View Full Version : Potty Help Needed!!!!

19th December 2006, 02:57 AM
Lily is now 6 months old. When we first got her at 8 weeks she was nowhere near house broken. I have since stuggled with getting her to go outside. I thought she was finally getting it with the occasional set back. Well, we have hit a HUGE bump. She has decided that outside is NOT the place to potty. It has gotten so bad that I have spent the past 3 days with my back porch door wide open for her to go in and out as she pleased. I actually watched her come in from playing, run to my dining room and try to go poopy!!! I mean, what is up with that?!?! I took her out and she wanted back in to go. She will not even give me any sign of having to go out. I have to just take her at regular intervals. This doesn't help either. She will play around for 20-30 minutes and then come in and pee on teh carpet. I am so frustrated. Almost to the point of wanting to make her an outside dog or keep her in her x-pen until she learns. Any help???? Thanks!!!!!

Side note - she stays in her x=pen for about 9 hours a day, give or take, while we are all gone and she has NO messes. She does great! She can hold it in her crate if I put her there at night. Mostly I spoil her by letting her sleep in my bed. If she wakes up I take her out. If she plays outside and no potty, I put her in her crate. And she holds it. So, she respects "her space", why not mine? :(

19th December 2006, 03:20 AM
I dont have answers, but I feel your pain. I am going through the same thing with my Lily, although she is only 4 months. She will hold it in the crate. Take her out she will not poop, but 5 mins, after she comes in, poopy on the carpet. Made a little house for her today in my laundry room. Put her crate in there, pee pee pads, come home 5 hours later, pee pee pad dry, floor dry, crate dry. Take her out, she wee's comes in the house and poops. :yikes

19th December 2006, 03:44 AM
They're both still babies and are bound to have some bad periods mixed in with the good ones. Patience is a virtue...especially when you're cleaning up pee and poop several times a day. Trust me...I'm in the same boat!

When a pup slips back into a "bad" period, go back to confining him to a crate unless you're actively watching him. As soon as you release him from the crate, bring him out for a potty break. If he doesn't go, put him back in the crate for 10 minutes and start over again.

If he's not having accidents in the crate, increase his space to an ex-pen, but follow the same principles as the crate training. As soon as you take him out of the ex-pen, bring him outside to his designated potty spot. If he doesn't go, then it's back to the ex-pen. If he does, let him hang with you under your watchful eye. By only allowing him larger area privileges AFTER he relieves himself, you're setting him up to succeed, rather than fail.

When he's not having accidents in the ex-pen, straighten the pen to make a boundary line and increase his area to a room or half a room. Again, follow the same principles as the crate training - take him to the potty spot as soon as you release him from his "area." If he doesn't relieve himself, return him to the area where he's proven he won't soil it. Try again in 10 minutes.

Also, verbal "clues" or commands may help. I say "Get busy" when I get to the potty spot. And AS they're in the act of relieving themselves, I heap on the praise, say "Good busy" and slip them a kibble or two. Obviously, no rewards, praise or attention when they relieve themselves inside.

My biggest problem is that sometimes I can't tell which pup "did the deed" inside...which means I'm not watching them closely enough. Good luck...to us all!

murphy's mum
19th December 2006, 07:44 AM
Potty training can feel like a knighmare can't it? :roll:
When you say you leave the back door open, do you still go out with her? We noticed that Murphy never really went and did it if we weren't outside with him. He would just sniff and play about. :?
We had to go out and kept telling him to go pee, my neighbours thought we were crazy. But he will now pee on command :thmbsup:
I made the mistake of giving him the run of the house without supervision, this really set us back. It took ages to change his habit of pooping at the bottom of the stairs, even after he'd been out. He now gets a treat for going outside to poop.
He's 9 and a half month now, and he's great 98% o the time but we can still miss the signs and have the occasional accident :|
But chin up you will get there, it just takes time :D

19th December 2006, 12:55 PM
So, she respects "her space", why not mine?

