How to Crate Train Standard, Miniature, and Toy Poodles


The poodle breed is very sweet-natured and highly intelligent, making them one of the easiest breeds to train. There are three different poodle sizes – standard, miniature, and toy. Ranked #7 in breed popularity by the American Kennel Club, this wickedly clever canine breed can quickly be crate trained.

How do you crate train standard, miniature, and toy poodles? The crate training process will be a similar process to training any canine breed. You will want to begin when a puppy to establish good habits early on and purchase a crate that is large enough for them to stand up comfortably.

To crate train your poodle, no matter their size, you should follow these steps consistently:

  1. Introduce your poodle to their crate using positive reinforcement.
  2. Place treats and comforting items like blankets and favorite toys in the crate.
  3. Begin feeding your pup meals in the crate.
  4. Every two hours, take your poodle outside. Make sure that you are bringing them straight from the crate to the door each time.
  5. Ensure that every time the crate door is opened, you bring your puppy outside.
  6. Be mindful of giving your poodle adequate playtime and bonding time with you.
  7. Continue these steps until your puppy always goes to the door when they need to potty.

This article will answer any questions you have about crate training, potty training, house training, and creating a better-behaved dog. It will cover each size variation and the details you need to know in caring for each unique poodle breed. Crate training can seem intimidating at first, but with a brilliant breed like the poodle, it will be a piece of cake!

Crate Training Standard, Miniature, and Toy Poodles

Crate training is a method frequently used to train puppies. The process designates a safe space for your pup and instills in your poodle that, when they leave the crate, it is for a potty break.

You may find it difficult or unsettling to leave your pup in a crate, especially during the first few weeks that they are home, and you want to cuddle and love your new poodle. However, establishing a routine as soon as possible will be the fastest and easiest way to guarantee your dog has fewer potty accidents in your home.

Consistency is key, and if you don’t follow the steps of crate training properly, you will have a dog that cannot distinguish which locations are bathroom spots.

How To Crate Train Poodle Puppies

The process you will follow to crate train your poodle puppies consists of the following steps:

  1. Introduce them to the crate and use plenty of positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement will be your greatest ally in the crate training method. It allows your puppy to feel safe. If they don’t feel welcome, it will be hard to get them to go into the crate willingly.
  2. Set some treats or toys in the crate and have it decked out with blankets and other comforting items. Don’t ever force your dog to go in. Allow them to sniff around the area and decide for themselves.
  3. Start feeding them meals in the crate, making this a safe spot where they can let their guard down. Always keep water in the crate and make it a nice place to rest.
  4. Take your puppy out every 2 hours and always take them directly outside after they come out of their crate.
  5. Make sure that while crate training, especially in the early stages, when the crate door is opened, you bring your poodle pup directly outside. This is an essential aspect of the process, so don’t open their door unless you are ready to take them out. They need to understand that when it’s bathroom time, they go straight outside.
  6. Make sure that they are getting a balance of play and bonding time but are still going out every two hours or so, then directly back to their crate. For the most part, this is what the first month or two will run until you can trust them to tell you when they need to go out by going directly to the door.
  7. By the 6-month mark, your puppy will be able to hold their bladder for around 4-6 hours, but you should never make a dog (of any age) hold their bowels and bladder for over 8 hours.

For more visual learners, check out this video:

How Long Should Crate Training Take?

There is no exact timeline for how long this process will take because all dogs are different, but it should last around 4-16 weeks for most dogs. You could see drastic results in the first week and be able to offer your poodle more playtime, but you should remain diligent no matter how fast your pup catches on.

Don’t give up in the first week because you think your puppy is a prodigy, or they will revert to potty-accidents and bad habits.

By the third month, they should be taking you to the door or pawing at it when they have to go. The goal of crate training is that they will be able to communicate to you when they need to go in the future.

Pay attention to your own dog’s progress and determine how much more regimented their training needs to be. If they are showing significant progress, reward them with more freedom but continue taking them out at the same time while heading directly to the door each time.

For potty training, although a dog can pick it up quickly, it’s the constant reinforcement that matters.”

Poodle Forum

It will be less about how long it takes for them to pick it up and more about your determination to keep them focused on those good habits for months, so they become permanent behaviors.

