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How To Potty Train Your Dog-Crate Training is Key!

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German shepherd dog sitting outside on brown grass

One of the most important things we will train our dog to do is potty training. Certainly it is best to potty train your dog to go outside instead of using pads especially if you want your dog to eventually go outside exclusively. It will only confuse the dog if you train to go inside sometimes and outside other times.

I will explain to you how to potty train your dog using a crate. Using a crate actually speeds up the potty-training process.

The best way is to stick to one area and that area should be outside of the house. Certainly it is the most common way to go. It does not matter the age of the dog as all dogs can follow the same method. Certainly it is not as difficult as you may think as dogs are very smart. Most catch on quickly.

Establishing a Routine

Actually, potty training for dogs can be easier than you think as long as you are committed and consistent with your guidance. First and foremost, your dog needs a daily schedule.Aussie puppy dog on grass

Be sure to have a scheduled daily routine for your dog. Feed them at the same time each day (twice a day for most dogs). After 20 minutes, any uneaten food should be taken away. You don’t want them to eat throughout the day whenever they want. Otherwise, they may have to “go” at all different times throughout the day.

Using a Crate-It Really Works!

Some people think using a crate for training is cruel. Certainly it is actually quite the opposite. Crates rank as a high potty training tool. They make life easier for everyone. Dogs usually end up loving their new space.

When choosing a crate for your dog, make sure there is enough room for him to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. He should not hit his head on the ceiling when standing and he should be able to stretch out without being cramped.

The best way to begin introducing the crate to your dog is to exercise your dog first. It will reduce anxiety and you will have a more cooperative dog. Who doesn’t want that, right?

I would put the crate in an area where your dog likes to sleep or sit around in the house or put in a place where the family will be so they are not alone. You may need to move the crate around depending on if the family will be in a certain area of the house for a long period. Add a soft blanket or a crate mat inside to make it comfy.

First, let your dog sniff the crate and become familiar with it. Give your dog a small treat near the crate so he can start to associate it as a positive experience. Open the door(s) to the crate and leave them open. You want your dog to naturally go inside and not be forced in.dog in crate

If your dog does not go in, try dropping a treat inside the crate. Make it fun. Add toys in the crate that your dog loves. This will introduce the crate in an exciting way. You can throw the toy in the crate so your dog will have to go in and get it. When he goes in there, slowly close the door and throw a treat in through the crate. Then open the crate and let him out again. Repeat this a couple of times so the dog gets used to the crate.

Never force your dog inside or yell at him to go inside. This will only make your dog fearful of the crate and associate it with negativity.

Feeding your dog inside the crate will make it a more pleasurable place. For more fearful dogs, try feeding him right outside the crate instead. I used to feed my dogs inside their crate on a daily basis. They would go in there on their own and expect to eat from inside the crate. I would also put their water in there. That also helps to prevent them from going potty in the crate as they will not go where they eat and sleep.

Make the crate like a bedroom. It will be his place to sleep and be comfortable. He will relax in there and it will be his personal space. It can be several days or up to a week for your dog to feel comfortable, however most dogs will be fine in a few days at most. Your ultimate goal is getting your dog complacent with going inside.

Eventually, your dog will go in there on his own. It will be a sense of security for him. After he is potty-trained you can leave the door(s) to the crate open for him so he can go in and out at his own leisure. Later on, you can remove the crate all together.

Taking Your Dog Out to Go Potty

Once your dog embraces the crate as his personal space, it is time to potty train. If the dog is not directly under your supervision, he should be in the crate. This way you can monitor him.

You should take a young dog out approximately every 30 min or so and older dogs about every hour. Older dogs can hold “it” for several hours, however for training purposes it is good to try each hour.

When you remove the dog from the crate, take him directly outside, preferably to same area. Tell your dog to “go potty” or whatever term you want to use. Make sure you use the same words each and every time so your dog does not get confused. I would also point in the direction of where to go.

Repeat “go potty” right as you see your dog getting ready to go or if he is in the middle of going. I always found it best, to repeat the words “go potty” right in that moment. That way, he has no choice but to do what you are commanding as he is already in the act. When he is done, praise and pet him. Let your dog know he or she is a “good boy” or “good girl”. You can also give him treats as a reward

When should you praise your dog for going potty outside? Always! I praised my dogs their entire lives. It became habit after a while. Neither one of my dogs ever had an accident in the house after learning.small black dog on grass

Hint:¬†Don’t raise your voice too loudly when giving commands, simply say it in a calm but firm tone. You don’t want to scare your dog.

