Tips for Puppy Training: Toilet, Crate, Whining, and Biting

Anne has a BSc Hons in Applied Psychology (inc. animal psychology) and has trained dogs, cats, rabbits and donkeys over the past 40 years.

A New Puppy In Your Home

The day your new puppy arrives in your home is an exciting day for everyone. But your puppy may be frightened and confused. Everything is new and unfamiliar, and they're probably missing mommy and their brothers and sisters. So handle them gently and quietly.

Make Puppy Feel at Home

  • The key to puppy training is consistency, so at first, confine them to one (small) room or a corner of a room.
  • Cover the floor in newspapers and only allow the children to visit Puppy one at a time. Supervise the visits.
  • Provide Puppy with a bowl and bed, along with any toys.
  • Give them some quiet time alone.
  • If Puppy whines, don’t rush to comfort them. Wait for a little while, and see if they settles.
  • If not, then go in quietly and gently pet and comfort Puppy. Perhaps you could just sit in the room without interacting, until they settle. But try not to make this a constant habit or they will never learn to settle alone.

A New Puppy In Your Home

How to Stop a Puppy From Whining

It's a good idea to begin training a dog early.

  • When it's bedtime, settle Puppy in their bed, perhaps with their favorite toy and leave the room.
  • They will most likely whine for a while, but don’t rush back in immediately. If they're still whining after five or ten minutes, go back in and quietly comfort them. Settle them into bed again and leave.
  • Training a puppy takes time and patience. You may need to do this two or three times, leaving them for a little longer each time.
  • If after the third time they whines when you’re leaving, firmly say “no."
  • Don’t shout, stamp your foot, clap your hands, or do anything to frighten Puppy. When they stops whining, praise them.
  • Again, you may need to repeat this several times and for several nights before your puppy gets the message. They will eventually understand and settle down.

Puppy Won't Have Full Bladder Control Until They Are Six Months Old

My local animal shelter tells me that the number one reason dogs wind up with them is because of poor puppy training, and in particular, poor potty training.

But remember, your puppy doesn't have full bladder control yet. However, you can help them to develop good habits on day one.

There are two things you need when potty training: patience and consistency:

Indoor Potty Training Your Puppy

  • Cover the entire floor area in newspapers. Puppy will likely tear them up while playing, but you can just replace them.
  • Puppies always eliminate within minutes of eating, so use this knowledge to your advantage.
  • As soon as they've finished eating, bring Puppy to the area where you want them to eliminate. This can be just one corner of their room.
  • When they eliminates, praise, praise and more praise.
  • They will go elsewhere at other times, in fact most of the time, but ignore that. Puppy can’t control it and punishing doesn't work.In fact it just frightens and confuses them.
  • If you do catch your puppy in the act, lift them gently and place them in the “proper” place. Then praise, praise and more praise.

Puppies Love Praise, So Always Praise the Desired Behavior

Puppy training is based on praising the desired behavior. Eventually they will begin to go in the designated area more frequently. When you catch them doing that, give them lots of praise. As Puppy does this more and more, you will be able to remove the newspapers from the non-designated areas. But be prepared for accidents. If this happens more than once a day, then you've removed the papers too soon and should use them again for little while longer.

Remember, lots of patience is needed when training a puppy. They're not being naughty or disobedient; they just can’t help it. So be careful that your ego does not get the best of your patience. There is no standard time frame for training a puppy. Each one is an individual and you just need to go with that.

Outdoor Potty Training for Puppy

By the time Puppy has had all their shots, they may well be using the designated area more often.But whatever the time frame, once they seems to have the idea, (and they have had their shots), you can begin to teach them to go outside. This does not mean you have to start all over again.

  • When Puppy goes on the newspaper as usual, lift the paper with its contents and place it in the area of your yard or garden where you want them to go.
  • Next time they go to their usual potty place, take them outside and show them the newspaper. They will recognize their own scent.
  • Praise, praise and more praise whenever they go there.
  • It won’t take long to train Puppy to go in the new location. Soon they'll be asking to go outside.

Again, please remember, your puppy will not have complete control of their bladder until she is at least six months old. Be prepared for accidents!

Training Your Puppy Outdoors

Crate Training Your Puppy

If you want Puppy to sleep in a crate at night, place plenty of newspapers in the crate, under the blanket.

