How To Stop A Puppy From Pooping In A Crate At Night

One of the most significant challenges a dog owner faces is how to stop a puppy from pooping in a crate at night.

You don’t want to wake up every morning to a crate full of poop. 

How to stop a puppy from pooping in a crate at night? First, check with your vet to eliminate the possibility of a health condition. Other things you can do include proper potty training, adequate exercise, and proper feeding times.

If you are a dog owner and your puppy keeps soiling his crate every night, this article is for you.

By the time you read this article to the end, you would have learned the steps to take to prevent your beloved little companion from pooping at night in their crate. 

Common Reasons Why Dogs and Puppies Poop in Their Crate at Night

There are several reasons why dogs and puppies poop in their crates at night.

Here are a few of them.

1. When the crate is too large for your puppy

A crate that is too large gives more than enough room for a puppy to poop, especially at night.

Dogs are born with an impulse that prevents them from soiling their most favorite resting place.

When a puppy finds himself in a crate with too much room, he may be tempted to poop while he squeezes himself in a corner.

2. Separation anxiety 

Some dogs suffer terribly from separation anxiety and may become very uneasy when you leave.

This is the period when most dogs will be crated, and if your dog exhibits the following mannerisms, they may end up pooping in their crate:

  • Whining
  • Panting
  • Pacing.

When a dog is deeply agitated, it could result in an on-the-spot bowel movement. And this may occur right inside the crate.

my puppy keeps pooping in his crate at night

Your puppy may also suffer what is known as “confinement anxiety” which is a condition that triggers anxious behaviors, especially when he is in a confined space.

3. Poor potty training

Puppies usually relieve themselves more often than adult dogs.

This is why you shouldn’t be too surprised when your little canine friend takes bathroom breaks every hour. For instance, a two-month-old puppy cannot hold it in for more than two hours on average.

But as the puppy grows older, his bowel muscles become stronger, and he can extend the time he holds it all in.

However, this may not be a rapid process.

Adult dogs have their limitations as well. Research indicates that an adult dog may not hold it in beyond 8 to 10 hours per day.

4. Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a chronic health condition.

It affects the intestinal tract of some dogs.

It is characterized by the invasion of the intestinal lining by inflammatory cells.

The result is an allergic response.

And this severely interferes with the dog’s ability to process as well as absorb quality nutrients from food.

The common symptoms associated with this health condition include:

  • Frequent episodes of diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss.

The possible causes of inflammatory bowel disease are bacterial and diet proteins.

5. Trauma

When tumors form close to the rectum or injuries occur from accidents, it could bring about severe trauma.

That trauma may cause damage to the sphincter control.

It’s that lack of control that makes it difficult for your pooch to control his elimination adequately and explains why your dog may be pooping in their crate.

6. Infections

Many dog breeds are susceptible to infections from time to time, which could result in severe digestive problems.

And these digestive problems can, in turn, bring about uncontrollable diarrhea.

For instance, parvovirus is a highly infectious virus that can cause the following:

  • Bloating
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Bloody diarrhea.

Intestinal worms and parasites can also trigger digestive disruptions, resulting in chronic diarrhea. This has the potential of severely damaging the muscles of the rectum.

And when this happens, your pooch may lose full control in that area. Some of the parasites that are notoriously infectious include:

  • Hookworms
  • Giardia
  • Roundworms
  • Tapeworms
  • Coccidia.

7. Incontinence

Several medical conditions can bring about incontinence in dogs.

Dogs with complete or partial paralysis of their hind section may experience incontinence.

Older dogs may also have this experience as a consequence of aging.

8. An emergency

In life, emergencies are usually unexpected or unforeseen events, and it affects both humans and animals as well.

If an emergency occurs and your puppy needs to go but can’t because he is confined in his crate, he may have no choice but to let go.

Remember: a puppy cannot hold it in for more than two hours at most. 

How to Stop a Puppy from Pooping in a Crate at Night

How to stop a puppy from pooping at night is hard work, and calls for your commitment and determination.

But it is not an impossible feat, especially if you religiously follow the steps outlined below.

Health check

If you believe that you have exhausted all possibilities or techniques, you may have to visit your local vet with your puppy for a health checkup.

You need to be sure that it is not a medical issue that is responsible for the pooping habit of your puppy.

Your vet is qualified to determine if what you are feeding your puppy is responsible for their inappropriate poopy habits.

Adequate exercise

Is your dog getting enough exercise?

You should always make it a habit for your dog to have enough exercise – before and after – being crated.

When your puppy has enough exercise, he becomes tired. And this tiredness will readily prevent him from pooping in his crate out of boredom.

Moreover, regular exercise can help your dog to connect to a particular routine. This routine will include potty habits, meals, walks, etc. Your puppy will be able to associate exercise with potty time.

If you don’t have time to take your puppy for a walk due to your busy work schedule, you should consider hiring a dog walker.

Good potty training

Before you crate your puppy, especially for an extended period, you need to teach him – by showing him – the ins and outs of where and when to go to the bathroom.

Punishing a bad deed is not usually as effective as positive reinforcement. You don’t even need to hire a professional to potty train your puppy. You can watch the video below which is about how to housetrain your puppy. 

Potty training your puppy made easy

Well-timed feeding schedules

Make sure you feed your pooch at the same time every day. And you need to relate this period directly to the time that is spent inside the crate.

Most dogs have this innate habit of passing waste approximately 30 minutes after their regular meals. So, do not send your puppy straightaway into his crate post-meal.

