Crate-training a 6-week-old puppy facilitates housebreaking. Not only is the crate a good way to train a puppy, but your dog will become comfortable with the crate and want to use it at bedtime or as a safe place when he needs alone time. Many dogs will go to the crate when guests are visiting and there is too much commotion.
Purchase a crate to accommodate the puppy as he grows into adulthood. The crate must be large enough for the adult dog to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably, and should have a removable divider inside. If the crate does not have a divider, make one using a piece of plywood. A new puppy must have only a small space so that he sees the crate as a den and does soil the inside. As your dog grows, move the divider to expand the space inside the crate.
Place some bedding inside the crate. Washable bedding will work best. Provide a chew toy or bone so that the puppy has something to entertain himself.
Place the puppy in the crate when you bring him home for the first time. A puppy will need to relieve himself every two hours or when he wakes up until he is 8 to 10 weeks old; after that, he will be able to go out every three to four hours. Praise the puppy when he successfully goes outside. Bring the puppy back inside and place him in the kennel again. The puppy can stay out to play with you if you are going to watch him. When the puppy is alone, place him back in the crate.
Feed the puppy outside of the crate and take him outdoors after he finishes his meal. Once the puppy relieves himself, place him back in the kennel to sleep. Keep the puppy in the crate for bedtime. The puppy may cry to get out, but if you place the crate where he can see you, he will feel more secure. After a few days, the puppy will get used to the crate being his den.
Keep taking the puppy outside to relieve himself and praising him. As the weeks start to pass, allow the puppy out to play more when you are watching. Move the divider to make more room as the puppy grows, but only allow enough room for standing, turning and lying down. After you housebreak the puppy, remove the divider completely.
When a puppy cries in his crate, your instinct may be to take him out and let him run around or put him into bed with you. If you do this, however, he will not get accustomed to the kennel.
Do not make the puppy soil his crate by having to wait too long to relieve himself. Stay with a schedule for going outside so that he learns to hold it and knows that you are going to take him out.