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Discussion Starter #1
I've always crate trained my dogs, but I've never had pups as young as the two girls I'm currently fostering as of this evening (they are 4 weeks old). Right now I have them both in a medium sized crate, but I know they are way too little to start real crate training. I'm planning on getting up with them every couple of hours and taking them out through the night tonight, but I'm thinking about taking a different approach for now, at least until they are 8 weeks old.

I have a X-Large crate (Great Dane sized) and was thinking of setting it up as an exercise pen for the both of them lined with pee pads. As they get a little older I would remove pee pads until there is only one in a corner. Then at 8 weeks they would graduate to an appropriately sized crate to start actual crate training. Does this sound reasonable?
 

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You have not mentioned breed type, but, whatever breed, I think that they should have more space than just one crate. Do you have an Xpen, or some pickets and garden fencing.

Our litters, from when their eyes open and they start climbing out of the whelping box, sleep in the crate, with the door open, and they play, poop and pee in a pen.

You can still reduce the size / number of pads going down until they learn to toilet in one area.

I think if you let them toilet in the crate you will be teaching them it is ok to mess in their sleeping quarters.
 

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My breeder kept her puppies in a fenced off area in a room. A large portion of the space had shallow trays filled with absorbant pellets. I think the trays were actually taken from the bottoms of large wire crates. The pellets were designed for horse stalls and were very affordable. The puppies learned to go on the pellets. They didn't chew the pellets and there wasn't all the drama of them moving around like there is with pads. Worked really well.

I don't see anything wrong with the large crate as long as they can't get their bodies all tangled in it. I will go out on a limb and assume that they aren't in there 24/7.

Good luck with the fosters. I have only fostered one that young. It was quite a ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
These are 5ish pound pitbull puppies btw. And the crate I'm thinking of using is HUGE (large enough for a 150 pound Great Dane). I would be using it for the times that we can't be right on top of them and overnight.
 

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With 4 week old Benny I used a crate overnight and did the night time potty runs. In the day he had "areas" ... the bathroom and the linoleum in the kitchen lined with newspaper. I didn't want to buy puppy pads ... too expensive. Lol! :) He did very very well with the newspaper.

Benny slowly graduated from the paper to the outdoors ... but it was nice to have a back-up instead of the carpet being used as a toilet.

When I had to leave the house Benny had the bathroom with his newspaper and his water bowl and a bed and a toy. The bathroom was completely puppy proofed.

I started actual crate training at 6 weeks old during the day ... made it a place to eat and snack and fun. :)
 
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