View Full Version : Detailed questions about potty training and housebreaking...

28th April 2008, 03:32 PM
Sorry. This message got posted twice somehow and I can't delete it!

28th April 2008, 11:21 PM
Both messages said they were duplicates -- but didn't have the actual message -- ?? I deleted one but then thought I'd better reply to this one and see if there's another complete message somewhere else, or if you wanted to add back your original question? :)

28th April 2008, 11:29 PM
Sorry about that! I guess I really messed up! Here is my original (and long) post!

Hi All,

I have a few questions regarding the finer points of potty training and housebreaking.

Meenah is 5 months old. I've been taking her outside about every 2 hours, every time she is released from her crate, and every time she "asks" to be let out by going to the door or just seeming restless. She goes most of the time I take her out. When I take her out, I take her to her spot and say "Go potty." When she squats, I say "Go potty." again to mark the action, then I keep praising by saying "Good girl." as she finishes up. When she is done I give her a treat. She even walks to me when she is done and sits there expectantly like she knows she's about to be treated. In the house, I keep her near me so I can watch her. I require her to be in her doggy bed in whatever room we are in and she is happy to hang out in her bed chewing a toy. I do not let her just wander around as I'm afraid she'll suddenly squat and pee or poo. If I cannot watch her, if I need to leave the house, or if I just need a break, I crate her.

So my questions are:
1. At 5 months old, am I taking her out too often and should I start waiting maybe three hours between potty outings?

2. Is it reasonable to expect her to hang out in her doggy bed when she isn't crated as opposed to allowing her to move around the room we're in? I feel like as long as she is in her bed, she is calm, manageable, and won't go potty.

3. I've been reading in the posts that you must housebreak to each room in your house and can't expect them to generally be housebroken. What does that mean? How do I housebreak her to each room?

4. How to do I start transitioning her to more freedom and not have to watch her all the time? Maybe the answer to this one is "when she is housebroken", but how do I know she is housebroken?

5. I've read that you should teach your dog to go potty on command. When I say "Go potty", I don't know whether she understands what I mean or whether she goes because she happens to need to. Sometimes, she doesn't squat at all but just plays or chews on sticks. I always have her on the leash and always take her to the same place. How do you teach to go on command and how do I know when she is going on command - will she try to go even if she doesn't need to? And if she squats but nothing comes out (this has happened several times), so I still praise her and give her a food treat?

6. Do dogs usually poo and pee in one outing? Meenah sometimes does both, but usually one or the other. She poops anywhere from one to four times a day.

7. Should I be using a different command for pooping? How would I do this?

8. For how long should I be giving her a food treat when she pees or poops? We've had her for 5 weeks and I've been treating her all along, but my husband says he just verbally praises her. However, I'm the one that takes her out 90% of the time.

I can't seem to find answers to these questions anywhere else. I appreciate any help you can give me! This is my first dog ever and being the exacting person that I am, I am so confused about these issues!


29th April 2008, 12:01 AM
OK, first off I'm going to again suggest buying Shirlee Kalstone's book on housetraining as it would answer all these questions, some of which need detailed answers. :thmbsup: It is very useful to have something you can go back and refer too as well.

Just briefly -- this is probably a too conservative approach now for her age (you are training her to need to go every two hours!) and also, it is a bit harsh to require a puppy to lie in a bed all the time in the house -- she will never become housetrained if she thinks her only options are going out to toilet or lie on a bed. She also need s a lot more daily activity than that; her playtime shouldn;t only be restricted to short sessions now and then. This is like asking a toddler to sit on a chair and play with a single toy. I'd worry that you would start getting behaviour problems as she must be suppressing a lot of energy and dealing with a lot of boredom for a puppy to focus on just chewing a toy most of the day. For specific questions:

1) You should be working towards 3-5 hours at this stage and varying the times so she doesn't learn to 'need' to pee every two or three hours.

