Using a crate can be a good idea for potty training your puppy if you can’t supervise him at all times. It may not look like a dog toilet-training device, but it helps and it works. If you confine your puppy in a crate, he won’t be able to eliminate in other areas of your house, and it will teach him to hold his urges because he won’t want to eliminate in his “den” as well.
Before you pick a crate to potty train your puppy, make sure he’s at the right age so you can be sure that he can already hold it in. The best puppy age to begin housetraining is between 12 to 16 weeks old.
Remember that buying the wrong crate can mess up with your dog’s potty training, so keep in mind these tips when you’re about to purchase a crate:
1. Check the size
One of the biggest mistakes dog owners make when picking a crate is getting one that’s too big for their pet. A crate must be big enough for your dog to stand up, sit up straight without banging their head on the ceiling, turn around with ease, and lie down in with their paws stretched out. It must not offer too much space for your dog to be able to relieve himself at one end and sleep at the other, defeating the very purpose of keeping him in a crate.
2. Make sure it’s easy to clean
Since you’re still potty training your puppy, accidents can happen inside the crate. Be sure that you choose one that will be easy to clean and sanitize. It’s best to pick a crate with a pull-out tray or inbuilt moat that can catch waste so you don’t need to clean the entire crate. The easiest to clean crates are made of wire. Plastic crates, when scratched or teethed, can harbor bacteria if not cleaned very carefully.
3. Consider your dog’s traits and personality
Crates are made differently not just to suit any size of dog, but also to suit the traits and even the personality of the dogs. A snub-nosed dog like pug or bulldog, and a heavy-coated dog would best suit a metal crate with ventilation all around. A shy dog might appreciate the darkness of a plastic crate. A destructive dog is best contained in a heavy-duty crate, not cute crates made of wood or rattan.
4. Place some padding
A bare floor of a crate can be too cold for a dog to sleep on comfortably. Add crate pads to make it cozier. Crate paddings come in different sizes to match the size of crates and so it can snugly fit the crate floor. There are pads with waterproof plastic covers, and some come in synthetic lamb’s wool – which are both easy to clean in case your puppy has an accident while in the crate.
5. Pick a crate that can house a puppy even when he’s a full-grown adult
It’s nice to pick a small crate for your puppy, but if you know dogs of his breed are going to grow a lot bigger, it would be impractical to get one. Upgrading your crate as your puppy grows could get expensive very quickly. So, the best bet would be to pick a crate that has just the right size for an adult dog. But because it would be too big for a puppy, buy a divider that can reduce its size. There are removable wire or wooden panels that you can insert into the crate and can be adjusted as your puppy grows. Get a divider that the dog can’t get stuck in or chew off.