Remember, mistakes happen! There will be times when your dog will go to the bathroom in the house. Unless you catch him in the act, do not say anything to him. He will not understand if you yell at him or tell him “no” after the fact. Dogs are “in the moment” kind of animals. Simply, clean up the mess and move on.

If you do catch your dog going potty in the house and I mean actually see him in the act, then simply tell him “no” in a firm voice and take him outside immediately and say, “go potty.” If he goes outside, praise him. He may or may not go. It depends on if he was finished but hopefully he’ll get the idea that you want him to do his business outside and not in the house.

I would keep the crate near your bed at nighttime so he does not feel alone or abandoned. The first few nights you will have to take him out about every few hours or sooner depending on your situation. Just remember when you remove him from the crate, take him outside immediately.

Do not crate a puppy for longer than it can hold its bladder. If you do, this will give the puppy no choice but to potty in the crate. If this happens time and time again, it can set back your training possibly weeks.

As soon as you get up in the morning, take your dog out of the crate and directly outside to go potty. When you have him outside, point to the area you want him to go and again, say, “go potty.” You want to keep this a consistent routine for your dog. As I mentioned before, always pet and praise your dog after he goes outside. That will encourage him to do it again the correct way.

Effective Tips When Training-Check These Out!

  • Do not go on vacation during the training period-Your dog needs stability.
  • Never leave your dog in the crate for hours on end-Potty breaks and run/play time is necessary. Just keep them in there when you cannot watch them. Certainly it is never a good idea to leave them in a crate while you are working all day. You must have someone come and be with them to take them out potty periodically as well as give them food, attention, and care. They need social interaction.
  • Do not use the crate as punishment! Your dog will learn to dislike the crate.
  • Before putting your dog in the crate ALWAYS be sure to take them out to potty first.
  • If for any reason you cannot watch your dog, briefly put them in the crate. (For example, you need to shower, you are cooking, on the phone, etc). This avoids accidents.
  • Never crate a dog that is sick or has medical problems especially diarrhea. Certainly it is cruel and causes them to sit in their mess. They will lose their instinct as to where to go.
  • Do not use a crate too large. If he can sleep on one end and potty on the other end, it is too large. In time, they will lose their inclination to keep their space clean. It will be difficult to convince them to keep your house clean as they will think they can potty on one side.
  • Do not place your dog in the crate immediately after he goes potty. Spend a little time playing with him or taking him for a short walk You don’t want him to associate going potty to going back in the crate. It will take the fun out of things and he may hesitate in going potty if he knows he will only go back in the crate right afterwards.
  • Signs to look for that your dog needs to go: sniffing floor, circling, walking towards the door or crying
  • Take your dog out right after eating or drinking and then about 30 minutes after that.

If all the training after several weeks does not help, you may want to take your dog to a veterinarian to rule out any medical issues.

In Conclusiondog on blanket

Being patient and consistent are so important as well as positive reinforcement. I know you want your canine friend to learn right away, however all dogs are different. Some will learn in a few days whereas others in a few weeks. Hopefully this article will help you train your dog in an affirmative way.

The idea is to instill good habits while building a loving bond.

Happy crate training!

Feel free to leave a comment below and thank you for visiting my website.

14 thought on “How To Potty Train Your Dog-Crate Training is Key!”

  1. Autofreak says:

    Potty training can make dog owners feel clueless, except they are experienced in doing it, training dog is really a fun filled experience for me. In an matter of 2 months, I trained my dog on where to eat and where exactly to go potty. This way, my wife know where to pick it from every evening.Dogs are amazing creature, they are loyal and friendly, but owners need guide from people like you.I found your dog useful for pet owners, I wish that you have an Instagram page so we can connect better.Cheers!

    1. admin says:

      Wow, you’re good! Yes, I agree that training a dog is fun but you also need patience and consistency. I think some people give up too easily. Gosh, dogs are so amazing and so special to have in our lives. Thank you for reading my article and I am working on getting an Instagram account. I will surely connect with you!