2) I don't think this is reasonable, to be honest. Puppies are not calm and reasonable; they are lively, silly, troublesome, mischievous; and this is a precious time that will end so quickly and should be fun for both of you. She is not having a puppyhood right now -- she is being given the life of an old dog. Even my adults don't lie in a bed the entire time I am in a room -- they play, they chase a cat, they go look for toys. She needs a LOT more stimulation and activity, should be able to play and run and basically, you need to shape your time around allowing her to be a puppy. It's like asking small children to be quietly seen and not heard; to sit on a chair and do nothing. Indoor accidents are PART of the deal of getting a dog -- so what if she has a few mistakes? That is how she learns. If you have rugs down take them up so they don't get damaged. No one who owns a dog has a perfect carpet though. :lol:

3) Get the Kalstone book and that will help explain. As you are not letting her do anything in the rooms she isn't learning to normally move between rooms and become trained to ask to go out or whatever. Being in a bed isn't much different from crating, and just keeping a crate clean isn't the equivalent of being housetrained. Basically once she can wander around a room normally and most of the time NOT have mistakes she is getting housetrained to that room. Once she is generally reliable in one room, you then do the same process of taking her out etc for a second room (again this is why having her in a downstay in a bed is defeating the whole process of housetraining).

4) See Kalstone! But basically -- you need to houseTRAIN her which means letting her have a lot more activity with you supervising 100% of the time when she isn't crated, on your lap, in the bed etc. You need to give *active* focused time to this in other words -- not expect her remain immobile in designated areas so that you know she isn't relieving herself. That isn;t much fin for either of you. :thmbsup:

5) She is only a 5 month old puppy -- training takes time and patience. She will slowly absorb what a command for going potty means.

6) No, they don't always do both. They pee more than poop especially as they get older. Young puppies often do both. Adults generally only poop 1-3 times a day.

7) If you want. Just pick a word or phrase.

8 ) You don't need to treat every time but I treated every time til mine were fairly reliable, then only sometimes. Also always verbally praise. I still always praise. In general -- the better the reward the more focused the pup on doing what you want. Housetraining is very important -- hence I gave really nice treats for poops outside as that is what I really wanted them to learn asap!

29th April 2008, 06:12 PM
Thank you, Karlin, for your honest answers. I do appreciate it! As you can see, I just don't have the knack for dogs! But I'm trying.

I guess I should have explained myself a little better. Meenah isn't in her crate or in her bed all of the time. We're outside a lot. We go on two or three good walks a day plus run around in my fenced in backyard another two or three times a day. We play with balls, frisbees, and do training exercises. I also let her do plenty of the unstructured sniffing around that she likes to do. When the kids get home from school, they go out back with her and play some more. Its just inside the house that she is largely inactive. But I totally get your point - if I don't allow her freedom of movement in the house, she'll never learn to handle the freedom. Its funny - maybe I've gotten her so used to being in her bed or maybe she just likes it sooo much that when we are in the house, that is where she wants to be! Maybe all the outdoor activities we do with her just tires her out and she wants to rest when we come in. When we do play in the house, she always wants to run right back to her bed and I have to keep calling her over to me. And sometimes she'll just ignore me and stay in her bed! It seems like the only times she does want to roam around out of her bed is if someone is eating or cooking and she wants the food. She'll come right up to whoever is eating or cooking and look at them imploringly. When that doesn't get her anywhere, she starts sniffing the floor as if to hunt for food. Nevertheless, I will allow her more freedom (supervised of course) when she wants it.

I do have Shirley Kalstone's book on housebreaking and didn't find the answers to these questions but I will read it again. Maybe I'm just not getting it.

I'll work on increasing the time between potty outings. It somewhat naturally ended up being about every two hours with taking her out after crating, after napping, and when she wants to be let out. Sometimes, she'll "ask" to be let out an hour or less after having just gone. If she isn't asking and if she isn't just being let out of her crate, I'll try to increase the time. Everyone says something different! I've been told every hour, every two hours, every three hours... Its just so frustrating and confusing for a person who never grew up with dogs and has no natural feeling for this stuff.

Thanks again!

2nd May 2008, 06:28 PM
VShenoy, from reading your post it seems like your doing a good job of housetraining so far. In terms of the housetraining for each room thing, I've never had a problem with that with any dog I've owned. I always had their crates in the kitchen and confined them to the kitchen when they were puppies. When I felt that they were housetrained, I just let them roam free around the house. With positive reinforcement the puppy will learn that you want him to potty outside. I've never had a puppy misinterpret this as pertaining to a particular room or area in the home or even someone else's home.