  • Put Puppy in the crate and leave the room.
  • Apply the same puppy training rules regarding whining as above.

There is a school of thought that says puppies can be potty trained faster when crate trained. This is because they don’t like to soil their sleeping area. While this may be true up to a point, very young puppies don’t have control over their bladder or bowel, so you may need to wait until they’re a little older for this method to be effective.

Once they are grown, train them as above with the following changes:

  • Always take them to the designated area last thing at night and wait for them to go before putting them in the crate.
  • Then, first thing in the morning, go quietly to the crate before they’re awake and take them to the designated area. You should do this early in the morning because puppies almost always need to go the moment they wake up.
  • Don’t punish them if they've eliminated during the night. They didn't do it to be naughty, they just couldn't help it.
  • Just clean it out and put fresh newspapers down.

It's important to remember when training a puppy that when they eliminate in the wrong place it is not because they're being naughty, any more than a baby who soils his diaper is being naughty. They don’t have the control and punishing or shouting at them will not make a difference. In fact, it will make them nervous and confused and will delay training.

Children Love Puppies and Puppies Love Children

Children and Your Puppy

Enjoy your new puppy. Spend time with them, play with them, and pet them. If you have children, you know they won't need encouragement to do this. Generally speaking, children love puppies and the feeling is usually mutual. Rather, you will need to supervise them.

  • Children, particularly young children, don't always know their own strength and may hurt the puppy.
  • The puppy hasn't yet learned rules or manners and may nip the children.
  • Again, do not shout, clap your hands, or stamp your feet.
  • Just say "No!" very firmly. Then as soon as they stop the behavior, praise and pet them.
  • Encourage the children to do the same.
  • Never, ever hit, kick, or punish a puppy. This will only make them frightened and/or aggressive.
  • Reinforce the desired behavior with petting and praising, and your puppy will grow into a gentle and happy dog.

Here's an Alternative Method to Stop Biting

PADMENDRA S R from DELHI/NCR on March 13, 2014:

It's a very useful hub for animal lovers especially those who love Dogs and treating them as a part of their family. Thanks for sharing.

annerivendell (author) from Dublin, Ireland on June 24, 2012:

Thank you Seeker7. Wishing you many years of love and fun with your new puppy!

Helen Murphy Howell from Fife, Scotland on June 24, 2012:

Very informative hub and the video was very good for showing how to stop puppy biting. Having another puppy now who is 14 weeks - yes, the teeth can hurt!!! LOL!

Really enjoyed this hub + voted up!!

How to Handle Your Puppy’s Whining

There’s a fine line between being an attentive puppy parent and giving in to your pup’s every whimper. You need to learn to distinguish between true “something’s not right” cries and typical “I’m not happy” cries. For example, if your pup whines the second you close the door to the crate and you’re sure she’s “empty,” your best bet is to ignore her initial protest and give her time to settle down. You can encourage whine-free time by giving your pup something to keep her occupied, whether she’s in her crate and settling down for a nap, or just hanging out near you as you watch TV. Treat-stuff-able hard rubber toys will encourage her to focus on unpacking the goodies rather than crying for your attention. Remember, the behavior that is rewarded will be repeated, so if you check in with your puppy every time you hear her whine, she’s likely to continue the “whine for attention” strategy.

A whine might alert you to your puppy’s need for something, but it’s important that you help your puppy understand that quiet works even better to get you to do things for her. If your puppy whines at you because it’s dinner time, wait for a moment of silence before you put the bowl down for her. If she screams with excitement because you just got home and you’re about to let her out of the crate, wait for a moment when she’s quiet before you open the door. Attention-seeking and demand whining are pushy behaviors, so always think about what you might be accidentally encouraging before you give in to them. Whines and whimpers are a normal part of puppyhood, but it’s up to you to determine just how long they stay in your puppy’s communication repertoire.

Top Picks For Our Puppies

    We Like:Snuggle Puppy w/ Heart Beat & Heat Pack - Perfect for new puppies. We get all of our Service Dog pups a Snuggle Puppy.
    We Like:Best Bully Sticks - All of our puppies love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Bully Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
    We Like:Wellness Soft Puppy Bites - One of our favorite treats for training our service dog puppies.

Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.