Because you have only trained her to recognise those small areas of space as the areas she needs to keep clean. She doesn't see them as 'her' space but as 'your and our' space and you have successfully got her to keep herself clean in those tiny areas. But you need to start real training to extend her ability to see you want the same good behaviour in the whole house. A puppy or dog doesn't see a 'house' as a 'den' or as anywhere it needs to view differently from the grass outside or a boarding kennel run. Only you have the ability to train her to see it otherwise and this takes hard and consistent work. Most puppies naturally keep a small area clean because the mother taught them this is a whelping nest -- and this natural tendency is what you build on to extend that area of 'den' that they will keep clean. But just as the mother taught the pup to not go in the den area, so YOU have to teach her, gradually and without punishment but with constant supervision, that the house is to be kept clean as well. She will NOT make this connection on her own.

An 8 wk old puppy could simply never come to you housetrained -- this is the baby stage for dogs and the puppy will only just have begun to go on its own, outside the whelping nest! It is now just ready at this point to START the housetraining process.

Most dogs are only just beginning to become mostly reliable at 6 months and it is generally a year before they can be considered reliable. However you do get the occasional accident, still. :roll: Note that during all this time the pup is not meant to be having accidents indoors simply because it is not fully housetrained. Instead, what I am saying is that the OWNER needs to offer a very structured environment to the pup so that it never has the OPPORTUNITY to go inside.

Leaving a door open at this stage is expecting too much capability from a young pup. This is the equivalent of helping a toddler use a potty for a week or so then expecting the child top know to go use the toilet simply because the bathroom door is open. Puppies, like toddlers, have short memories and need practice, practice, practice, *in an adult's presence with adult supervision so they always 'get it right'*. :) Also, they easily start to unlearn what they have learned if no one is there reinforcing the right choices.

I'd recommend ordering Shirlee Kalstone's houstraining classic Housetraining a Dog in Seven Days and using her sample schedules and very structured programme to get back on the right track. I referred to this constantly during the training period just for encouragement and advice.

Generally you need to have Lily under your eye and closely supervised at ALL times. That may mean leashing her and tying her to a belt loop. Other than that she needs to be in her crate, at arm's length with you while she plays, asleep, in her crate, or on a lap. NO EXCEPTIONS. When it is time for pottying, put her ON A LEAD and take her out. Stand with her til she goes. If she doesn't go, then supervision as above. Every single time she goes in the house is a small step back, letting her know she has a choice of where to go. She needs to never have that choice and ALWAYS be set up for success -- going outside to praise and a treat -- but the owner has the total responsibility of creating that environment for success (just like a parent or a teacher!) exhausting as it can be. Punishment should never be used -- this only makes the dog learn that going in your presence is something you don;t seem to like, so she will choose to go when you aren;t around and aren;t looking, often in hidden places.

Also note that just because a dog is housetrained to one room does not mean (and won't mean!) the pup extends that one room to mean the whole house. You need to restrict her ability to roam around, especally NEVER EVER to be out of your sight and unsupervised. You need to keep doors closed and only slowly introduce new rooms to which you go through the whole repeat process of housetraining.

It takes time and effort to housetrain -- one reason why a lot of people get adult dogs after their one introductory puppy experience! :lol: -- but the day will come when Lily can be trusted in the house. :) When that moment comes will be entirely dependent on you, though, not on her. :thmbsup:

19th December 2006, 01:21 PM
We are still housetraining our puppy also. Here's what we have been doing. We have attached a bell to the door we want her to go out. We have been ringing the bell and saying, outside. We put her on the leash and take her to the same spot. Treat when she goes before we come in, so she connects outside and treats!

We do keep her on a schedule, if I know she has to go and hasn't back in the crate. We have had some accidents, but mostly they have been our fault by not waiting long enough or we have left her out of our sights for a second.

She holds it all night and we have left her for 5 hours a few times during the day.

I find having them on leash can guarantee that you know what they have done.

We feed the same times every day and watch the water intake.

Good Luck! We all need it!!!

19th December 2006, 03:02 PM
I truly appreciate all the words of advice! Let me clear a few things up on wha tI was saying and trying. Leaving the door open, okay, stupid idea. But, she has so much fun outside playing, but won't just stay out there alone. I had so much to do so I thought, let her play and plus she can use the potty out there! I am sure she went pee outside as I had no accidents inside. But the poop, another story!!! I am going to change some things I have been doing after reading all the notes.

