Help Housebreaking Puppy – Eliminating in Crate

We have an 11-wk old Sheltie puppy. Got her when she was 8 weeks old. We’ve been having difficulty housebreaking her. We started her off on puppy pads the first week until she got her 2nd round of vaccines. Been trying to swtich her to going outside. She’s making decent progress in pee’ing outside. We always reward her well with high-level treats (been using lunch meat or hot-dog pieces) when she goes outside. However, she seems to think that inside and/or her crate is the place to go poop.

Here is her approximate schedule,
5am – Wake, Immediately go outside to poop/pee
6-7am – She eat 1st meal, we get ready for work, play a little
7-7:30 – outside to poop/pee
7:30-1130 – work/crate
1130-1230/1 – poop/pee; eat 2nd meal, poop/pee
1-5p – work/crate
5p – poop/pee; eat 3rd meal; poop/pee; play
7p – eat 4th meal; poop/pee
9p – bed/crate

She normally doesn’t eliminate in her crate during the night. Only during the day when we’re at work.

It seems like she just refuses to go outside and will actually hold it until inside. The other day I took her on a walk hoping that it might activate her to have to go (and I knew she had to poop because it had been a while and she hadn’t gone yet). Well about 15-20 minutes into it, she started freaking out and started running as fast as she could back to the apartment. I wouldn’t let her in at first; butr after about 10 minutes of her trying to get inside, I let her into the apmt and she pooped in the apartment.

Anyone with ideas on changing this behavior? I’m fearing she is getting comfortable with eliminating in crate and we definitely do not want that!! I know she is still young, but I want to ensure we are progressing with her and not regressing.

To answer a few other questions, I have tried both to not say anything when the eliminate in apmt and take them outside as well as yell and/or clap when they are in process of eliminating, then take out. I always immediately take outside and I’ve never punished her after the fact; only in process. Also – We have an exapandable crate, currently at 22"Wx22"Dx24"H. She is about 15" in length, 3lb. Should I consider shortening the crate depth?

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    5 Responses to “Help Housebreaking Puppy – Eliminating in Crate”

    1. Ally says:

      That is pretty strange, she is at an age where she still will have accents, but choosing to poop or pee in the house is like I said strange.
      You sound like a very knowledgeable owner and that you are doing everything correctly.
      Perhaps her crate is a little too large?
      Have you "yelled" (angrily said "no") when she is going potty inside?
      Physically move her to the correct spot to defecate while she is already going potty?
      You probably already have done all these things, but that’s all I can think of.

    2. IcedLatte says:

      if you have a closed yard you should let her out when everyone leaves sometimes when a dog is alone no one can put her outside. sometimes dogs do it for attention. before i was born when my oldest brother was a baby we had a poodle. it felt like it wasn’t getting enough attention and started to poop in my brothers room it was perfectly house trained before so all it wanted was attention. always remember to give your puppy plenty of attention. also try to ease your dog away from the crate. we have a different dog with the same problem as yours but shes better. try letting her sleep in your bed and dont leave her alone on it. hope this helps

    3. Cat says:

      Try and take her to the same place out side every time you go so she can smell where she went, She will want to go there. Also like the other person saggested get a smaller crate as dogs will normally not poo or pee where the sleep. Other than that you seem like good parents some times just like a child they have issues. You just have to try and work them out like all parents do with their childern.
      Good luck !

    4. Tinaaaa says:

      if the crate is too big, she will sleep in one corner and eliminate in the other, so get a smaller crate that is big enough for her to turn around but not too big.