About Colby

Colby Morita has been raising and training guide and service dog puppies for over 13 years. He has puppy graduates from Guide Dogs of America, Tender Loving Canine Assistance Dogs, Cascade Service Dogs, and Canine Support Teams. Colby has been writing to the blog and sharing his puppy training tips from his experiences since 2007. Follow his puppy adventures at Facebook | YouTube | Twitter | Pinterest


Going to take my puppy to humane society
Barks all night in crate 4 months old

My 9week old cavapoo sleeps in his crate on his own during the day no problem. He will take him self there and fall sleep. However at night he cries and barks which awakes our four year old up who gets upset cause the pup is crying. We have tried sleeping down stairs with him right next to us but he continues to cry and bark. Any ideas on what we could do.
We have a blanket with his mums smell on it, we have heated one of our tops and put it in with him at night, we cover the crate with a blanket.

Congratulations on your new puppy! We included 21 tips in this post that might help your puppy get used to his crate. Every puppy is different, some may work, some may not. It also takes time for most puppies to get used to the crate. Most of our pups usually take between a few days and a week. Good luck with your training.

Our 4 month old puppy sleeps in her crate all night but barks, whines and carries in if we put her in during the day. Any ideas? We’d love her to go in the crate when we have to leave…

If she’s having some problems crate training during the day then take a look at our guide on our sister site: crate training a puppy. Hopefully that helps. Good luck with your training!

We naively didn’t crate train out pup straight away, and now at 7 months trying to get him into it overnight is an ordeal! He cried and barked for 2 hours last night until I had to let him out! He likes his crate and will go in there by himself regularly, and is left in it when we go out with chews and toys, but had peed in it a couple of times now and I don’t know what to do with him! He just doesn’t seem to want to sleep in there!

Our golden retriever has recently started as well. We have had to take him on a small walk and play with him to get him to stop barking. You could try that maybe it will work for him.

Our puppy Beau has just started barking. At nite after 8 months sleeping happily in his CAGE! Two hours last nite! And the nite before was the same! I think the crate is big enough! He is an Australian shepard are mix brindle coat. We rescued him, and we are 72 & 73 years old not real active! But he has a back yard to run in! Could lack of exercise be his problem?

Hi Charlene, did you get any advise on this? We are going through the same thing with our 6 month old fox terrier… it’s exhausting…!

We’re also going through this with our 5 mo old lab/hound mix. She’s been sleeping great in her crate at night with minimal fuss. The other night she cried for two hours before we took her out. Is sleep regression a thing in dogs? We’re starting over with crate training but dread night times. She is well exercised during the day. Very confusing.

I am currently on night. 5 with my puppy – I’m laying outside her crate and trying to reassure/shh her and praising anything more than a 3 second silence – she’s been crying/screaming/barking Pretty much continuously for 2 hours now – don’t feel I’m making any progress…….

when I was right outside the crate (on the floor all night) my 8 week old lab puppy cried nonstop – and literally SCREAMED whenever I would turn over or move in any way. I moved the crate to just outside my bedroom door (my bed is just INSIDE the same doorway) and played a Harry Potter audio book all night… she slept straight through! lol! it’s now part of the bedtime routine… guess she just likes to read before bed!

So, you followed the initial crate training steps, but your dog is still whining. It could be that you went through the process too quickly?

Try again more gradually. If your dog continues to cry, don’t go to it or pay attention to it. They’ll soon learn that whining will get your attention, and then you’ve got a significant problem on your hands.

It’s not only okay for your puppy to be in their crate alone, but it’s also beneficial for future behavior and temperament — it fosters independence and helps stave off later issues with separation anxiety.

With that said, you mustn’t overuse the crate or make it a place of punishment. Leaving a puppy in their crate for long periods or putting it there too frequently can be a trigger for whining and crying. Dogs are incredibly social animals and need companionship.

If you do have to crate your dog more than you’d like (long workday, tons of errands to run, etc.), make sure you spend time playing with or taking it on a walk in between crate times. And don’t forget that a puppy’s bladder can’t go for long periods of time without relief.

Important Note

According to the Animal Humane Society, leaving a puppy in a crate for an 8-10 hour workday is “not an appropriate way” to crate train. If you have times when you can’t be there, ask a neighbor or hire a pet sitter to give your pup a break. The more attention it has while outside of the crate means less time whining and crying once back in the crate.

Watch the video: Cesar Millans puppy tips (July 2021).