My 8 week old German shepherd is being crate trained with us right now. We have had her almost a week and I think things are going well. My expectations are not too high as she is still very young.

She is happy to be left in her crate overnight without us there. She does not whine much at all.

Right now we are crating her only at night. We get up every 2 hours or so to let her out pee outside.

The problem is that she has had three nights where she goes to the toilet in her crate at the opposite corner to where she sleeps. ( we made it as small as we could for her to fit her size but there is still space for her to sit in one end and be able to pee in the other end it seems).

Initially she seemed to be able to hold her per for about 4-5 hours at night and be fine ( the first two nights with us she had no accidents).

But now she had had quite a few in a row. I am worried she is learning it's ok to pee in there. Which we don't want at all obviously.

I don't know anyone else who had crate trained a puppy before so I am just looking for confirmation that we are doing things correctly, or if not then how we can improve to stop her peeing in her crate at all.

  • She's only 8 weeks old. Her muscles and her brain will take a while to develop the ability for her to have complete control over her bladder. If you're worried about it, put her in an ex pen with a potty area (pee pads or sod) away from the crate. This will keep her from being forced into being dirty in the crate, which is a hard problem to fix once it starts. Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 17:15

2 Answers 2


The key with toilet training or crate training is patience and vigilance on your part. It's great that you are waking up during the night to take her out, a lot of people assume their puppy will hold it overnight, so keep this up. At such a young age she will still not be at the point where she has learnt how to hold her bladder for long periods of time, but you can aid this by positively reinforcing any 'good' toileting.

It may be frustrating when she has accidents, but you must ensure that you ignore these and do not make a negative reaction to this. When you take her out to toilet, make sure you have some treats on hand and really make a great fuss of her when she toilets outside, as her brain will really respond to this. She will start to think toileting outside means happy times, so will then begin to make the decision to hold it when inside. It will take time and patience on your part, but the key is to avoid any negative response to her toileting indoors, as this will make her start to feel anxious about toileting in general and can lead to more serious problems.

Stay resilient and really work on the positive rewarding, and the results will come in time.


The above answer is good information, but is also incomplete. The key phrase here is:

The problem is that she has had three nights where she goes to the toilet in her crate at the opposite corner to where she sleeps.

The fact that she can choose a corner to go, and another corner to sleep in means that your crate is too big. Part of the key with crate training is sizing the crate such that the dog is discouraged from going because then they would have to sit in it. They naturally will not want to do this. All of @Ashley suggestions are good, but they are incomplete by virtue of not including intelligently-applied negative reinforcement. As with all dog training, there have to be both positive and negative consequences for a training regimen to stick.

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