Do not keep food in your puppy’s crate until you are fully confident that your adorable little companion can hold it in for extended periods.

Get a sizable crate

Make sure the crate is not too large for your puppy.

Large crates seem to send a signal to puppies “You can poop right here in the corner of the crate. But move over to the front area to sleep, buddy.”

If the crate you got for your puppy is too large, you should consider creating a partition.

The goal of this partition is to make the crate appear smaller but with just enough room for your pooch to turn around and lay with his little legs out.

This will not give your little furry companion enough room to poop and then lay in it.

For a guide on the best crates for a puppy, read this blog post.

Seek the help of a professional trainer

Seeking the help of a certified trainer is another option that you should consider when looking for ways to stop your pooch from pooping at night.

Some dogs have discovered that as soon as they poop in their crates, they will be allowed out.

This is a behavior that you should discourage vehemently, and you may not be able to do this unless by hiring the services of a professional dog trainer. They can help you focus more on positive reinforcement and less on punishment for the bad habit.

What Are The Consequences Of This Behavior If Not Corrected?

Well, it is obvious, isn’t it? Your puppy will eventually become used to this silly behavior since he knows his crate will be cleaned the next day.

Furthermore, your home will always stink with the smell of your puppy’s poop.

And even if you consider using air fresheners to get the better of the smell, the resulting odor could become intolerable.

Finally, dealing with your dog’s poop every morning is a pretty depressing way to start your day. This could put you in a foul mood, and that is an excellent recipe for ruining your day.

This is why you need to take drastic steps in eliminating this bad habit that your dog has as soon as possible.

What Are The Best Accessories To Have On Hand To Clean Up?

As a dog owner, part of dog ownership involves cleaning up their mess in the garden, crate, or anywhere else around the house. 

If you are fortunate to get a puppy that has been toilet-trained, then you have no problem at all. But, if this is not the case, you will need a few accessories to assist you in cleaning up your dog’s poop.

You will need a sturdy pooper scooper and poop bags, and a poo bin for outside.

Dog Poop and Why It Can Be Dangerous

When handling dog poop, you need to be extra careful and vigilant. Zoonotic diseases are those diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans.

You can get the following zoonotic diseases from dog feces:

  • Giardia
  • Salmonella
  • Roundworms
  • Campylobacter
  • Hookworms.

What makes this issue somewhat more complicated is that your pet may be carrying these diseases – such as Salmonella – but look very healthy. This is why vets advise that you treat your puppy’s bowel movements as carefully as you can.

What Should I Do When…

My puppy keeps pooping in his crate at night

Check the size of his crate. Is it too large for him?

What about the quality of his food?

If all these are good, then you need to take your puppy to a vet for a proper checkup.

My dog poops in his crate and lays in it

Start feeding your dog in his crate.

There’s a chance that your pet would prefer not to poop in the same space where he is fed.

So, set his food just inside his crate while you leave the door open.

My dog poops in his crate and eats it

Dogs, especially puppies, usually eat poop in order to colonize their gastrointestinal tract with healthy bacteria.

Some dogs may outgrow the habit while a few dogs hang on to this dirty habit throughout their lives.

Why does my dog eat their own poo?

Start by checking your puppy’s diet.

If the diet is a poor one that isn’t filling or nutritious enough, your pet may eat their poop.

So, you need to change your pooch’s diet by offering more digestible food.

Some puppies eat poop to get their owner’s attention.

If you catch your beloved puppy in the act of eating his poop, do not speak or make eye contact.

But you can interrupt this action by clapping your hands loudly or shaking a can filled with pennies to scare them.

You should also prevent access to your pet’s poop by walking him away on a leash as soon as the business is done. Then offer your pet a generous reward for leaving his feces alone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a dog pooping in a crate a sign of separation anxiety?

A dog pooping in a crate could be a sign of anxiety.

Some dogs don’t like being crated due to fear of solitude or confinement.

However, there could be other causes for this bad deed besides distress.

Why would my dog be pooping in his crate suddenly?

Distress or anxiety – as a result of confinement or solitude – may be responsible for the sudden pooping and peeing of your dog inside a crate.

Diarrhea is a classic symptom of anxiety, and this becomes evident when your puppy’s bowels are released uncontrollably.

Why does my dog keep pooping in his crate at night?

There are several reasons why your dog keeps pooping in his crate at night.

This may include anxiety, poor food choices or feeding times, lack of proper exercise, inadequate potty training, etc.


Stopping your puppy from pooping in a crate at night is not rocket science, you just need to put the right measures in place carefully.

Some options for you to consider include:

  • Reducing the size of your puppy’s crate;
  • taking your pooch for a health checkup at the local vet;
  • Engaging your four-legged companion in the right exercises; and
  • Proper potty training.

You also need to put your dog on a proper feeding schedule, and this involves letting your dog out after about 30-45 minutes so that he can defecate outside.

And finally, do not leave your puppy on their own for extended periods of up to 10-12 hours a day.

If your work keeps you out of your house for that long, you should get a pet-sitter or a friend who comes to let your dog out every 2 hours.

When you try these options, your puppy should be able to stop pooping in his crate at night.


We have some other puppy-related articles we’ve published that you may be interested in reading:


Michelle loves enjoying the outdoors with her dogs. She grew in a big house near the beach with German Shepherds. Nowadays, Michelle has down-sized her dogs to poodles, proving small dogs can enjoy the outdoors too! Her dogs enjoy playing fetch, swimming, and long walks. Michelle and her dogs enjoy escaping the city limits to hike, camp, and swim.

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