House training is one of the biggest challenges when we bring a new puppy to our house. Teach him what he can do and what he can't, teach where to pee and where not to pee, etc. This is not an easy task, it requires a lot of patience, but with the right tools and knowledge, we can achieve that in a short time. The good news is that we can work our puppy behavior right from the beginning.

Most people have no idea how to crate train a puppy and just the thought of leaving their little puppy closed in a "cage" seems a cruelty. However, this training method is just one or two months long and when done properly, it's highly effective.

The Arrival

The arrival of a new puppy can be an exciting moment for us, but for your little puppy is a stressful moment. He will probably feel confused and lost with all the new faces, sounds and places. Also, if they were still together, he'll be for certain missing his mother.

So, after the car journey and all that stress, your puppy will probably need to go pee. Has soon as your puppy arrives home, if you can manage to take him outside, it'll be a great opportunity for a good start to his training.

Take him to a desired toilet area outside the house and let him sniff the grass. At this point, don't play or distract your puppy, we don't want him to associate that area with games, your puppy must associate that area with toilet breaks only.

When he begins to relief himself say words like "go pee" or "pee time" or whatever you want (just make sure it's short and easily recognizable), in order to your puppy begin creating an association to the meaning of the phrase.

When he is done, shower him in affection and give him a treat. This process must be repeated every time your puppy pees (in right place) during the first months.

Now it's time to go back inside the house and from that moment on, your training regime begins.

A quick note, if you can't take him outside, another alternative is to present him with a puppy pad, so he can pee on it. Nowadays, the puppy pads are leak-proof and had a built-in attractant for faster results.

But keep in mind that the more your puppy relieves himself inside the house, the more likely he is to do it again in the future.

How to Crate Train a Puppy?

So, what's crate training and how does it work? Crate training is generally accepted as the most efficient and effective way to house training a puppy in a short time. It consists in using a small indoor kennel, also known as "the crate", to confine your puppy to a place when you're not supervising.

This method is based on the puppy inherent dislike of soiling the area where he sleeps. So, when you restrict the puppy movements to his sleeping space, he will instinctively hold until he goes out of the crate. 

How long can a puppy hold it?

Be careful because puppies don't hold it on for a long period, so this method only works with regular toilet times (outside the crate). Studies suggest the month plus one rule. This rule establishes that the amount of time that a puppy can hold his needs is equal to his age in months, plus one. So a four-month-old puppy can be crated for a maximum of five hours in one time.

However, after that time your puppy would be very uncomfortable, so it's better to take him outside the crate at least once every two hours during the day. You can even create a puppy crate training schedule, but when he's sleeping, you don't need to wake him up, just wait until he wakes up naturally.

dog crate sizes

The crate size matters and must be adjusted to the dog size. If the crate is too big, your puppy can sleep in one side and relieve himself on the other side, which defeats the whole purpose. 

One good way to choose the right size for the crate and be more cost-effective is to find one where an adult dog (of the same breed as your puppy) can turn around and stand up comfortably. In other words, the crate must be big enough for your puppy grows into.

For large breeds, where the size of an adult dog is much bigger than the puppy, you can use for example wire grille to reduce the internal space available for your puppy. 

There's a lot of dog crate sizes and shapes available, but one good alternative is the best crate on Amazon, it's well-built, folds down easily in seconds for transportation and already has a divider panel included that can be placed to reduce the available space.

Find the appropriate size crate for your breed

  • 22''
  • 24''
  • 30''
  • 36''
  • 42''
  • 48''
  • Afghan
  • Akita
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Anatolian Shepherd
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Bloodhound
  • Bouvier Des Flandres
  • Briard
  • Bullmastiff
  • collie
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Dogue De Bordeaux
  • German Shepherd
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • Greyhound Komondor
  • Kuvasz
  • Newfoundland
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Otterhound
  • Rottweiler
  • Samoyed
  • Siberian Husky
  • Weimaraner

Alternatively, there's a plenty of DIY online on how to build one for all dog crate sizes and shapes.

Using the crate

To use this method for home training is required that your puppy stays in the crate unless he's eating, going to the toilet or being played with, always with your complete attention on him.

There can be no exceptions, otherwise, it won't work. Every time you let your puppy explore the house without being thoroughly house-trained, you are encouraging him to relieve himself inside. And remember, the more he does that inside the house, the more likely he is to do it again.

Here's a scheduling example that you can use:

Puppy crate training schedule



07:00 AM

07:30 AM

07:45 AM

07:50 - 08:50 AM

08:50 AM

08:55 - 11:00 AM

11:00 AM

11:05 - 12:30 PM

12:30 PM

12:45 PM

01:00 - 03:30 PM


Wake up. Puppy comes outside with you for a toilet break

Eating time

Puppy comes outside with you again for a toilet break

Playtime! Cuddle and play with your puppy outside the crate

Puppy comes outside with you again for a toilet break

Time for a nap in the crate

Puppy comes outside with you again for a toilet break

Playtime! Cuddle and play with your puppy outside the crate

Eating time

Puppy comes outside with you again for a toilet break

Time for a nap in the crate

And so on...

With this method, it usually takes one to two months (depending on the breed and the time you spent in training) to your puppy be thoroughly house-trained.

It's also possible to crate training an older dog, however, the approach must be slightly different from crate training a puppy, but we'll write an article on that soon.

some Crate training rules

The crate should be welcoming

Add a couple of soft and thick blankets to the base of the crate and leave there some chew toys to get your puppy entertained while awake in the crate.

Leave the door open

When your puppy is outside the crate, always leave the crate door invitingly open. He must be able to go inside whenever he wants.

Crate location

Even in the crate, your puppy must feel like part of the household. The best place to leave the crate is where people tend to congregate, like the kitchen or the den. This way, your puppy won't feel isolated.

puppy crying in crate

As you can imagine, in the first couple of times that your puppy stays in the crate, he won't be too happy. He wants to be showered with affection and play with you outside.

So it's inevitable that your puppy starts whining and crying at night (mostly), but it's very important to persevere: Do not respond to any of these behaviors! I know it's easier said than done, but it's for his own good. In a short time, he'll come to accept the crate and relax.

More house training

For a more in-depth look at house training, as well as a great deal of useful information on canine behavioral problems and the most effective training techniques, check out The Ultimate House Training Guide. It’s the complete dog-house-training guide.

We recommend you to visit the Ultimate House Training Guide site: