Puppy Crate Training Schedule: The Ultimate Guide

A French bulldog puppy with big eyes

A French bulldog puppy with big eyes, with a black crate in the background

Want to train your new pup the easy way? To reduce stress and anxiety, make potty training simple, and ensure that you raise a happy, healthy hound?

It’s simple.

You need a puppy crate training schedule. 

Crate training is the core concept behind so many potty training methods, but there’s more to using a crate than just this. Crate training can set your dog up for a lifetime, as what they learn now will stay with them forever.

Here’s everything you need to know about a crate training puppy schedule and your dog.

A Pomeranian puppy on a leash and an orange and gray plastic crate

A pair of legs wearing jeans and tennis shoes is between a Pomeranian puppy on a leash and an orange and gray plastic crate

What Is Crate Training?

Dog crates are collapsible metal or plastic pens that are just big enough for your puppy to stand up and turn around in.

Crate training is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the process of teaching your new pet to accept this space as a familiar, safe location.

Think of it as teaching your dog how to use a den substitute. A crate training schedule will help them learn what to do in their den and what to avoid. Everyone wants a well-behaved pup that doesn't tear up whatever’s around them or pee and poop inside. That’s where crate training comes in.

Your doggy will end up loving its enclosed space and it will help calm anxieties— for both of you!

Why Is Crate Training Important?

Crate training is one of the best ways to make sure that puppies don't spend their time chewing on everything in sight and peeing all over the place. A crate plays into your dog’s natural instinct to seek out a comfortable, quiet, safe place when they’re feeling overwhelmed and can be introduced at any age, although the younger you start, the better.

Puppies, adult animals, and even senior pets will benefit from a crate training schedule if you follow it properly. You’ll find that your dog becomes more secure and feels safer in their surroundings if you stick to it. And these qualities will allow you to enjoy their company with total peace of mind.

A Maltese puppy coming out of a plastic crate

A Maltese puppy coming out of an open white and orange plastic crate beside a blue sweater

What Happens if You Don’t Crate Train?

Everyone from breeders and trainers to veterinarians recommends crate training when you’re trying to teach your dog the difference between their potty spot and your expensive rug! It’s an essential part of the housebreaking process and works because dogs don’t like soiling where they sleep. As they learn to hold their bladder while inside their comfy crates, you’re saved from cleaning up those messy accidents.

Leaving your puppy unattended in rooms and not following a crate training puppy schedule will most likely result in them indulging in unwanted behaviors. This includes peeing, pooping, chewing, playing too rough, and even hurting themselves.

What Does Crate Training Help With?

A properly crate-trained pup can enjoy privacy and security in a place all of their own whenever they’re stressed or tired. A crate offers a safe space that they can retreat to when they need a little break.

Crate training will also help your dog learn how to control their bowels as they start associating going to potty in allowed spaces. They will wait until they get to their pee or poop spot rather than just doing their business where you least want them to. This is especially true if you’re following a good puppy crate training schedule.

A Jack Russell Terrier's owner's hand writes in a notebook

A Jack Russell Terrier looks on in the background as its owner's hand writes in a notebook with a pen

Why Use a Crate Training Schedule?

Small animals, like small people (and some adults!), do very well with routines because it helps them to learn to anticipate what’s coming next. This reduces anxiety as there are no surprises. That's why using a dedicated potty spot works so well.

You’ll find that even your older dog responds well to a specific pattern of actions followed in the same order every day. Just think about what happens when you feed them late and how upset they get when their routine is disrupted!

What Happens if You Don’t Use a Schedule?

When your dog comes to their new home for the first time, they’ll be slightly overwhelmed as they wrap their heads around the unfamiliar environment and meet their new family. Adopting a daily crate training puppy schedule instantly will immediately add structure to their lives and help you to avoid accidents, bad eating habits, poor behavior overall, insecurity, and timidity.

Puppies and older animals who live in a predictable world are more relaxed. It's up to you to make their world predictable.

How Does Age Affect a Crate Training Schedule?

The schedule you have for a dog under 6 months old will differ from the one you have for an older animal. The younger the dog, the more food and potty breaks they’ll need.

A good formula to remember is that your puppy should not be crated for more than an hour for every month of age. So, a puppy that’s 8 weeks old should not be left inside their crates for longer than 2 hours at a time. Adjust your puppy crate training schedule so that your 12-week-old dog is not crated for more than 3 hours, a 4-month-old puppy no longer 4 hours, and a 6-month-old puppy for no more than 6 hours.

Tweak the following schedule for the age of your puppy and you’ll be good to go:

7 am: Upon waking, take your pup outside to relieve themselves and then it’s playtime.

7:30 am: Feed your puppy, letting them eat for 15 minutes, long enough to eat but not graze.

7:45 am: Your puppy will need to go potty again right after eating.

10 am: Time for puppy’s nap. Let them take this time in their crate, even if you’re home.

12 pm: It’s time to feed your doggy again.

12:15 pm: In between meal times, it’s a great time to work on leash walking.

12:20 pm: After your stroll, your tired doggo will likely need another nap.

5 pm: It’s dinner time for your puppy!

5:15 pm: Another potty break! Another walk before bedtime would be a great idea.

7 pm: A regularly scheduled bedtime makes housetraining easier.

A puppy sleeping cuddled up in blanket in a crate

A puppy sleeping cuddled up in a red blanket with white snowflakes on it and a pale blue fluffy blanket in a black wire crate

Always check in with your puppy in their crate to get them to their potty area on time. It’ll be tough for the first few weeks, but whatever effort you put in now will pay off—and in far less time than you imagined!

For more information on potty training, check out these articles:

Crate Training: Step by Step Guide by Siddhika Bhat

7 Mistakes to Avoid During Crate Training

How to Potty Train a Puppy

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