just in case your puppy is in distress and needs to go out.

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What is the fastest way to crate-train a puppy?

The fastest way to crate train a puppy is to make as many pleasant associations as you can with the crate. This can be done with treats, for instance, and there are even pet toys with a ‘heartbeat’ that make your puppy feel less alone inside.

Make it as comfy as possible in there, too, and before you know it your puppy will relax and start to view the crate and their den.

Should I sleep with my puppy the first night?

Yes, but your puppy should be in a crate and you’re going to need to take them outside frequently throughout the night. You should resist the urge to let them sleep in bed with you because of this.

While it’s hard not to sleep with your cute new puppy, there is a strong possibility that you might wake up in a wet bed!

Is it OK to let a puppy cry in a crate at night?

It is better to take your puppy outside when they cry at night until you have a good idea of their ‘potty routine’ – unless you are fairly certain that they are just trying to get your attention.

In the case of ‘attention whining’, it is a good idea to simply let them cry, so that you don’t teach them that you will respond whenever they are vocal.   

What do I do if my puppy poops in his crate?

If your puppy poops in their crate, it is best to modify their ‘potty schedule’ so that you are taking them out more frequently. Puppies need to go out quite often, with 8-week-old pups requiring as little as every 2 hours!

If you don’t, your puppy may end up ‘going potty’ in their crate more often, because they feel that this is normal and this will make potty training a much more difficult process.