A great behavioral training course can really help with crate training. I found a fantastic training system called Brain Training for Dogs. With this training, I was able to greatly improve my dog’s anxiety while in his crate. If you need any behavioral training at all for your dog, I would highly recommend this course! Check it out here

The Potty Schedule Outlined

In case you prefer a more specific outline or blueprint for scheduling, the following list gives the times that you should make sure to bring your poodle outside to use the bathroom:

  • First thing when you wake up in the morning
  • Before each play break
  • After each play break
  • Every 2 hours or so during the afternoon
  • After their nap
  • After each meal (about 10-20 minutes after eating to digest and have to go badly)
  • After drinking lots of water
  • Right before bed

As you can see, your poodle should get plenty of time outside of the crate. If you are not offering them this free time, you are doing it unethically and irresponsibly.

Don’t Rush the Crate Training Process

You want to avoid rushing the crate training process. It will be a gradual process of integrating them into the crate, and then once they are trained, slowly integrating them out of the crate while leaving the door open as an option.

Follow these steps to implement the crate training process correctly:

  • Start with more social hours at first with lots of potty breaks.
  • After the first week or so, slowly add more crate time and reduce the amount of free social hours, adding an hour or two a day for the first few weeks.
  • The middle of the process (week 1-6) should be very focused on maintaining a schedule.
  • Two hours in the crate
  • Right outside for a potty break.
  • 1 hour of playtime every 3-4 hours to get their legs moving
  • Some cuddle time, especially in the evening
  • Back in the crate to sleep and aiming to make it through at least 6-7 hours at night

By the second month or around the 6-week mark, you will notice they are improving on their potty training. At this point, you can increase the social hours and reduce the crate hours.

Don’t rush your pup at the beginning or the end of their crate training. They will catch on in time, and they will finish their training when they are ready. Gradual changes will be less noticeable by the poodle, and you won’t throw off their inner-clock. Remember that accidents will happen during this training, and it is important not to punish your puppy because of them.

Adding Puppy Comforts to Her Crate Training Routine

You should focus on making your poodle’s crate as comfortable and relaxing as possible. You can add the following items to make it cozy for your pup:

  • Fuzzy blankets
  • Towels
  • A small water bowl
  • Toys
  • Chew bones (Use rubber that is good for puppy teeth and gums. Do not use a real bone that could sliver off into sharp pieces. This could be a choking hazard for canines of any age, so you need to be very careful in selecting bones).

These are some comforts that will make the crate feel like a safe haven instead of a punishment.

I recently wrote the guide to the best toys for poodles. I discuss crate training related topics such as boredom and separation anxiety, as well as the best toys to help curb these behaviors. You can learn more here.

How To Encourage Your Poodle to Use A Crate

If you want the crate to be a place that your poodle enjoys:

  • Don’t yell at them, spank them, or punish them for accidents. This will only make them fear the crate and you, making the process take significantly longer or not work at all.
  • Make it cozy and safe.
  • Make meal-time designated to the crate.
  • Leave treats in the crate when they successfully hold it for a potty break.
  • Slowly add to the amount of time they must hold it. Some go by the method of the month to hour ratio for potty breaks. For example, if your puppy is two months old, they can hold it for two hours. If your puppy is three months old, they can hold it for three hours, and so on.
  • Develop a term you say excitedly to invite them to go back to their crate. Something like, ‘Kennel time,’ or, ‘hop in your crate.’ Something that they hear every time and will associate with the crate to excitedly follow your cue and hop in there!

Why You Should Crate Train Your Poodle?

The reason that crate training works is because a dog is a relatively hygienic animal that will not want to sit with their urine or fecal matter. They don’t like to soil their designated ‘safe-spaces,’ so the dog learns new habits of not soiling their shelter while simultaneously learning that outdoors is the only place to use the bathroom.

Some reasons why you should crate train your poodle are:

  • It teaches them not to poop or pee where they sleep.
  • It helps strengthen their resolve to control their bowels and bladder.
  • It teaches your dog that they can’t have access to the entire house to do things like chew on the furniture or cause chaos. This offers you peace of mind knowing you are not leaving them to develop bad habits.
  • It helps your dog become well-trained for travel and comfortable with future crate-required plans.
  • It offers them a safe shelter that is all their own.
  • It lets them know that you alone establish their schedule.
  • It helps the dog see you as the alpha and aids in your retaining control. This avoids having an out-of-control puppy that is beyond training.
  • It will end up being their security blanket, and if done correctly, crate-training offers them a space they can retreat in for serenity and solitude.

