When Should A Puppy Stop Using A Playpen? [Complete Guide]

When Should A Puppy Stop Using A Playpen

Raising a little puppy in your household can lead to tons of questions and doubts. One of the most bothersome issues can be when a puppy should stop using a playpen.

Although the average puppy can stop using a playpen at about 5-6 months of age, it solely depends on the dog’s behavioral pattern. The amount of mental and physical stimulation, obedience training, house training, and health issues are the key factors that influence their behavior.

In this article, we will discuss how to assess these behavior patterns and how to avoid potential problems and eventually train your puppy to stay without a playpen.

When should you stop using a playpen for your puppy?

The answer to when your puppy should stop using the playpen depends on the progress of your puppy.

It can vary according to the breed of your puppy as well. Typically, after 5-6 months, they will start to show improvement in their behavioral patterns, and you should observe them closely to identify that.

However, you will still need to keep them in a playpen during the night or whenever you are out of the home, as trust issues matter.

Even if you trust that they are ready to stay without the playpen and have come to an adult age to stop using it, you should stay alert.

Some puppies show significant good habits when they are out of the playpen, and you can let them roam free. But some are still a bit aggressive and destructive even though they have reached 2-3 years.

So, deciding when your puppy should stop using the playpen depends on their improvement in self-training and your keen observation of them.

They can’t talk to you and ask, but you can observe them and decide.

If you are keeping your puppy in a playpen, how many hours can you keep them in it? Usually, you can calculate it by taking their age in months and adding one.

That means if your puppy is 3 months old, you can add one to that which would be 4 hours. However, you should be aware of their behavior when they are in the playpen and whether they can manage all alone.

Don’t worry – your puppy won’t need a playpen forever. It is temporary until your puppy is housetrained and settled into its new place.

Yorkie puppy inside its play pen

Do puppies really need a playpen?

Before answering this question, have you ever thought about why your puppy needs to stay in a playpen, or if they even need a playpen?

The fact that your puppy needs to stay in a playpen is kind of an ‘up to you’ decision. To be honest, there are more benefits that you can have from training your dog to stay in a playpen.

If you let your puppy roam and wander all over the house before potty training, you will have a hectic time after coming home from work.

1. It is important to understand that using a playpen is not a punishment for your puppy.

Rather, it is a designated area meant to keep them secure.

2. Using a playpen can help your puppy learn good habits and develop proper behavior.

This is a crucial aspect of successful dog parenting.

3. Using a playpen can also help you protect your carpets, sofas, and floors from accidents and messes, such as poop.

Using a playpen is more effective in training your puppy to choose a specific place or an area to poop even when he or she grows older.

When is your puppy ready to leave the playpen?

Giving your puppy proper training is essential, regardless of how long they’ve been in a playpen or crate.

Effective training will ease your workload and allow you to confidently take your pup to public places.

If you have a new furry friend, it’s important to make their playpen a comfortable and friendly space.

However, if your puppy has been content in the playpen for an extended period, it may be time to consider ways to gradually introduce more freedom.

So, how can you tell if your puppy is ready? Look for improvements in their behavior and consider these important factors before allowing them to explore the outside world.

1. Introduce your puppy to a puppy-proofed area

Before letting your furry friend run free, it’s important to make sure they are ready for it.

Take them out into a safe and puppy-proofed area and watch how they interact with the environment.

Don’t let them roam around your home unsupervised right away. Take it step by step and use baby gates or other barriers to help guide them.

Suggested Reading: Why do some puppies not like playpens?

2. Slowly introduce them to their newfound independence

Don’t expect your puppy to automatically know how to behave outside of the playpen.

You should gradually introduce them to their newfound freedom within your home.

3. Leave them alone in the puppy-proofed area

Once your puppy is comfortable in a puppy-proofed area, try leaving them alone in the space.

This will give them a chance to make decisions on their own and show you whether they are ready to be out of the playpen for good.

4. Ensure your puppy is obedient

Before making the decision to let your puppy out of the playpen, it’s important to make sure they are obedient and responsive to your commands. If they are well-behaved and listen to you, you can gradually give them more freedom.

Remember, every puppy is different, and some may need more time in the playpen than others. Don’t rush the process and always be on alert, as puppies can be unpredictable even after training.

With patience and proper training, your furry friend will be ready to enjoy their newfound freedom in no time.

By the way, here is how to keep your dog from jumping out of the playpen.

Can adult dogs stay in a playpen?

Yes, adult dogs can stay in a playpen or a crate, but it’s important to note that it shouldn’t be for long periods of time.

Dogs enjoy their freedom and shouldn’t be confined to a playpen for 3-6 hours or more.

It’s crucial to manage your time and work schedule to ensure your dog isn’t stressed or confined for extended periods, which can have negative effects on their well-being.

If your adult dog exhibits uncontrollable behavior such as excessive barking or not listening to commands, it may be necessary to use a playpen or crate while providing training to correct these behaviors.

Although a playpen can be a relaxing space for an adult dog, if they resist going inside, it’s best not to force them.

Additionally, a playpen can provide a calm and secure space for an adult dog when they’re sick.

Why should you consider a playpen instead of a crate?

It is recommended to consider a playpen instead of a crate for your puppy’s comfort and well-being. While a crate provides limited space, a playpen offers more room for your puppy to move around, play, and sleep in a comfortable position.

Furthermore, some puppies may feel trapped and isolated in a crate, leading to anxiety and stress. In contrast, a playpen provides a more open and stimulating environment, allowing your puppy to feel less confined and more engaged.

Additionally, a playpen allows you to supervise your puppy more easily while you attend to other tasks. You can observe and interact with your puppy while cooking or working, which is beneficial for their socialization and training.

For adult dogs, a playpen provides more space for them to manage their body and be comfortable. Therefore, if you want to provide your furry friend with a safe and comfortable space, a playpen is a better option than a crate.

Suggested Reading: Here is why some dogs hurt themselves inside a crate.

Things to be aware of

  1. Ensure that your dog is well potty-trained before giving them free access to your home.
  2. Pay attention to your puppy’s needs and be vigilant to prevent accidents or dangerous behavior.
  3. Observe your puppy’s behavior and consider carefully when it is appropriate to stop using a playpen.
  4. Instead of immediately getting rid of the crate or playpen once your puppy is comfortable roaming freely, allow them some time in it as it served as a safe and familiar space for them before.


Good training and behavior are the most important factors for your puppy to enjoy freedom on their own. The above points explain when you should stop using a playpen and give them the freedom to roam alone if they are ready.

Additional information is also provided, such as how to decide whether your puppy is ready to leave the playpen, whether a playpen or a crate is a better option, and whether adult dogs can stay in a playpen. I hope this information has given you a clear understanding, and we will return with more insights into your puppy soon.

Till then, cheers!  

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