Crate Training Issues
Hi, we just adopted (last week) a 12 week old Beagle mix pup, and he is peeing and pooping in his crate and on the floor.
I am a stay at home mom, so he is not alone very often or for very long. I have been taking him out every hour or so, but he will still pee on the floor. When we go out, we put him in his crate, but he poops in it, even if he has just gone outside.
I have tried a smaller crate, putting his food and bed inside it, but it doesn't matter. Also, when the weather is bad, he doesn't want to go outside at all and takes a VERY long time to do his business. He came from a great shelter, and is very sweet. Help! I'm completely exhausted!!!!!!
I'm so sorry you're having such a difficult time with your puppy! Potty training is usually one of the most challenging things that new puppy owners face, but some puppies make it much more difficult than others.
Firstlly, I would ask if you've had your pup checked out by a veterinarian to make sure there's no physical problems that are causing the constant messes. A UTI could make his peeing pretty uncontrollable, and digestive/intestinal problems could do the same for the pooping. If you adopted him from a shelter, he should have been given a physical there, but I just wanted to be sure.
Secondly, are you giving him the same kind of puppy food that he was getting before? A change in diet can often cause diarrhea in puppies, and obviously when a pup has an upset tummy it's much harder to potty train him as he loses what little control he has. Are his feces formed, or are they a runny mess? If they're loose, frequent or contain mucus he could have some colitis, your veterinarian would be able to diagnose this and maybe prescribe something to help settle it down.
Thirdly, you say you've tried a smaller crate, but how small? It should be just big enough for your pup to sit up, stand up, turn around and lie down without touching the sides. No bigger! Don't put food or water in there, or any bedding or paper, that just encourages him to 'go'.
At 12 weeks old, your pup should have enough control to be able to 'hold it' for an hour, but every puppy is different and the smaller the dog the more often he needs to have a potty break. I would try taking him out every 30 minutes, I know it's very trying, but you need to break the cycle of pooping and peeing in his crate.
Puppies learn through association and they're creatures of habit, it's very important to break the bad habits he's building as quickly as possible.
Most puppies hate to go outside when it's cold or wet, it's not much fun for us to have to stand out there with them either :o), although of course they're oblivious to that. Unfortunately it's just one of the facts of life he'll have to get used to. If he seems to get very cold, get him a doggy sweater or something similar while he's so small. And I'd suggest a ski jacket for you... I look like an eskimo when I'm standing outside with a puppy in the winter!
One more thing that I should mention, is how often he's being fed. At 12 weeks, 2 meals a day (3 max) is enough, and don't 'free feed' - that is leave his food dish down all the time. This leads to a constant 'snacking' behavior and therefore your puppy's bowels are constantly 'moving'. Get him on a schedule of regular mealtimes, what he doesn't eat within 10 - 15 minutes, pick up. Also, during the day he should have access to water at all times, but pick it up by 7:30pm, that way he will have the chance to empty his bladder pretty well before bedtime.
At this age most puppies won't need more than one night-time potty break, but your little guy may need more. You'll know this best, trial and error will show you what's best.
Lastly, don't despair! I know exactly how demoralizing and stressful it is to have a puppy who's constantly making a mess, but it WILL get better over time. As your pup matures, so will his bladder and bowel control, and as he gets into a regular routine of meals and potty times his body will start to regulate itself. Be patient and consistent and you'll notice improvement over time.
I hope some of these suggestions work for you. If you're still having problems after exploring all these avenues and trying all the above, let me know.
Best of luck, hang in there!