A crate can be used for housetraining, and when used correctly, the dog learns to look upon it as its own private retreat or den. The pup will seek out the crate when it wants to rest undisturbed or to feel safe or secure.
The crate's success as a housetraining tool is simple. Puppies will not soil their sleeping area if they can possibly avoid it. But remember that a puppy needs time to play. Use the crate when you can't watch your puppy, but don't overuse it.
Crates come in different styles and sizes. Choose one that will be large enough for an adult dog of your breed to lie down, stand up and turn around in easily.
Put the crate in a room close to other family members to lessen the pup's anxieties. Move the crate at night to the bedroom so the puppy will feel like a member of the family.
Remove the puppy's collar before placing it in the crate. For the first few times the puppy goes in the crate he may cry or whine. Give him a treat when you place him in the crate, close the door, then leave the room but remain close by. At the first bark or whine or howl, intervene with a sharp "No". Your pup should associate the reprimand with its actions and stop. It may take four or five tries, but it will eventually settle down.
Once the pup is quiet, keep it in the crate for 30 to 45 minutes. If it begins to cry, take it outside to relieve itself. Once that is accomplished, praise the pup, give it a treat, and take it back inside and allow it free time outside the crate. If it starts chewing on something other than its toys, respond with a sharp "NO!" take the object away and replace it with a toy.
After 15-20 minutes of playtime, put the pup back in the crate for a nap. Correct the pup if he cries. Your pup learns through association, so consistency should help it accept being in the crate after a few times. After about an hour, take it out again and repeat this process.
Your pup will need to eliminate directly on waking and shortly after eating or playing. Also, a very young pup will not be able to hold its urine all night, so be prepared to take it out during the night.
Put the puppy on its leash immediately after letting it out of the crate. Rush the pup to the door or carry it if it is small so it can avoid an accident. Watch to be sure that it relieves itself once you are outside.
Gradually lengthen the amount of time your puppy is allowed to play out of the crate after going outside.
Housebreaking is not accomplished quickly, so be consistent and patient.
The crate also aids in curbing destructive behavior, such as chewing. As your puppy matures and shows it can be left loose in the house, give it that privilege.
Keep the crate set up with the door open so that the puppy will be able to go to his "den" anytime he wants.