Crate training and house training can and should be used side by side. The length of time it takes to train your dog depends on how hard and how much time you spend working with him. Be patient as accidents will happen. That's all part of training your puppy right from wrong.
The type of crate is not necessarily important but most people do spend the extra money and purchase a Vari Kennel. The crate should have a solid bottom as well as solid sides and top. However, some dogs will prefer wire crates. My dogs have always preferred solid crates. The crate should be large enough for the puppy to stand up and turn around. You don't want it to be too large as to give the puppy an opportunity to eliminate in the crate but still have room to lie down. This will defeat the purpose of crate training. Generally, most dogs will not eliminate in their crates if the crate training is done right. Dogs are den animals and the crate will be a portable den for your puppy. It will become a place where he will feel protected and safe.
The crate should be placed away from constant traffic but in a location where the puppy is not totally cut off from the family. At bedtime, place the crate in your bedroom where the puppy can see you and feel more comfortable knowing that you are nearby. Some prefer a spot in the kitchen or bathroom. Make sure the crate is not in a cold drafty area or next to a heater duct. Furthermore, add a towel or a blanket for the puppy to lay on in the crate. In addition, a few toys will come in handy.
You want the crate to be a fun place for the puppy to be in. Remember this is his own safe haven or home where he can get away from people and things. To introduce the puppy to the crate , place it the center of the room with the door off or open. Let the puppy check it out on his own. Toss a goodie or toy in the crate and tell the puppy to enter it. At this point, give the crate a name such as crate, home, den, etc. Your puppy will soon learn to get in it by that name. Never force a puppy into the crate. Most puppies will catch on right way. On a rare occasion, it might take a few days. In that case take it very slowly. Every time the puppy enters his crate, praise him. Next, you need to decide on a location for the crate. Remember, it should be away from constant traffic but in a location where it can be with the family. Furthermore, keep it out of drafts and direct heat. You are now ready to follow the 3 steps listed below. These steps will take several days to complete. Remember, the crate is not to be used as a punishment.
STEP 1. Tell your puppy to get into his crate (or whatever name you have decided to call it). Shut the door. Give him a treat and lots of praise. Let him out of the crate. Again, praise him and make it seem like a fun place to be in. Do it several times.
STEP 2. After placing your puppy in the crate, with door closed (again treat and praise him), have a seat for 5 minutes in sight. Do not speak to him during this time period. Go back, let the puppy out and praise him. Gradually lengthen the time to 1/2 hour.
STEP 3. After placing the puppy in the crate, with door closed, turn around and walk out of the room. Remain out of the room for 5 minutes then return. Let the puppy out and praise him. Once again, lengthen the time to 1/2 hour.
Eventually as the puppy matures and understands the rules, you should be able to crate him for a full day if necessary. By placing your puppy in the crate for short periods of time, you will teach him to "hold on" until taken outside to eliminate himself. For any situations such as being away for a period of time, unable to supervise your puppy, busy around the house or asleep, crate your puppy. Again, never use the crate for punishment.
The formula most people use to determine how long you can leave a dog crated is as follows:
A puppy or dog can be crated one hour for every month of its age. Of course, this does not mean that your 5 year old can be kept crated for 5 days. Lets be sensible.