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ZEPHYRA's avatar

Other than crate training what else worked for your puppy's "toilet" training and how long did the procedure take?

Asked by ZEPHYRA (14971 points ) February 13th, 2013

Why do they soil different places even when that attraction spray is used? Incidentally, I got the puppy from a dog shelter so it was not given particular attention. It is a 3 month old female. I have been doing what is usually advised but she is a headstrong little thing! Help!!!!

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16 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

My son’s girlfriend is a gifted dog trainer, and she actually visits families and helps them with their dog training problems. There’s no aversive training involved and no crates. She does it all with clear, gentle communication of expectations and consistent rewards. So I know it’s possible, even though I don’t know what she’d say in a particular situation.

livelaughlove21's avatar

It takes consistency and patience. We found the crate to be immensely helpful, and it will take longer without it. Our puppy is 13 weeks old and hasn’t had an accident in three weeks – she goes to the door and whines when she needs to go, so she’s basically potty trained. Yay!

The trick is catching her when she’s in the middle of using the bathroom in the house. Clap your hands together loudly or say “No!” or “Ah!” in a loud, firm voice. Don’t stick her nose in it or hit her. She should stop upon hearing the loud noise. Pick her up, take her outside, stay out there until she pees or poops, praise her immediately (treats work great), and take her right back in.

If you see it after she’s done, no punishment or yelling! She has the attention span of about 2 seconds, so she’ll have no clue why you’re mad at her. Just clean it up well and move on.

Of course, take her out after every nap and meal, and every hour otherwise until she gets the hint. Cut off her water at 7PM and take her out every 3–4 hours (or more often) at night. Remember her bladder is really small and she can’t be expected to hold it for very long.

This process can take weeks or months, but just stick with it.

longgone's avatar

Please don’t cut off her water. Yes, her bladder’s really small, but so’s the whole dog, and that’s exactly why she needs to stay hydrated. At three months, she is incredibly young…and if she hasn’t been taken care of very well at the shelter, it’ll probably be a while. Try not to think of her as being headstrong. Give her some time. I recommend Patricia McConnell’s book ‘Way to Go’. For training, I agree with @livelaughlove21 , though I’d be careful about loud voices, because all puppies are different. You don’t want to scare her. I’ve house-trained two dogs, and while one of them grasped the concept pretty quickly, the other one is a year old and still has (very occasional) accidents. Just relax. It’s perfectly normal for house-training to take several months. But it will happen, it sounds like you’re doing everything right, and you’ll have a happy and unstressed dog if you don’t put too much pressure on both of you right now.

Pandora's avatar

It only took us a week but we got him over the Christmas holidays and we all had off and took shifts. We kept moving the pee pad towards the door.
He would occasionally have accidents but for a few weeks but all together I think it took a month. He was terrified to poo in the house. He would shake like a leaf.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I’m sorry, but even the vet (in addition to trainers and reputable puppy websites) says it’s okay to cut off a puppy’s water a couple of hours before bedtime. This is mostly recommended for crate training, as water shouldn’t be in your puppy’s crate unless and only when they get meals in there, but I think it’s even more important if a crate isn’t used. Puppies do not know how to regulate their water intake and, unless you want to take her out every half hour throughout the night, she shouldn’t have water late at night. This makes it easier for her to hold it and prevents you from having a bunch of puddles to clean up when you wake up in the morning.

I’d also like to add that, if you want the puppy to use the bathroom ONLY outside, never use potty pads! Even in the beginning, this confuses the hell out of them. Letting them pee inside, even on a pad, is counterproductive and will drag out the housetraining process.

I’m wondering where the puppy is at night if she isn’t in a crate. In your bed? Roaming free in the house? Locked in a bathroom? Depending on the answer, this could be why she’s not catching on as well.

But I do agree that it’s normal for her not to be house trained yet at her age. She’s not behind by any means. But getting rid of any bad habits you may have now could speed the process along.

marinelife's avatar

What breed is she? Some are not able to control their evacuations until 16 weeks.

woodcutter's avatar

I got spoiled. Our pup was nine weeks old when we got her. She only screwed up one time and was so upset about it she was almost inconsolable. I was just walking in the room when I caught her doing the “twirl”. I loudly commanded her No, No, No! Those great big eyes looking up at me as I quickly picked her up and went out side with her and she let it rip in the grass. My job began when she finished. I made a huge deal on how good a girl she was for doing potty right. Heaping a ton of praise for doing right crapping seems silly I know, but they like that.
You have to watch for the signals they need to go, and with puppies it’s all the time. I realize I walked into cake walk with this dog and that others will have a longer training period before they get it down but they need positive reinforcement for every single thing they get right. Go overboard with praise till others think you’ve lost it. Don’t make your dog be afraid of you.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

@livelaughlove21 at night she sleeps on the carpet next to my bed. I tried the isolation thing in a big spare room but she freaked out totally. BUT when I am at work for hours should I not be closing her in a limited place? I know she doesn’t like it, but I can’t let her roam the apartment thinking she can do as she likes anywhere!