    5. wishnuwelltoo says:

      I am trying to answer your question, but yahoo has space issues. Please ask me on, or I use a crate* to potty train with, but only for potty training and then I break it down and store it. I put blankets and a small food and water dish in the crate. Dogs don’t potty where they eat and sleep. When they are first little, I only expect them to hold their potty for 4 hours, and then 6 hours, then 8 hours and so on. So when they are first little, I set a timer or alarm clock to wake myself up at night to take them *out. I only allow my puppy in the bedroom* or the living room, only one room at a time. They have to graduate to more space. If I allow them to have full run of the house, it will overwhelm them. I take them out the same door each time. I tie a dinner bell to the door handle. Do not use a jingle bell as they could get their toe caught in it. So when they are little, I ring the bell for them, and then open the door to go *outside to potty. When they get bigger, I take their paw and whack the bell and open the door to go potty. Eventually getting to the place where the puppy will ring the bell and let me know when they need to go potty. Dogs want to please you, so it is your job to let them know what behaviors please you and what doesn’t. So when my puppy goes potty, I give her a treat*, and clap, and make a fuss and praise her. So she learns that going potty outside makes me happy. If she has an accident, make a disgust sound like “tsst” and take her out right away. I never yell* or spank* my puppies. Take them out when they first wake up, after they eat or drink, before nap, finish romping, when their activities change, or when they are sniffing around. Some puppies go pee right away, but may not go poop until 10 minutes later, so wait for the poop. I have a little play time here, because sometimes I think they are done, and they are not. Puppies train at their own pace. While I may have a puppy that hasn’t had an accident in several weeks, I don’t let my guard down. I don’t expect my puppies to be "fully potty trained" until one-year-old. If they have a setback, shake it off, and start over. I only have my puppies in the crate when I am not watching them. When I am sleeping, cooking, ironing, doing chores, basically when I am not watching her. All other times, she is out of the crate practicing being a "big girl." This is the time I train her how to behave in the house. So we are practicing "no barking", ‘no biting", "no jumping", and "don’t eat the furniture." I also have to practice "playing inside" so she doesn’t knock over things. You must keep the puppy in sight when they are little because they don’t know the difference between newspaper and carpet, and you don’t want them sneaking off and getting into trouble. Some puppies can sleep through the night around 3-months-old, but their bladder is grown around 6-months-old.
      *I use a crate to train with. It is the method I prefer, compared to other methods I have tried. I noticed that if they are in the crate, while I am doing chores, they are o.k., because the crate allows them to see me and be re-assured. The crate can also be a comfort when stored in the basement for dogs who live in areas where thunderstorms and tornados are an issue. . However, use the method that works best for you…..a laundry basket, a cardboard box, a woof-woof house, child gates……whatever works for you.
      *Outside, pee pad, litter box, whichever method you are using. When the puppy is first little, keep the pee pad, litter box near the food and water dish, so the puppy can eat and drink, and then go potty. You can move it away as they get older. The pee pad has a scent that smells and initiates potty. Sometimes a pee pad makes a sound that scares some puppies, so you might want to use a litter box if that happens. The pee pad allows a puppy to walk around, but a litter box keeps the puppy in one place.
      *Bedrooms, I use the bedroom and living room for training, because it works for me. Choose rooms that work for you, but watch for rooms that are damp, or drafty. While my puppies sleep in the bedroom during training, once they are trained, I let them sleep where they want to. They don’t have to sleep in the bedroom forever.
      *Treats. While I use treats for training, you don’t have to. I like Charlee Bears for training (a little cracker for a little mouth,) I use them for training, but once they are trained, I cut back on them.
      *Some puppies will go potty in the same spot each time. Some puppies have to be told to go potty. A command like "go out" for pee, or "go finish" for poop, might work for you, keep saying “go finish” until the puppy poops. This is a good thing to train if you travel with your dogs. By using commands, the puppy won’t get confused when you are visiting someone, on vacation with you, or when you get to a new home. The command will tell them what you want them to do in an unfamiliar place. You might also want to use a leash method, so the puppy doesn’t sneak off, or for strange places.
      *Yelling. It is not a good idea to "yell" or "spank" your puppy and then take them outside when they have an accident. They may get confused and think that going outside is punishment. While you want to correct them, if you are extreme, they may not want to go outside again. Shake it off, and resume your schedule. You have to keep it real. Puppies train at their own pace, but a puppy can only hold their potty for a few hours. A guide would be 1 hour for each month of age, plus 1 hour, so a three-month-old puppy should only be expected to hold their potty for 4 hours at most.
      Source: These tips, tricks, and ideas were contributed from many brilliant minds. Thanks for your help!