A cute dog relaxes in her crate with a comfortable bed and blankets. Pet owners sometimes face the challenge of their puppy randomly peeing and pooping in the crate.

Question from Jesica Mcauliff:

I have a 3-month-old pit bull/boxer mix puppy that my husband and I have been crate training. Lilly had been doing really well not soiling her crate, but recently she has been doing it everyday, even if she is only in there for a few hours.

We have tried everything to break her of this habit but nothing works. Please, do you have any advice?

Cesar Millan’s Answer:

Well, Jessica, the first thing you need to get out of your head is that you’ve “tried everything.” If it keeps happening, you haven’t tried everything! What I would ask somebody in your situation is this: when does your puppy go to the crate? Is she tired? Is she not tired? Did she drink water before entering the crate? How long ago did she drink it?

Obviously, if she goes in after drinking, she’s going to have a full bladder. Most people who try to housebreak a puppy only focus on their own needs: “I don’t want my dog to pee in the house.” That’s a human need. Your dog’s need is to go and relieve herself! So if you want to break your dog of this habit, you need to be sure you are being honest and taking responsibility by providing exercise and discipline according to your dog’s needs. After that, soiling the crate can be a very simple problem to rehabilitate.

Make sure Lilly is tired and in a calm submissive state before entering the crate. If she isn’t tired when you put her in there, work her some more. That’s the exercise part. If your dog soils her crate after two hours, then take her out of the crate after an hour and forty-five minutes to allow her to pee. That’s discipline. You show her that you want her to pee somewhere else, and eventually, once her needs are being met, she will learn to wait and she will be able to go for longer and longer periods without soiling her area. Stay calm and assertive!

Cesar Millan

Common Reasons Puppies Have Crate Accidents

Crates are an excellent tool for training your puppy and giving them a safe place to relax. Dog crates can be a great way to house-train your pup, but some pups have random accidents in them. The problem you’re trying to avoid by using the crate in the first place might happen! Unless the accidents are few and far between, there is no reason to be alarmed or concerned. But should your puppy decide to make a habit of releasing their bowels in the crate, there are some common reasons for this recurring issue.


Some dogs can’t stand the crate due to the small, confined space. Watch for signs of stress when you place your pet in the container. An anxious dog could pee or poop uncontrollably.

Improper Potty Training

Your puppy could be soiling their crate because they don’t know any better. Before crating a dog for an extended period, you must ensure that they are housebroken and have the bathroom routine down pat! You can still use the crate during the potty training, but we recommend doing so for only a short period.

Upset Stomach

Consider the food and treats you are giving your puppy if you notice they have an upset stomach, diarrhea, or other symptoms.

Crate Size

It’s essential to choose the right dog crate for your pup. Refer to a size chart to ensure recommended sizing. If the crate is too large, the puppy has too much room to go potty on one end and sleep on the other. On the other hand, if the space is too small, it could cause anxiety, which could bring on bladder or stomach issues.


Consider the food and treats you are giving your puppy if you notice they have an upset stomach, diarrhea, or other symptoms.

Disrupted Routine

It’s crucial for your dog to have a routine, so make sure you feed them at the same times throughout their day and relate it directly with time spent in the crate. If your dog has just eaten, it is best that you wait at least 30 minutes before crating them to allow time for a bowel movement.


Consider the food and treats you are giving your puppy if you notice they have an upset stomach, diarrhea, or other symptoms.

Health Concerns

Suppose you have exhausted all training resources and feel like you’ve tried everything. In that case, consider reaching out to your veterinarian for a check-up to see if there’s an underlying medical issue. They might advise you on food options if that might be the cause of what is causing your dog’s pooping habits and offer advice on why your puppy keeps having accidents.
An adorable puppy settles down for the night in his crate. To avoid crate accidents, proper potty training is essential. There are reasons why puppies cannot hold bowels.

Tips to Training Against Potty Accidents in the Crate

The best way to help your dog is by being calm and patient. A stressed or upset human can make the situation worse for both of you, so stay relaxed!

Pay Attention to Puppy Clues

If your pup is having trouble holding urine at night, it could be because the bladder control muscles haven’t developed enough. It’s common for most young puppies to be carried outside once at night to release their bladder.

Give Proper Crate Training

Your puppy should see the crate as a quiet place of refuge and retreat. During training, give your pup a treat or toy when they are in the crate during the day. When he willingly enters, give praise and a reward. You can eventually stop giving treats as they become accustomed to their crate.

Keep a Consistent Schedule

To help your puppy successfully use the bathroom, you should maintain a regular schedule for feeding and potty breaks. You can usually predict when your furry friend will need to go potty when you keep the same routine.

Exercise is Essential

Walking and playing with your puppy are beneficial for many reasons. When it comes to crate training, a tired dog will sleep all night long without waking up to use the bathroom. The same goes for during the day. Staying on a routine with your walks and playtime will help your pup be less anxious or bored when in the crate.

Don't Punish Your Puppy

When your pup has soiled the crate, do not yell or push its nose into the urine or feces. They will have no idea what is going on, and you can potentially cause more harm and regression. Instead, take your puppy out to the potty spot and allow them to try again, then clean up the mess and wash any bedding if needed.

Supplies to Help Potty Train Puppy

You’re not alone if you’ve tried everything and your puppy has accidents in the crate. You can try again with more patience and time. Some of these supplies can help make the process less stressful and decrease damage to your home.

Dog Sitter

If your budget allows you to hire a dog sitter, then it would be an ideal option to lessen the chance of your puppy soiling the crate. Many apps allow you to book dog walkers for certain times of the day when you are away from home.

Training Pads

Get yourself some training pads to put in the crate. This temporary solution will help with accidents by keeping the mess contained and allowing for easier cleanup.

Doggie Daycare

If you’re going away for an extended period and need to leave your dog at home, it might be best to put your pup in daycare, where they will receive additional potty training and socialization.
Dogs soil in their crates for various reasons, including anxiety, excitement, boredom, and fear. As a pet parent, it’s important to be aware of the multiple causes so you can expertly address them when they happen. Training your puppy against crate accidents requires patience and consistency, but there are also some great tools and supplies that can help make the process go more smoothly. Using these tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to having a pup that enjoys spending time in its crate without messing. Do you have any other suggestions for keeping puppies from soiling their crates? We’d love to hear what’s worked for you!

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