Crate Training vs. Paper Training–Which is Best for My Pooch?

How to housebreak your puppy is one of the first big decisions you’ll make as a new dog owner. If you’re a first-time dog owner, you may not even be aware that there’s more than one method of training from which to choose. Crate and paper training are the most commonly used methods and each has distinct advantages. Deciding which is right for you and your pooch may depend on the breed of the dog, your lifestyle and living situation.

  • It teaches the dog bladder control
  • The dog learns to go to the bathroom outside – no retraining needed
  • The puppy is safely contained inside the crate while you’re gone or asleep
  • Many dogs like being in a crate and find it comforting
  • A crate-trained dog is easier and safer to travel with
  • If there’s ever an emergency that requires your dog to be in a crate, it won’t be so traumatic

Disadvantages of Crate Training

  • Some dogs never take to being in a crate and may cry or scratch for hours
  • Puppies should not be left in a crate for more than two hours at a time
  • You have to get up several times a night to take the puppy outside

Advantages of Paper Training  

  • The puppy can stay in a pen or laundry room for longer periods than in a crate
  • You don’t have to get up during the night
  • The weather doesn’t affect training
  • Ideal for apartment living or people who can’t get outside regularly

Disadvantages of Paper Training

  • If the ultimate goal is to have the dog go outdoors, you have to retrain from the paper to the yard
  • The dog won’t have a predictable potty schedule
  • The dog may see every newspaper, area rug or article of clothing left on the floor as a potty spot
  • Requires a lot of pad changing  on owner’s part
  • Not as safe to leave your dog unattended

If you have a small indoor dog, paper training makes good sense; in fact, you might have chosen a small breed because you don’t have access to a yard or because your busy schedule makes crate training impractical. But if you have a medium- or large-breed dog, paper training is less practical in the long run. With an honest assessment of your lifestyle, your ability to maintain a schedule and meet the needs of your dog, you’ll be able to choose the method that’s best for you and your new companion.

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