Once the pups are freely getting in and out of the whelping box, I put small dog crates in the whelping house. I remove the doors so the pups can go in and out at will. They soon learn that a crate is a safe quiet place to be left alone. Really helps tremendously in preparing them for actual crate training. An added plus for those pups that are going to be shipped. They are already comfortable and secure about being in a crate. So many little things go into preparing them for lifes experiences. The kids play room toys with steps in an excellent idea that I will add to the deck area.