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Why Is My Puppy Peeing in the Crate: 6 Reasons & Ways to Stop It

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on May 1, 2024 by Dogster Team

a puppy in crate and pee or urine puddle

Why Is My Puppy Peeing in the Crate: 6 Reasons & Ways to Stop It

Potty training is a must when you bring a new puppy home, and many puppy owners opt to use a crate to help with this. Crates can give puppies safe places to sleep and relax. But when puppies start peeing in their crate, it can be frustrating. This is the problem that you’re trying to avoid by housebreaking them.

In this article, we look at several possible reasons your puppy is peeing in the crate and how to stop it.

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The 6 Reasons Your Puppy Is Peeing in Their Crate & What You Can Do

1. Medical Issues

dog owner talking to vet
Image By: SeventyFour, Shutterstock

Even if your puppy tries their best not to have accidents in their crate, medical issues like urinary tract or bladder infections can make it impossible for them to hold it. Frequent urination could be a side effect if your puppy is currently taking any medications. Medical issues should be considered if your puppy:

  • Is frequently peeing all over the house, not just in the crate
  • Was peeing a normal amount before but now can’t seem to stop going
  • Is trying to pee with nothing coming out
  • Cries, whines, or yelps when peeing
  • Has dark or bloody urine

What to Do

Take your pup to the vet for a checkup. The doctor will likely test the urine to see if an infection is present and prescribe the proper medications to clear it up.

2. Improper Scheduling

Small-breed puppies won’t be able to hold their bladders as long as large breeds. Generally, puppies of all breeds should follow a “1 hour per month” rule. If your puppy is 3 months old, they shouldn’t be expected to hold their bladders longer than 3 hours. This will vary from puppy to puppy, but following this rule and incorporating it into your schedule can help during housebreaking. If your puppy is peeing in the crate, it could mean they’ve been in there too long and simply can’t physically hold it anymore.

What to Do

Keep your puppy on a regular schedule that doesn’t force them to hold their bladders for too long. Give your dog enough time outside to pee, and make sure you’re out at the right times. Your schedule may have to be adjusted for this to happen. If you can’t take your puppy out every time they need to go, consider asking a friend or relative to stop by to help, or hire a dog walker to make sure your pup stays on schedule.

3. Separation Anxiety

Pug dog looking out window, separation anxiety, lonely
Image Credit: Diana Parkhouse, Shutterstock

Separation anxiety is common in young puppies. Being separated from their littermates and brought to a new home can overwhelm them. They can become lonely and scared once they’re alone in the crate.

What to Do

Make the crate as comfortable as possible for the puppy so they enjoy it. Reward them with a special treat when they go in. Fill the crate with toys to keep them entertained and busy, like a KONG filled with yogurt or a puzzle toy filled with treats or puppy food. Give them options to stay engaged, and make the crate fun.

4. The Bedding Provides Coverage

Puppies don’t like to pee in the same place that they have to sleep. Their bedding can help them not have to. Puppies can easily pee in their crate and then pull the bedding over it to effectively hide the pee and give them a dry place to sleep. If you notice pee under the bedding, this could be what’s happening.

What to Do

Temporarily remove the bedding. Blankets, beds, and crate pads should be removed so your pup has no option to hide the pee. This will force them to sleep on the crate floor. This may seem cruel, but it won’t be that uncomfortable. Puppies commonly lay on hard surfaces to sleep, like kitchen floors. They can get their bedding back once they stop peeing in the crate.

5. The Crate Is Too Big

a puppy dog in a crate
Image By: Ayla Verschueren, Unsplash

Puppies don’t like to pee in their living space. If the crate is too big, though, it gives them a chance to pee at one end and sleep on the other.

What to Do

Invest in a properly sized crate that won’t allow your dog to use part of it as a potty area. The crate size should be large enough for the puppy to lie down and stretch out, fully stand up without touching the crate ceiling, and turn around comfortably. It shouldn’t be much bigger than that. Some crates are designed to expand as your puppy grows, so you can move the dividers as your pup needs more room.

6. Your Puppy Doesn’t Understand Where to Pee

Puppy pee indoor
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

If your puppy’s start to life was in a cage, like in a kennel or at a rescue, they had no choice but to pee in it. They may not have been given regular potty breaks and weren’t housebroken. They could be peeing in the crate because they don’t know that they’re not supposed to.

What to Do

Use positive reinforcement when your dog goes potty outside. Plenty of rewards will get your pup to understand that this is the desired behavior. The reward must occur immediately so the puppy understands that peeing outdoors is what gets them a treat.

When they don’t get the same rewards for peeing in their crate, they associate outdoors with potty time.

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What You Should Not Do

The crate should be your puppy’s safe haven and a place where they always feel comfortable. If they’re peeing in it, there’s a reason for that. Sometimes, it’s that they were left in the crate too long.

If your puppy pees in the crate, don’t punish them for it. This is likely something that they can’t control or don’t understand. The crate should always be used positively so your dog doesn’t start to fear it. It should never be used to reprimand or punish your dog for doing something wrong.

Instead, find out why the puppy is peeing in the crate and take positive steps to correct the issue.

pitbull inside crate
Image By: sophiecat, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Crates are wonderful tools to help housebreak your puppy, but if they’re peeing in the crate, it can significantly slow the process.

We hope that these reasons and possible solutions have helped you determine why your puppy is peeing in the crate and what you can do to stop it from happening. If you’re concerned that your pup may have a medical condition, take them to the vet right away for an exam. Once any health issues are ruled out, you can narrow down the reasons for the behavior and help your puppy stop doing it.

Featured Image Credit: stockphotofan1, Shutterstock

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