You may ask, "Why should I use a kennel for my puppy?" The answer is simple! It will help housebreak your puppy much more quickly. This in turn will allow you to give your puppy MORE freedom in your home sooner because you will not be worried that your puppy will be having "accidents" all over your house. Think of your puppy's kennel as his/her "room" within your home. Crates are the cribs and playpens of dog training. It must be a good place for your puppy, not a place that he/she associates with punishment. Dog's are den animals; in the wild, canines (wolves, foxes) build dens to deliver and raise their pups. Puppies generally do not like to soil their "den" or kennel. As a result they are more likely to try and "hold" their urine or stool until they can be let out to relieve themselves in a more appropriate place.
The correct size for a crate or kennel is only big enough for your puppy to comfortably lay down and turn around in it. If it is too big, the puppy can urinate and defecate at one end and sleep at the other. To avoid the problem of purchasing a kennel that a large breed puppy might soon outgrow, you may use a larger kennel but block part of the kennel off by filling part of the kennel with a cardboard box until the puppy begins to grow. In this way you can allow the kennel "to grow" with the puppy.
Puppies generally should not be crated during the day for more hours than they are months old plus one. This means a three-month-old pup should not be crated for more than 4 hours; a four-month-old pup for five hours. Pups can usually "hold it" overnight by four months of age if a consistent feeding and watering schedule is followed. Never put papers in the kennel. You're teaching him not to go in there. If your pup dirties his bedding, don't put any in with him.
Start your puppy in a kennel as soon as possible; the younger the better. Get your puppy used to going inside the crate by making him case toys and food rewards into the crate (freeze dried liver is an excellent training reward). Once he is going into the crate without hesitation, close the door for short periods of time. Start by closing the door for only a few seconds, then a few minutes, and so on. Once you feel comfortable with closing your puppy in his kennel, you MUST ignore his cries and fussing to be let out. If you let him out every time he cries, the puppy wins! You now have a puppy that will train you and will ever accept confinement. If your puppy resists confinement initially, you may cover the kennel with a towel to make it dark inside. Place a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel inside with the puppy. This will simulate the warmth of his littermates and will be comforting. Also, try placing a clock radio on top of the kennel with soft, soothing music playing. Once your puppy becomes used to staying and sleeping in his kennel, you will notice that he will voluntarily seek his kennel to rest or nap.
Your puppy should sleep in his kennel every night, (NOT in your bed) until he is completely housebroken. Completely housebroken means NO "accidents" in the house for about 4 weeks! Your puppy should also spend intermittent times inside the kennel during the day even if you are at home with him/her. After all, most puppies have the majority of their "accidents" in the house during the day not at night. After urinating and defecating in a designated spot outside, your puppy should be rewarded with praise and treats. Then he/she should be allowed freedom in the house in a designated area such as the kitchen for 1-2 hours. After playing for this length of time your puppy will be ready for a nap in the kennel for an an hour. Always take your puppy out of the kennel directly to the designated "bathroom" in the yard. Frequently puppies are so stimulated by all the activity outside that they forget to "use the bathroom" the first time outside. If your puppy does not relieve himself, place him back into his kennel for 5-10 minutes, then repeat by taking him back outside until he eliminates outside.