2nd May 2008, 08:06 PM
i also think that you are doing a good job so far and putting alot of time and effort into trying to train the dog. I too like you have my first dog and was never that great with dogs and knew nothing about training them. Ruby is now nearly 6 months old and the housetraining thing was hard. I didnt do some of what i was advised here on this site. I got alot of good advise but as well you have to do as good as you can do. I didnt get a crate for ruby because i had her bed in the downstairs bathroom with a child safety gate up. I have her trained now in such a way that when she is in that room she will not wet or poo and if she is in i will bring her out every 2 or 3 hours. My husband laughs at me because all he can hear at the back door is go on ruby wee wee wee quick quick quick..Good girl. That happened to be what i was saying to her at the start when i was trying to train her and thats what i say now. I say that and she will do a wee and then i click my clicker and give her a treat and then start all over again. If she has a poo she will sniff around for a while and then go around in rings and do the poo. Yes i do say the same for a wee and a poo. I just start all over again. Say for instance if she does the wee and the poo at 9pm then when i bring her out before i go to bed she might not have the poo and just sit there looking at me???:confused: If she hasnt done a poo at this stage in approx ten minutes or so i know she doesnt have another poo. If she didnt do a poo at approx9pm then she will quite quickly do a poo shortly after she does the wee in the session before i go to bed. At the start i could be standing there for an hour at a time to get her to do the wee and poo but it has paid off now. I hope this answers some of your questions in lay mans terms as our dogs are close in age. I dont have her trained to each room. I bought that book that karlin says. It says that when the puppy has relieved itself outside properly, then you can leave her in, supervised, and watch her for approx 40 mins or so and she shouldnt do business inside. My mother has a king charles aged 8 and she did the training the old fashioned way with the paper, and as she got older she was just fine in the house. They wont need to go that often as they get older.... im not an expert,,,,,just telling you how im doing it. Next thing now is spaying !!!!!!..........??????:rolleyes:

5th May 2008, 07:47 PM
Thank you! Very useful information! And thank you for letting me know I'm on the right track!

I have been allowing her more freedom while inside the house. If she has just gone pee and has fairly recently gone poo, I let myself take my eyes off of her and just check on her every so often. In general she stays nearby and if she notices I'm checking on her, she'll come to wherever I am.

I'm trying to work towards Meenah going potty every three hours. Sometimes, she does. But more often than not, we just happen to be outside or she seems to want to go outside every two hours. Just today, she had peed at 11:30 am. I crated her at 11:45 because I had an appointment. I took her out of the crate at 12:30 pm and ordinarily I would have taken her straight to her potty spot since that's what I do whenever I spring her from her crate. But today, I took her on a walk instead. She didn't pee on the walk, even when I stopped to talk for several minutes with a friend. But as soon as we got into our backyard around 1pm, she peed before we were all the way to the potty spot, before I even gave the command. In fact, I was walking along and felt tension on the leash. I looked back to see that I was dragging her along as she was squatting and peeing! Now this was only 1.5 hours from the last time she had peed, but obviously she needed to go. If I had taken her straight into our house after the walk instead of the backyard, I wonder if she would have peed in my house.

I have been using "Go potty" as my all purpose phrase for pees and poops. I still use it when I first bring her out to her potty spot. I started using the phrase "Go poopies." when I see her pooping, to mark the action. Not sure if she is making the connection. She poops once or twice in the AM and sometimes once in the PM. So I don't quite know when to give the command. I mean, whether I give the command or not, I think she's going to do it if she needs to won't if she doesn't need to. For example, she usually pees around 8:15 am. This morning, I tried and tried and she stubbornly would not pee. She pooped though, but no pee. I tried again at around 8:40am after we walked the kids to the bus stopped and returned home. Again, no pee. Just sat and looked at me. We were outside for 5 minutes with no luck. Well I couldn't let her loose in the house, so I crated her for an hour and tried again. This time she peed.

I reread the Kalstone book. I think a little more sunk in.