I crate trained my puppy. She only started letting me know she needed to go outside when she was in the crate because she didn't want to go in her "den". After she learned to let me know when she needed to go out, her accidents became fewer and farther between. Now she is four and a half months and rarely has accidents. I can even let her sleep out of the crate because she will wake me up when she needs to go out. Also, we have a designated potty area. We don't play with her there or take her there for any reason except to potty so she doesn't get confused and will go rather quickly. It takes some time and a lot of consistency (and sleepless nights), but they are smart dogs and she will pick it up. I felt discouraged a week into it but there is a light at the end of the tunnel
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Khaleesi, GSD born 12/18/13