For instance, she loves her x-pen and does very well in it. I hate to forbid her to be out of it, but you are all right, unsupervised is bad! And wrong of me. I am expecting too much. I knew she would have to be trained by us since 8 weeks was just the starting point of training when we got her. I knew what I was getting into. It amazes me that she can hold it for 8 hours at 6 months, but then once she is out of her pen it is every 5 minutes inside!!! Wow! So, I will have to confine her to her x-pen. At least till she learns. I guess we would be further along if I had done this all along. :sl*p:

So here is the actual plan. Please tell me if I have the idea down! :lol:

Keep her in her x-pen at all times unless she is sitting on the couch or somewhere with me. If I can let her into a larger area that is suprevised closely, then I will do so. This pretty much means she is confined due to the layout of our house. We have very open rooms and wide doorways. There is no way to block her off completely. But, I do plan on trying to find some large opening gates that I can put up. Anyone know where to get some? Okay, then of course when we are gone, she is in her pen. She does great with that. On occasion she manges to climb over it. I am not sure how, but she does it. On those rare times, she does mess in the house. Okay, stop here. Would it be better to use crate when not home and x-pen when I am??? Does it matter?? Now, the night thing. Should she be allowed to sleep with me? Or should I still be teaching her to hold it all night. Most of the time we are up at least once a night going out. That is if she is in my bed. If she is in her area then she usually makes it all night. She might wake and cry, but I don't run to her. Just like I did with my baby. I don't give in to that. :)

So, do I have the basic jist of it down?

I am tying here!!!!! This is so tiring. I truly feel like I did 12 years ago with a newborn!!!!! But I loved it then, and I love it now. I am already ready for another Cavi even while going through all of this. :)

19th December 2006, 03:22 PM
I think it's important to really get to know your dog and their potty schedule. For instance, when Kosmo was about 11 weeks old, I knew he would poo 4 times per day. One time early in the morning, once at about 12:00, once around 4 and once around 8. If he didn't take those 4 poops, I would bring him in for 5 minutes, take him out for 5 minutes, bring him in for 5 minutes, take him out for 5 minutes etc. We literally lived outside the first few months we had him but I do have to tell you that we managed to have less than 10 accidents in the house and that's from the time he was 11 weeks to now at 11 months. I learned his schedule and I made one for myself . . . we walked 2 or 3 times per day and he's NEVER gone potty even today without me being out there with him. It's a relief to me to know when he's gone and what he's done so I don't have to constantly worry about him.

Good luck! :flwr:

19th December 2006, 03:40 PM
Once you are confident the dog is trained not to go in the xpen, you can expand the dog's area to a single room when unsupervised. You may not be ready for this yet if the dog is escaping from the xpen and messing in the house, but adding one room at a time is the process.

If you have an open plan house (I do too) you can stretch an xpen out full (or use more than one together if the span requires it) to contain the dog in a single area. In my house, we stretched the expen and held it up with chairs. Eventually, when the dogs had the run of the main floor except for one room, we stretched a fitted bedsheet between two chairs across the opening. It was easier to put up and down than the xpen and it fit the space.

Add rooms slowly. If the dog has numerous accidents unsupervised in a new space, it's been added too soon. Take a step back to the smaller space for a longer time.

On a side note: If the dog is escaping from the xpen, have you looked to find a taller one? If you have the tallest available, using the crate when you're gone might be what you have to do. If the dog gets out and isnt house trained, those accidents conflict the training, making training a more difficult process.

19th December 2006, 03:53 PM
Cindy has some good advice there. Also many places have all sorts of extendable gates for doorways -- petedge.com; I got one from Target. Most of the various sites that have dog gates will have some extendable ones. An opened out xpen works well though. Remember this is not forever.

She is really at 6 months probably a bit old for anx-pen as a place to stay when you are out (hence she can climb out -- it is probably a bit boring and small for her as well). I really don't like crating for long trips out or a work day -- and also you need to crate train her as well if you want to use the crate for long periods. Are there no rooms that can be used as a place to stay when you are away -- a kitchen, a utility room, a spare room? Mine stayed in a bedroom or spare room without accidents from about age 6 months onwards. Once they are housetrained to that room they are fine.

