How do you know when your dog no longer needs her crate for housetraining?
When you transition your dog from long stretches inside her crate to extended periods outside her crate, do so gradually. Many people make the mistake of immediately offering the dog free reign of the house–and then are surprised to find accidents when they return home. Your dog will be better set up for success if you make this a gradual process.
First, put her crate in a room you can easily close off, either by shutting a door or using a baby gate. If the space remains accident-free for two weeks, gradually increase the area she’s allowed to roam by adding a hallway or another room. Each time you expand her purview, wait two weeks to make sure she doesn’t eliminate there. If she does, simply go back a step.
Don’t forget that a crate protects much more than your carpet. Some dogs are housetrained long before they’re able to identify which items make appropriate chew toys. (Make sure your dog is not destructive before you transition her to greater freedom.) And remember, you can replace your belongings, but you can never replace your canine friend if she eats or chews on something harmful.