Don’t feel that confinement is cruel. It’s only temporary, and it can offer your dog a much-needed sense of security when they’ve just been separated from their mother and siblings.

Mistakes to Avoid When Crate Training Your Poodle

There are plenty of ways to accidentally do a disservice to your dog while crate training them. Avoid these harmful mistakes:

  • Don’t make the crate a frightening place – Make the crate a cozy spot for your dog to retreat to. If it feels like the crate is a punishment, you could psychologically torment your dog by making them go in a place you’re forcing them to go. Make the crate feel like a spa, and don’t allow your dog to fear the crate. This will result in them fighting you the entire time, and you risk them not properly being potty trained.
  • Don’t forget to take them out every two hours – Puppies under six months of age have incredibly small bladders. You will need to take them out often to avoid them sitting in their waste. You may consider taking them out every hour, but you must take them out at least every two hours. Do not confuse crate training with locking them up all day because they will need many potty and social breaks.
  • Don’t overlook adult dogs – If you are training a mature dog, it will be harder to ‘teach an old dog new tricks,’ but not impossible. Keep in mind that their bladders might be larger, and they can hold it for longer, but not more than 4-6 hours. You may have to reprogram their brain that they need to hold it unless they are outside.
  • Don’t avoid playing with your pup – This is still your bonding period with the puppy, and you need to socialize your puppy, as well. They want to be creating a relationship with you and the world. If they are not getting time to play and enjoy human interaction, your poodle can quickly become depressed or develop anxiety. Make sure that their entire life isn’t the crate, or you will have a very socially-intimidated and shy poodle on your hands.

Just as you wouldn’t want to be kept in a box all day and night, your puppy wants to get out and enjoy life too. This is probably the most important takeaway you should hold on to.

Does the Size of Your Poodle matter When Crate Training?

Now that you understand the basics of crate training, you must learn the differences between each type of poodle. The poodle breed overall has won countless blue ribbons, is the national dog of France, and is known for its pedigree and class.

The three classifications for poodles that are based on their size are:

  • Toy – The smallest variation will often be less than 10 inches tall and weigh under 9 pounds. They are bred from larger poodles, so they retain the same behavioral and personality characteristics as larger poodles.
  • Miniature – The miniature poodle is closer to the toy poodle in size and is between 11 to 15 inches tall and weighs between 10 and 20 pounds.
  • Standard – The largest variation of poodle will be over 16 inches tall (with most being around 25 to 30 inches tall) and weigh between 40 and 75 pounds. They are bred for retrieving and intelligence.

Selecting A Crate for Your Poodle

There are tons of crates to choose from, but your primary considerations going into the crate selection will be the following:

  • Select a crate that allows your dog to stand up, spin around, and not feel claustrophobic.
  • You will want it a few inches taller than their height when standing straight.
  • Do not select a crate that is large enough for them to sleep on one corner and pee/poop in the other.
  • If there is room to designate a bathroom area in the crate, it is too large.

Crates for pets will most commonly come in the following materials:

  • Wire
  • Plastic
  • Fabric

If you select a wire crate, your pup can see their surroundings. This allows them to look around and feel included, while a plastic crate may have walls that make them feel too confined or left out.

Best Crates for Each Poodle Size

It can be difficult to know what size crate will work best for your poodle. Here are my favorite crates on Amazon for each toy, miniature, and. standard poodles. Just click the link(s) that corresponds to your poodles size for more detailed product information, as well as current prices for each size crate:

All crates may be uncomfortable and require blankets/soft fabrics. 

Where to Place Your Poodle’s Crate

You should place the crate somewhere that your poodle will still feel like a part of your family! Some tips to keep in mind are:

Don’t:

  • Isolate them by placing the cage in the smallest and darkest room of the house
  • Put the crate in the basement or attic
  • Put the crate in the backyard
  • Put it somewhere you will rarely go
  • Put it where they feel alone and forgotten

Do:

  • Put it nearby where you are so your poodle can connect with you
  • Put it where your poodle can see you
  • Consider putting it in your bedroom/office or where you are the most likely to keep an eye on them
  • Put it in the heart of the home where they will receive the most socialization
  • Remember to make time for your puppy regularly throughout the day.

