Potty training your pup can be a tricky business. Especially when it comes to bedtime.
Getting your puppy to sleep through the night without an accident isn’t always possible and that can leave you with a whole mess to clean up out of the crate in the morning.
And if this has happened to you a couple of times, you’re probably thinking maybe it’s best if I pop a potty pad in here.
But actually, this isn’t the best decision as it can actually encourage your pup to continue going potty in their crate.
Read on to learn more about your puppies’ potty training habits.
Potty Pads Aren’t For Crates – Here’s Why
First of all, it’s worth noting that most puppies will try their absolute hardest not to have an accident in their crate. Their crate is their den, it is their safe space and their sleeping area.
They want it to be as comfortable and cozy as possible, and that’s not going to happen if they go to the toilet in their crate. Let’s face it, we wouldn’t want to go to the toilet in our beds either, would we?
This is why you don’t really want to add potty pads to the floor of your crate.
If you are using potty pads to teach your pet the areas that it is acceptable to go, showing them that their sleeping space is a place to relieve themselves is confusing and contradicting.
You would essentially be going against their natural instincts.
Not only this, but potty pads are great for toilet training, but not so much for congestion and consumption.
If you leave your pup to their own devices with a cage covered in potty pads, you’re going to come back in the morning to pads that have been chewed, bitten, eaten, and just overall completely destroyed.
This can actually be quite unsafe for your little pup and the last thing that you or your pup wants is a scary trip to the vet.
So, Why Do Dogs Pee In Crates?
Now that you’ve learned that dogs don’t like to pee in crates, you may be wondering why then, you sometimes wake up to accidents inside the cage.
Well, there are a few different reasons why this may have happened. We’ll take a look below.
- Couldn’t Hold It In Any Longer – While dogs are pretty good at holding it in when they need to, sometimes there is only so long they can do this for. If they have been left alone in their crate for long periods of time, it might have just been a case of they physically just couldn’t hold it in any longer.
- UTI/Medical Condition – Your little pup may have a medical condition such as a UTI which means they don’t have full control over their bladder. If you notice that your pup is consistently and constantly having accidents, it may be worth taking them to be looked at by a veterinarian.
- Puppy Farm Pup – If you got your pop from a puppy farm, they may already be used to relieving themselves in a crate. If your pup was brought up going in their cage because they had no other choice, this learned behavior may need to be addressed.
- Anxiety/Stress – When our pups are particularly stressed or anxious, they can pee (see also ‘5 Reasons Why Your Dog Pees in Their Crate Overnight‘). If your puppy doesn’t like his cage or feels like he’s in it too often, he may have accidents that stem from being overly anxious.
Of course, it is worth noting that every dog will have an accident every now and again, and that is nothing to cause major concern.
However, if it is happening repeatedly, then you’ll need to take more caution and care to find the underlying issue.
How To Avoid Accidents In Crates
If you’ve considered using potty pads because your pup has had the occasional accident in their cage, then you’ll want to take a look at these top tips. The following will all help to ensure a dry night for your little pup.
- Toilet Time – It is always good practice to ensure that you take your pup to the toilet right before they are about to spend any significant amount of time in their crate.
- Restrict Drinks – Just like you wouldn’t give a little child a liter of water before a long car trip, don’t allow your pup to guzzle tons of water just before going into their cage. If they drink a lot before cage time, they’re just going to need a wee in an hour or so’s time.
- Bathroom Breaks – Throughout the day, regularly take your pup to specific areas to relieve themselves. Let them associate certain areas with going to the toilet this way they have a better understanding of where they can and cannot go.
- Re-Crate Training Puppy Mill Pups – If you’ve had your puppy from a puppy mill such as a rescue center or a shelter, it is likely that you’ll need to completely re-crate train them from scratch. You’ll need to take extra time and care to teach them which spots are appropriate for going to the toilet.
Regardless of how many accidents your pup may or may not have had, you really don’t want to be adding potty pads to their crate.
This is only going to make them have more accidents in the crate as you build an association with the crate and the potty.
Instead, you want to try and find the real issue at play as to why these accidents are happening.
While every pup will have an accident from time to time, no dog wants to spend long periods of time sitting in their own mess, it’s against their instincts.
So if they are having frequent accidents it could be an indicator that they are feeling stressed, anxious, or are spending too long in their crates.