Have a small dog that you'd like to litter train? Keep reading to learn how to litter train a dog with the crate training method.

Jovi: Image by Through the Lens of Kimberly Gauthier, FlickrJovi: Image by Through the Lens of Kimberly Gauthier, Flickr 

What You'll Need

To start your dog on the crate training method, you'll need some basic supplies.

Getting The Dog Accustomed To The Litter Box

Getting your dog used to his new litter box is fairly easy. Simply start by placing your dog inside the litter box, and then praise him and offer a treat. Say something along the lines of "use the box" once you place him inside. Your dog will likely take his treat and walk out of the litter box. When he does, place him back in the box and repeat "use the box", praise him, and give him a treat. Repeat this process until your dog walks into the box on  his own upon hearing "use the box".

From Crate To Litter Box

Crate training your dog to use the litter box is a lot like crate training your dog to go potty outside. Follow these steps to crate train your dog into using the litter box.

1. Assemble A Crate Area

Crate training with litter doesn't usually involve a crate. Instead, you'll need to create a crate "area" for the dog that will consist of the litter box, some bedding, and food and water. The only place for your dog to go to the bathroom should be the litter box. If his crate area is rather large, find a safe material to fill up the empty space that he won't be able to go to the bathroom on.

Whatever material you use for the crate area should be sturdy, and difficult for your dog to escape from or injure himself on. You can purchase a dog pen for this purchase, or use a child safety gate in and enclosed area. The crate area shouldn't have a lot of room for your dog to move around in, so it's important that he has plenty of monitored exercise time outside of the crate area as well. 

2. Bathroom Times

During any time your dog would usually go to the bathroom, place him in the crate area and use the keyphrase "use the box". Be sure to leave the dog in the crate area until he uses the litter.

3. Stay Nearby And Offer Praise

The Happy Puppy: Image by ChrisGampat, FlickrThe Happy Puppy: Image by ChrisGampat, Flickr

While your dog is in the crate area during his bathroom time, do your best to stay in the area so you can praise him when he uses the litter box. If you see him use the box, praise him, and offer him a nice treat. Be sure to use the keyphrase frequently while you're with him until he uses the litter box to do his business.

When you have to leave, or during any time you can't monitor your dog, it's best to keep him in the crate area so you can rest assured that he'll go in the litter box and not on the floor when he needs to go to the bathroom. 

4. If The Dog Uses His Bedding

If your dog has an accident on his bedding instead of in the litter box, it's important to get the soiled area clean quickly. Wash it thoroughly and use a good stain and odor remover, or replace the bedding entirely. Try sprinkling bits of food or treats on the bedding area as well. If there is food and treats in the area, your dog will be much less likely to have an accident there.

5. Leaving The Crate Area Open

Once your dog is using the litter box without a problem, you can begin leaving the crate door open around bathroom time. Use the keyphrase, and encourage the dog to use the litter box while the door is open.

6. Walking With The Dog

With time, you'll be able to walk with your dog into the room and use the keyphrase. If the dog is ready, he should walk into the crate area and use the litter box on his own. After doing this for a short while, your dog will learn to walk to the litter box on his own from any part of the house when he needs to use the bathroom, and he'll be completely litter trained.

After following these steps, you should have a happy, litter trained dog. This will be handy whenever you're gone or asleep, as your dog will be able to go to the bathroom at his own convenience.

Also Read: Paper To Litter Box: How To Litter Train A Dog to learn another litter training method.

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