Also a puppy this age should never be holding itself for 8 hours during daytime (sleep time is a different matter, at night, for reasons discussed in another thread recently). Not sure if you are referring to day or night. It is very unfair to a pup this age to hold it longer than 4-5 hours or so, regularly ( I don't even have my adults dogs hold it that long unless I am out of the house completely) though she could hold it abput 7 hours absolute maximum, and if you are there she should be taken out on structured, supervised breaks every 2-3 hours at this age and stage of housebreaking. :thmbsup: Also at 6 months you shouldn;t need to take her out at night -- usually that is only necessary the first couple of weeks for some puppies (Jaspar never needed to be taken out even at 8 wks so this varies, but certainly not at 6 months -- this is only an extra chore you certainly don't need! :))

BTW if she is pooping inside she is almost certainly weeing as well and you are not noticing it -- their wees are small and girls can do lots and lots of small wees. Every signle accident needs to be cleaned with a special enzymatic cleaner or a weak biological washing powder solution or she will keep going where she has gone because she can still smell those places if you only wash to get rid of what you can smell. Her smell is far keener.

I strongly recommend the Kalstone book as it will give you the structured approach to work on this.

19th December 2006, 07:43 PM
I have already ordered the book online. Thanks for that recommendation. I have some answers to the things you pointed out. They may help in seeing my situation clearer.
When I am talking wide doorways, I mean like 14 feet!!!! All the others I can close off or block somehow. This makes it so much fun for my 5 foot body to get around. I am always climbing over and falling!!! :) I am sure my family gets a good laugh out of it. I am in search of something to put in the large doorways. Right now I have folding tables all over the place lying on their sides. That is very difficult to get over for me!But I am sure I will find a solution soon.
She is 100% crate trained. Meaning, I only bought the pen after she was completely trained to her crate. She never has accidents in there. Nor does she have them in her x-pen. And she rarely escapes the pen. I would say out of every 30 times in there, she might get out once. I bought a 24 in. high one and I think I just need to get a taller one to keep away from that problem. She loves to be in there. She has a huge pillow and her bones and toys. Plus, I have 3 cats and 1 in particular always jumps in to play with Lily. :) I could put her in my bathroom which is quite large if I wanted to contain her while gone, but she really does very well in her current area. She starte dout being trained in the bathroom on puppy pads. And she used them for pees, but not poos. That was when I started using just the crate. And I really am impressed with how well she does in that situation.
As for how long she has to hold it for the day.... I work 40 minutes from home and my daughter is in 7th grade. So, when she leaves for school (after I am gone to work) she puts Lily up, and she is there till one of us get home. There is no way around that. I am certain others have to do the same with their puppies. There is no way for me to get home to let her out at lunch or anything like that. That is why I say I am proud of her for learning to hold it all day. She didn't get put in her crate until she had done very well being trained in the bathroom on puppy pads. And since she never messes the cage, she must be learning.
The night time thing. I know, I have spoiled her on that one. I have decided that as much as I like having in my bed, I will have to put her in her pen or crate at night for her to learn to sleep all night without breaks. The reason I put her in my bed is because she is alone for quite some time during the day and I feel bad making her be put up all night as well.
And don't get me wrong, she does wee inside!!! But when she spent those days playing out in the yard she didn't. She did wee outside, but came in to poo. I saw her do that. The little terd!
I clean really good when she does this though. I have a deep action steam cleaner and I use special solution to, hopefully, get the smell out. I am hoping it is working and not the reason she keeps going inside.
Did I clear some things up or just muddy the water more?

19th December 2006, 07:58 PM

I certainly hope you do not feel a need to defend your practices with your little one. We are simply offering advice and different strategies that might help you and your dog. Everyone does what they can, and it is clear that you love your pup tremendously!

As for struggling with the open plan design, perhaps you could adapt my earlier advice. With just a few chairs and some spare fitted sheets, you could easily create a barrier that the pup would probably respect. At the same time, it is flexible, which would allow you to easily step over or unhook temporarily as you move about. Even my full grown dogs respect the barrier of the bedsheet.