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Plus she never pees outside when we go for walks, she waits for the return home!!!!!!!!!!
It is making an otherwise delightful creature very hard to deal with and it’s making me regret getting a puppy!

woodcutter's avatar

Our dog didn’t think much of the crate. We hardly used it but we keep it in a corner and use it to stash extra bags of chow so the cats don’t get in it. We had sort of a clingy pup, like she hardly let me out of her sight. It was the pack instinct. She was stepped on many times because she would be under foot in those early days.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Our puppy took to the crate right away. We didn’t follow “the rules” with a tiny crate because I felt bad seeing her only able to turn around and lay down in there. So we got one that is medium sized – big enough for her bed, banket, and a couple of toys. She only had two accidents in there, goes in on her own when she’s sleepy, and only cries if she’s wide awake, sees us, and wants to play. We keep her in there at night and while we’re at work, and my husband comes home for lunch so she can eat, potty, and play for a bit. She’s out of the crate from 2:30 until 9:00 unless she’s napping.

I just can’t imagine letting her loose in the house without supervision. I know our puppy poops and pees A LOT, and giving her free reign of the house all day would be a huge smelly mess. That’s why crate training is so much easier – limited messes and quick housetraining. If she’s home all day, peeing and pooping on your floors, how is she supposed to know that she needs to do those things outside? If you stay with her all day, that’s different, but giving a young puppy free reign of your house all day will make housetraining that much harder.

She should never be locked up in a bathroom or some other tiny space. I know people will say the crate is even smaller, but the puppy can see her surroundings in a crate. She’ll scream the whole time you’re gone if you put her in the bathroom. Our puppy has gotten a handful of time outs in the bathroom (5–10 minutes) and let us know what she thought of that by licking our paint off the wall. They get restless easily and they have a lot of energy, so make sure she’s kept in an area she can’t destroy, at least until she’s older and more trustworthy.

I think the issue is that she hasn’t caught on to what you want her to do. She thinks outside is for walking/playing, and inside is for potty time. In my opinion, it’s because she’s given too much unrestricted space. After meals and naps, go outside with her on a leash and stand in one spot until she pees or poops. Then praise immediately and take her in. She needs to know that’s what outside is for. Once again, patience! She’s still a baby.

longgone's avatar

@livelaughlove21 : I realize there’s vets recommending to regulate a puppy’s water intake. There’s also lots of vets ranting about the same issue, but that’s not the point. I never did that with my dogs because I think it’s wrong for them to have to be thirsty for no reason. Especially at night – ever tried falling asleep when you were thirsty? If they take a couple of weeks longer because of that, yeah, that’s annoying…but for me, it was worth it.
@ZEPHYRA : May I ask why you don’t want to crate her? Also, does she sleep through the night? How long are your walks? Off-leash or on-leash? How long do you leave her alone?

livelaughlove21's avatar

@longgone How much do you drink between bedtime and waking up in the morning? She’s given plenty of water all day long. She’s not thirsty, and she’s certainly not dehydrated. She goes to her food before her water at breakfast. If she was that thirsty, she’d want the water more. If we gave her access to water all night, there’s no way she could hold it for 4 hours, which is how often we get up to take her out. I don’t know many people willing to get up every single hour every night. Those would be some sleep deprived people.

If it worked for you, that’s great. However, I’m just saying it won’t work for all puppies and it doesn’t harm them to cut off their water before they go to bed.

woodcutter's avatar

Most crates I have seen have a partition that can be put inside the crate to make the space temporarily small. It has been said that a dog won’t pee where they sleep. They will wait till morning. After they grow large they should have the peeing situation all figured out and you can throw that divider up in the attic. The crates can still be handy for those times when people come over and you can put the dog there if they are the type to be in the way.

Or bite strangers, another topic

livelaughlove21's avatar

@woodcutter That’s what they say, yes, but young puppies may still pee in a small crate. Small bladders being the reason. If they are left in the crate too long, they simply can’t and won’t hold it. Feeding the meals in the crate helps as well because they don’t like peeing where they eat either. Most pups catch on quickly, but they say the smaller the crate the faster they catch on. I wasn’t comfortable sticking her in a tiny cell where she could barely move all night and, luckily, we had no major issues using the bigger crate. We thought about fashioning a partition, but it never became necessary. It’s a good idea, though, so you don’t have to waste money on small crates that they’ll certainly grow out of.

All puppies are different. You just have to find the technique that works for them.

longgone's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Your puppy does seem to manage fine, I agree that she’d drink first thing in the morning if she were thirsty. Still, like you pointed out – all puppies are different, and I’d be pretty careful about taking away water with such young animals. That’s all I’m saying.

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