Crate Training Your Poodle: Behavioral Problems and Solutions

Your dog will sometimes cry during the early stages of their crate training. Don’t allow this to discourage you or throw off the routine you have been working to maintain.

Some common behavioral issues of the poodle breed to be aware of are:

  • Barking at all hours of the night
  • Digging holes in the yard or your carpet
  • Chewing on furniture or shoes
  • Jumping the fence when let outside
  • Stealing human food
  • Hand chewing or biting
  • Potty accidents

Many of these behaviors are triggered by a bored poodle that is not getting enough socialization, exercise, or bonding time.

Steps to diminish these bad habits are:

  • Increase their outdoor time
  • Increase the exercise or work they are doing during that outdoor time – if they are barking excessively at night, it’s because they aren’t getting that energy out during the day.
  • Play more games with them
  • Provide toys that are mentally stimulating, like puzzles that release treats
  • Provide more chew toys if they are biting hands. They may be teething and need special Puppy Chew Toys
  • Teach them more tricks and take opportunities to train them

Your poodle is very intelligent and loves to be trained. If they are acting out, it’s probably because they are not having their needs met. Give them more brain activity and tasks to accomplish, like training, and the happier your poodle will be.

Dogs like to feel a sense of purpose, just like humans. Show them more attention, and most of these bad habits will cease. Without adequate care, your poodle will become depressed, anti-social, anxious, or downright badly behaved.

Check out this video to help stop your poodle from barking in her crate:

Final Tips on The Crate Training Process

Potty training your puppy will be a challenging but worthwhile process! You don’t want a dog that uses your home as their toilet, so as hard as it is to lock up your new fur-baby, it is necessary. This psychological training will condition them to follow your lead, have their safe-space and territory, while also communicating more clearly when they need to go outside.

Some parting words of wisdom for you well-researched poodle-owners are:

  • Don’t put a timetable on it. Crate-training isn’t about rushing them but allowing your poodle to set their timeline. Take their lead in how ready they are to be free of the crate. If they don’t seem prepared, believe them.
  • If they cry at night, it is normal. It can be reduced by bringing the crate closer to where you sleep, so they don’t feel alone or frightened. Animals get scared of the dark, just like humans. Reduce their anxiety by making them feel less isolated.
  • When your puppy has playtime, leave the crate door open. You may notice that they go back in willingly.
  • Crate training mimics thousands of years ago when dogs would have a ‘den-like’ space or ‘wolf-den.’ As pack creatures, they want their space to feel cozy but not claustrophobic. The right crate connects to their instincts and should be well-embraced by the poodle breed.
  • Don’t diminish your hard work by making the crate a fearful entity to the pup. If you are going to commit, commit properly by avoiding punishments and making this a consequence-free period of learning for them. This will increase the odds of a successfully potty-trained poodle that respects you and doesn’t fear you.

In Conclusion

Take the crate training technique on in baby-steps. The tortoise beat the hare for a reason. Offer your dog love, affection, treats, and consistency – and they will be potty-trained in no time!

Crate training should not be about leaving them in the crate all day, but more about instilling healthy habits. The crate should feel like their safe space. If your poodle is rejecting crate training or doesn’t seem to be taking to it as you hoped, it could be that it feels too much like a punishment instead of a reward. Find more ways to add comforts and offer them treats each time they go in their crate.

Be mindful not to rush the process or force it upon them. It will happen naturally as you develop your routine with one another. Be patient, consistent, and reliable – you may quickly notice that the crate is your pup’s favorite place!

Brent Hartman

I'm Brent Hartman. I've been a dog lover my entire life and have owned many animals over the years. When my black lab Angus passed away, I was looking for another friend to share my life with. As a result of my research, I've come to love poodles and wanted to share some of what I've learned with you. Whether you're looking to adopt a poodle, or already own one, I created Poodle report to be the ultimate guide to help you find the answers you need.

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