Remember, the concept of a room doesnt have to be the same here as we think of it in human terms. If there's a narrower area that is a different section of the house but not much more space for the dog, you can put a barrier there. Similarily, you can use furniture (such as the tables you mentioned) to help span space. I ran into these same issues with house training in an open plan home, and at first I was disappointed as all the fancy gates, etc., had to be screwed to walls. I have really nice wooden paneling and trims and I refused to screw into them. At first, I thought it was impossible: with such an open plan house there's no way I could restrict the dog without damaging my home! However, I realized that no house is impossible, and the barriers are temporary. Bedsheets and xpens can easily be moved for human movement as well as when guests come over, etc. It can be done with a bit of determination and creativity.

It is a frustrating time with a pup, but we also know that these little issues are not huge problems. The pup is a love and you are making progress. Its just time to take a step back, re-evaluate strategies, and try again. No big loss. It's all part of training.

Keep up the good work and know that you have a bunch of support on the boards.

19th December 2006, 08:05 PM
Please don't take anything I said as me being defensive. I was just trying to clarify that some situations, such as time spent in crates or pens, s unavoidable. Other things, like area, can be changed. I loved all the ideas and do plan to adapt some. I don't have any spare sheets, but guess what is on my list to go get this afternoon at the local Target!!!
I really, truly, appreciate all everyone is suggesting. That is why I asked. Some ideas I will not try becasue I know they won't work in my house, others, I am totally game for. My house is setup with barricades, man made, all over the place. I had a Christmas party Saturday and had to take it all down and put it all back up. I didn't want my guests to think I was nuts!!!!
Truly, thanks eveyone!!!!
On my way to the store.... :drivecar:

19th December 2006, 08:05 PM
Hello my friend on the panhandle...

I know what you are going through and sometimes when you think you have taken 2 steps forward, all of a sudden they leap backwards.

Duncan is going on 2 years and until last night I would have said 100% reliable. Last night I ran upstairs leaving them gated downstairs just to grab the laundry hamper and a Duncan sized pile was waiting for me. I swear he hasn't had an accident in MONTHS!!

Arthur is 7 months and still learning. He is great 80% of the time but if he can get out of site, he can go in seconds.

Duncan hasn't wee'ed inside since I can't remember when, but poo mistakes were touch and go until about a year to 14 months. Arthur seldom wees inside but it still known to on occasion and we have poo mistakes about once a week. They are our fault...mine for rushing around like mad 100% of the time and not paying enough attention and DH because he loves to let them outside and then not watch them :bang: and then doesn't know what they did. :bang:

Bottom line....we are all in the same boat here unless you are fortunate to be a stay at home puppy owner. It does get better and all of the advice here is wonderful!!

19th December 2006, 08:11 PM
My 8 panel ex-pen, when unhooked and fully extended, is 16 feet. And I use every inch of that to separate my kitchen/eating area from the rest of the house. We have a very open floor plan, too, so I know how hard it is to find a way to keep pups in one area...and out of another. The only bad part about my set up is twice that I've tripped when hopping over the pen. Besides bumps and bruises, the crashing pen has marred my hard wood floors and an interior wooden pillar. I get so mad ever time I see the gouges in the wood, but it's better than finding chewed rugs or furniture, or worrying about the pups getting injured...let alone finding accidents all over the place!

When I'm not home, they are in their crates. Luckily for me, and them, I'm home most of every day, so they're only crated when I'm running errands that I cannot bring them, and to sleep (12-8AM).

20th December 2006, 12:55 AM
So, I stretched out the x-pen and installed a new baby gate in my wide opening in the kitchen. As long as I keep the bedroom door off of the kitchen closed, and the baby gate up on the laundry room entrance, we are good. My cats are thoroughly confused as to all the barriers around, but they will get over it. Lily is staying in the kitchen area and she doesn't seem to mind. I caught her sniffing and ran her outside for a potty break. She went poo and I praised her. She was very excited to come in and get a treat. i need to take them out there with me as she seems to think she gets a treat for going outside, not for using the potty out there. We are on our way to success, I can feel it!!!!! Go Lily!!!!!!