Puppy Potty Training
Crate Potty Training

A young Chihuahua has potty training all figured out!


Puppy Potty Training(Crate Potty Training)

Basically, what we're doing is confining a puppy to a small area and taking him/her out at 1 hour intervals and walking her to the backyard to see if she needs to go potty. In time, she learns the door to the back yard is where she goes when she wants to go potty. That's all there is to crate puppy potty training. But, the puppy must be under control while in the house.

Toilet training, potty train dog, house training, whatever you call it is the same for any breed of dog. True, some dogs take longer than others to get the idea but the process is the same. Crate training is the most direct method of achieving housebreaking.

Before you start, you might want specific information about what is needed for crate training as there are a few things to know to make it go smoothly.

I'm a very smart Jack Russell.
I taught MYSELF how to do this!


Housebreaking with a crate.

First, Do This:

  • Locate a laundry or utility room and if not, make a PEN about 5 feet square with chicken wire 18 inches high, placed in the house.

  • Put in the enclosure a:
    • CRATE with handle suitable for your size dog.
    • STAINLESS STEEL or CERAMIC water bowl. (NOT plastic)
    • Food-stuffed chew toys.
    • A Pee Pad or newspapers (toilet area) (should be as far from the bedding as possible.)

  • If it's a laundry or utility room, put a child's GATE across the doorway so the puppy can see the house and feel part of the household and family activities.

  • This space is intended ONLY for long term use, like when you go to work or have to leave the puppy for a few hours or for you to sleep all night. That's the ONLY reason for the Pee Pad or newspapers. It's not for training! We want to AVOID training the puppy to go potty on paper all the time! Puppy potty training does NOT include newspaper!

  • In this area, puppy will use one small area to potty and will have to learn to do his chewing on a food-stuffed chew toy, which happens to be his own property, thus leaving your things alone. The potty on paper thing is NOT part of her training - it's just a necessity. The chewing on a chew toy IS part of the training.

  • WHEN YOU ARE HOME - remove the crate from the "pen" or laundry room and keep puppy in the crate so you can start the puppy potty training process. The sooner you start taking the puppy to the backyard, the sooner she will learn and be on her own to run free in the house!

Now "Time" The Puppy
  • As long as you are home, keep puppy in the crate and set an oven timer or check your clock. You MUST get the puppy out in ONE HOUR.

    NOTE: While you are home, the crate with puppy in it can be anywhere in the house you want to put it.

  • When the hour is up, WALK PUPPY to the designated potty area outdoors. By walking her, you jiggle her insides and get her even more ready to go potty and, the dog begins to learn the route to the potty area.

  • After walking puppy out to her toilet area… Stand still. The puppy will likely circle around you a few times before going potty.

  • If she doesn't "go" in 3 to 4 minutes, walk her back in and wait for the next cycle. ALWAYS use the same door to the potty area.

  • Repeat this every hour as long as you're home.

  • Always take the puppy TO THE SAME SPOT outdoors, walking on a leash.

  • Remember to REWARD puppy each time she goes potty in the RIGHT spot! Give LOTS of praise and maybe a treat or a walk.

  • You will find in a short time your puppy will paw at the crate door or let out a few barks when she needs to "go." She's getting the idea that opening the crate door and walking to the kitchen door is the thing to do for a potty call. Hurray!!

  • If for some reason your puppy is peeing or pooping IN the CRATE, stay outdoors LONGER on the potty calls. Maybe up to 10 or 15 minutes. Sometimes a dog will be a bit "slow" and just need more time so allow more time and see if that helps.

  • By keeping the puppy in the crate, she is not getting the chance to have "accidents" in the house or to "accidentally" chew up the furniture - two problems solved with one crate.

When you leave for work, go to the store or go to sleep for the night, just put the crate back in the utility room or doggie "pen" with the door open and leave.

When you come home, remove the crate from the enclosed area and place it near where you will be sitting or working. Keep puppy closed in the crate with food-packed chew toys. You can continue to potty train dog and now SUPERVISE and resume taking the dog out every hour for potty call.

By physically walking your puppy outside to potty, you are teaching it where to go and you are there to give her much needed praise. In addition, you will be able to SEE that her “tank” is empty and thus you can let her run free in the house for a little while to explore before you put her back in the crate or doggie pen.


By confining your puppy to a small area you are making her...

  • Learn to hold her urine and bowel until potty time.

  • Learn to chew on only her own chew toys, not your chair leg.

  • Eliminate the chance of making mistakes in the house.

  • It’s a WIN WIN You solve two major problems at once, and quickly.

Crate Training Tips

  • If you want to begin training a puppy for being home alone, put the crate in another room, such as a bedroom. Close the door. Remember to time her though! She’s got to get out of that crate to potty! Puppy potty training does take your time and attention.

  • As an alternative to puppy potty training with the crate, you can put the pup on leash and keep him near you. Puppy training is not meant to be cruel and the goal is to get your puppy potty trained. So, if training your puppy seems better on a leash when you are home, do it.

  • When you have your puppy outdoors, consistently give s/he the command “Hurry Poops” or Hurry Pee” or even just “Hurry Up.” Part of puppy potty training should include a command that tells her to hurry the process at a time when you know she’s going to do it anyway.

Why the command? I live in the East and when you are out in the night with two dogs in the cold winter snow and ice, you want them to get going and quit looking around for their friends.

I use “hurry poops” over and over. My dogs seem to pee all right, but take forever to sniff out where they want to poop. Makes me frozen-crazy! So, part of puppy potty training should be to teach a command that is comfortable for you and lets your puppy know WHAT s/he is out there for.

  • If for some reason you are training a puppy that gets outside and doesn’t go potty within 3 or 4 minutes, put her back in the crate and try again in an hour. Always give your puppy profuse praise for doing the right thing and follow up with a really great treat.

  • Freeze-dried liver is suggested as the best of doggie treats. Try your pet store, or PetSmart carries them in three sizes of tubs.

    Psychological Moment

  • Sometimes when training, a puppy (or dog) can urinate for reasons you don't expect. It would be a good idea to take a quick look at the reasons some dogs use the house for a potty even though you are teaching them otherwise.

  • When you’re puppy potty training, get the sequences down right. If you simply take the puppy out for a walk in hopes he will go potty, he will. But, he will also quickly learn that as soon as he pees and poops, his walk is over and he's back in the house.

  • Next time out, he will hold it all in, with liquids bouncing around, until you bring him home, at which time he will have a desperate need to “go” which he will do... in the house.

  • It makes more sense to take the puppy out on schedule, let him empty his tanks, and then walk him.

  • A “no pee-’n-poop—no walk” system makes more sense.


Some people don’t like crates

The crate is not a prison and is not permanent. It is a necessary tool, used for several months with an end goal in sight. It is for puppy training in general, and puppy potty training, in this case. There is no better way. While trying to train a puppy, it is necessary. Training a puppy any other way has not proven to be as effective.

If you are going to get a puppy, puppy training takes priority over all else. Otherwise, the dog is sure to end up dead beside the highway or euthanized at a dog pound.

As soon as the puppy learns to reliably potty in the right place and to reliably chew only her stuff, she can have run of the house and may only use the crate now and then for pleasure.

Actually, many dogs become attached to their crates and never want to leave them. They like the safe, secure feel of being in their own little den.


  • Puppy potty training doesn't need to sound difficult. All you're doing is taking the puppy outdoors right after waking up, after eating, after playing, and after an hour in the crate. And, this only goes on for a few weeks.

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