Crate Training, Napping & Sleeping, and House Training

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Here`s another great article:

Thank you for taking the time. I likely already know the answer, but would love your insight. Bolded the questions at the end for TL:DR.

We got a Lab pup 6 weeks ago who is now just coming up on 4 months old. We are getting better on some training, but I'm also concerned that we're stepping on our own feet.

The first week, we had him sleep in his crate next to our bed so that he could get used to his new home as well as the new crate. After a week, we moved him into an adjacent room. After a couple of decent nights, cue non-stop crying. We attempted to allow him to "cry it out" as advised by both vet and trainer, but the reality is that we couldn't handle 3 straight hours of crying plus intermittent hourly whining.

After just setting his bed at the foot of ours, he's been pretty good about sleeping pretty much through the night.

However, that's where I fear that we may have messed up. As of this week, he seems to just routinely walk into his crate and pee in it. Even doing so within time periods of being able to hold it – an hour or so after going out.

You won't be surprised to learn that we really only use the crate for periods when we need to run errands, and there is always an accident awaiting us.

Further, I work from home, so the need for errands/alone time are limited. He also has pretty free run of the area so naps wherever he likes.

Does allowing him to sleep and nap freely outside of his crate prevent him from seeing it as a comfy den when he needs to be in it?

Would your recommended course of action be to enforce "crate time" throughout the day as well to force familiarization?

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