How to Stop a Dog from Peeing in a Crate

You love your dog, but he has one very annoying habit: He pees in his crate. If you want to put an end to your dog peeing in his crate, then you'll need to train him to go outside or signal to you when he needs to pee instead. Depending on whether or not you have an adult dog who is set in his ways or a puppy peeing in a crate, it's going to be more difficult or easier to train him.

English Bulldog puppy eats in his crate
You need to train your dog so that it knows where it is allowed to pee.
credit: CarlyDybka/iStock/GettyImages

Dogs peeing in crates

Your dog may urinate in a crate for many different reasons. If she is just a puppy, perhaps she has not yet learned that she needs to go to the bathroom outside or to communicate to you when she needs to pee. Maybe she's not on a solid schedule and routine yet, so she hasn't quite adjusted to the habit of going outside exclusively.

According to K9 of Mine, the problem of a dog peeing in a crate may be medical. She might have a bad back, or a canine urinary tract infection that is causing her to pee uncontrollably. If your adult dog was previously trained and suddenly starts peeing in her crate, then it's time to go to the veterinarian and make sure a serious medical issue isn't occurring.

When you're at the vet, let her know whether or not you recently changed your dog's food, if your dog ingested anything she shouldn't have, if you put your dog on any new medications, if the urine is off-color, or if the urine smells funky.

If the issue isn't medical, maybe you have a small dog, a puppy, or a young dog who just can't hold in her pee for a long period of time. If your dog is well aware that she needs to hold her pee while she's inside, and she's still going in the crate, then you'll need to let her outside more. Perhaps you could get a doggy door installed, take her to doggy daycare when you're at work, go on more walks, or hire a dog walker to stop by throughout the day.

Remember: Many small dogs can't hold their pee for more than five or six hours at a time, so if you're gone from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., she is guaranteed to have an accident or two. If your puppy is peeing in her crate at night, then the American Kennel Club recommends moving the crate into your bedroom so you can let her out to pee in the middle of the night.

Adjusting the crate size

Perhaps the problem with your dog peeing in a kennel is that his kennel is not the right size. Your dog's crate should give him room to stand and turn around, but not be much bigger than that. Dogs like these small spaces, and it helps them remember to not pee in their crates.

You'll need to get your dog the right crate size when he is a puppy. If he's an adult dog, he may already be used to his crate size and peeing in his kennel, so downsizing may not help. Small dogs are also going to have more problems when it comes to peeing in their crates, and so will dogs who were born in puppy mills and didn't have a lot of space.

Training your dog with treats

When it comes to training your dog, rewards are always more effective than punishments. Let's say your dog urinates in her crate, and then you punish her by yelling at her or rubbing her nose in it. This is going to teach her to be afraid of you, and to hide where she pees the next time around, according to American Humane.

Instead, you should get treats for your dog that you give to her when she goes outside. If you let her out into the yard, follow her and wait until she pees. Then, give her a treat and say, "Good girl!" The same goes for walks. You can't wait until you get back inside your house to give her the treat, because she's not going to connect the dots that she got the treat for peeing outside.

Giving your dog water

Your dog may be drinking too much water, which is causing him to need to go to the bathroom constantly. According to Healthy Pets, dogs in good health require ½- to 1-ounce of water per pound of their body weight each and every day. Leaving water in his bowl all the time may be a bad idea, unless he has a medical condition or is dehydrated. Always make sure that your dog has access to fresh water during feeding times, after he exercises, and when he comes inside on a hot day.

Cleaning up your dog’s crate

After your dog has peed in her crate, it's time to clean it up. Thoroughly cleaning the area and making sure it doesn't smell anymore will help put an end to her peeing there again. If she can smell the scent of her urine, she will want to "refresh" the area and keep peeing there.

If you have carpeting outside your dog's crate, you may need to do a deep cleaning of the carpet or hire a professional cleaner to get the urine smell/stain out. If you have wood floors, use an odor-reducing spray like Nature's Miracle to get rid of the smell. Also, make sure to clean the inside of the crate and any blankets your pup peed on. Always use pet-friendly sprays that are sold at pet stores as opposed to strong smelling chemicals, which may not be healthy for your dog.

With some training, adjusting of the crate size, advice from your veterinarian, and learning what the core problem is, you can ensure that your dog stops peeing in the crate and goes outside instead. Your home will smell better, and your dog is likely to be happier with her fresh-smelling and clean crate.