  2. Strahinja says:

    Loved reading your article. When my dog was little, this was really the hardest thing for me to train him. I read different techniques online and I’ve tried them all, especially the one when you put the newspaper all around the apartment and when the dog does its thing you remove that square. This technique gave me the best results.

     After he uses all the squares you put one outside of the house and voila, the dog is trained to the peeing and pooping outside.

    I can also agree that you should always take your dog outside before putting him in the crate. Many times my dog had an accident :), when I did that.

    Thank you. Love your website.

    Strahinja.

    1. admin says:

      I appreciate your comment, Strahinja. The “newspaper” idea is also a great way to train your dog. Glad it worked for you.

      Yes, one big problem people have is not taking the dog outside before putting him in the crate. That is a very important step. The dog can only hold out for so long.

      Thank you so much and I’m glad you love the website!

  3. charles39 says:

    Most of these to do list on potty training are fairly new to me and I will say I didn’t have any idea they were so important dogs are our best friends and they should be well taken care of walking your dog is very good.the  reason I am saying this I have seen people without a routine on how to potty train their dogs nor even taking them for a walk so of them spend a lot of time caged which is not good at I believe they need to learn and be taught on the best to live with your dog  their really need that.

    1. admin says:

      I so agree with you about people that don’t have a regular routine for their dogs. It is sad when dogs are caged up all day and don’t have the freedom to go on walks and play. I’m glad you found the potty training guidelines helpful. Dogs are special pets and need love, discipline and attention to be the best they can be. Thank you so much for reading my article!

  4. abioye olalekan says:

    I must commend you for putting this write-up together; The construction is well expantiated.

    Dogs are the best of all pets that could be trained easily. the highlighted points are key and i will try my best to put these together to train my dog. nevertheless using the crate strategy is highly dope; I believe its the best of all .

    Thanks for sharing this with us. your post is highly appreciated

    1. admin says:

      Dogs certainly are the best! Training them makes for a happier and healthier pet. 

      I wish you all the best with your training. I believe using a crate is the easiest way to potty train as it gives the dog a place he can use as his personal space while learning where to use the restroom. Dogs will not use their sleeping space as a restroom so it makes things easier.

      Thanks for taking the time to read my article and best of luck to you with your dog!

  5. zuchii says:

    Dog training is a special skill that requires adherence to systematic steps and principles just like behavioural psychological training done in humans.The tips listed out in this article can be very helpful in engaging your dog and making them learn as much over a period of time, it is also important to note that patience is key to learning, it is not advisable to rush them over a short period of time. Thanks once again I found this brilliant.

    1. admin says:

      Hi Zuchii! I’m glad you found the tips in my article useful. You are so right about having patience. I think that is the main reason people give up. Sometimes training your dog can take a week or two whereas other dogs take several weeks to learn to potty train. It depends on the dog and your consistency. All dogs will eventually learn though. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Nkhosingiphile says:

    I really did not know how to potty train my dog, i used to be enraged when seeing the potty on my veranda, now i am regret the way i treated my dog, i really am now seeing and believing that even animals need caring, they do understand when being talked to, like you have just outlined on how to talk to your dog. Now i know how to treat my dog. So let us say i am having visitors and i know my dog is very aggressive to bite, is it OK to keep the dog in a crate for long until my friends are gone?

    1. admin says:

      Hi there and thanks for reading. You really need patience and consistency when training your dog. If you yell at your dog, especially after the fact, your dog will not understand and it only instills fear in him. I’m glad you found the article useful. 

      As far as leaving your dog in the crate, I wouldn’t leave him in there longer than 3-4 hours. Yor dog will need a potty break and to get some exercise. Make sure the crate is large enough where he can stand up, turn around, and stretch out completely comfortably when sleeping. Best of luck to you with your dog!

  7. Jacob Highley says:

    Fantastic article! I know for a fact that potty training dogs is a tedious and complicated task without the proper techniques and strategy.

    I never thought about taking a dog to go to the bathroom and then going into the crate. That is an excellent psychological point! I think one of my previous dogs may have started associating their potty times and the crate!

    Wow, thanks for the info!

    1. admin says:

      Hi Jacob. Yes, training a dog to go potty can be tedious and frustrating at times. Patience and consistency is key.

      It really makes sense to take your dog out to go potty before going in the crate. They start associating the crate as a comfortable space to rest and sleep. Then you take them again to go potty when they come out of the crate.

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my article! Glad you enjoyed it!

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