View Full Version : 4 Month old puppy, potty training questions

3rd April 2012, 05:08 PM
Hey there everyone, I have a 4 month old puppy who I've had since 8 weeks. I've read everything about potty training, and have been very diligent since day one. However, he will still go in the house at every chance he gets, without warning. He has learnt the 'go potty' and 'go pee pee' commands and usually knows what to do when I take him outside, but I can't help but feel there's something I'm doing wrong. I understand that every puppy is different but I just wanted to ask roughly how long it took all of you to potty train your puppies? And also, if there's anything else I can do.

Thank you for your time and answers.

3rd April 2012, 09:32 PM
Hi .

How frequently are you taking him out to go potty? I have a 21 month old puppy and he has been housetrained since 4 months old no accidents. I took him out on the hour every hour during the day and after he had played and eaten too. Its hard work but its certainly paid off , 4 months is still young for him to know 'go potty' and get it right every time so you still need to be vigilant and make sure he goes out regular and gets plenty of praise when he goes outside. I bought a metal puppy pen and put it in the garden and everytime he goes out to the toilet I would pop him in it and he picks up the scent , it also means you can move it round the garden too. Make sure you get a pet disinfectant that deoderises the area when he goes inside so he removes the smell so hopefully he wont keep going. Its hard work but if you keep going out with him on a regular basis during the day and after play/meals he will soon learn the right place to go ...

Good Luck

4th April 2012, 04:13 AM
The trick is for the first several months to guarantee they don't get a chance. Like smarsden said, every hour on the hour and after eating, drinking, or playing. Also, if you can't have full attention on the pup, he needs to be confined to avoid an accident. Winston goes out in the morning first thing, comes in, has breakfast, chases a ball around for about 10 minutes and then back out we go. Once he eliminates in the yard, we go for a walk as a reward, get home, wait in the yard again at which point he will usually go, and back in the house. At this point, I have to get breakfast going for my little humans who are just now waking up, since the husband isn't likely to actually get out of bed for another half hour or so. Rather than popping him back in the crate for this, I secure his leash to the cabinet, he can stay close, I can keep an eye on him, and everyone is happy. After breakfast is cooked for kids, Winston goes back outside to go potty, comes in for a cuddle, and then goes to his crate with a stuffed Kong while I get the kids dressed and pack a lunch for the husband. About an hour later, back outside, come in for a game of tug of war and some fetch, outside again, back in the crate. Another hour, back outside, 20 minutes of training exercises, back in the crate. He's out the entire time the kids are napping because I can focus entirely on him, after nap we all go for a walk unless the weather is too unpleasant for the kids, in which case Winston and I will go alone when the husband gets home from work.

He never goes out and straight back to the crate, but he is always in the crate at some point between trips out. Most pups won't mess where they sleep, so it's an ideal safeguard when you can't be right there. With two toddlers who also require my attention, I can't be 100% focused on Winston at all times, and when I can't, I know he is safe and occupied happily chewing his Kong toys to pieces and resting.

4th April 2012, 12:47 PM
Hi, just to let you know, our puppy is 4 months old too and his potty training has been going up and down so I can sympathize and would like to offer my moral support! We live in an appartment so we are paper training. Some days we think we've finally made it, then I step in a little puddle!

Tails used to do 'stealth' pee pees with no warning whatsoever and at completely random times... but now he is finally falling into some recognizable patterns!

4th April 2012, 03:02 PM
However, he will still go in the house at every chance he gets, without warning.

Just about any puppy this age will–that's why house training is far more about close management than it is about training a command. A puppy this young will just go when it has to go. It will slowly learn to go outside, but puppies need you to be ready to get them out regularly, and also to keep them at all times within arms reach or within their crate, if you are using a crate for house training (as is highly recommended by most trainers).

In short, the answer to your problem is actually in the question–a puppy should not have the ability to go in the house every chance he gets, because he should be so closely supervised that he never has those chances, and is always set up for success! Your post suggests he is given too much freedom too early for his abilities and training level and age, and has the opportunity to wander around where he is not being carefully watched (he can go either without you noticing, or before you can reach him–neither should be happening under good management :thmbsup:. In other words, he needs to be taken out at very regular intervals, especially after he's been playing for a bit, after drinking, after a nap, after eating. Every single time he goes in the house is a half step backwards, so this is what you really want to avoid. You never want to punish either–this just encourages puppies to learn that what is wrong is going in front of you, not going in the house–they just do not have the conceptual framework to understand cause and effect in a more abstract way. If he is punished for going in the house, to him that just means he is punished because he went while you were there, and he will seek times to go when you aren't looking. But of course, there should never be a time when you aren't looking :) and there are many ways to safely and successfully manage puppies to help the house training process along and to speed it up considerably. (This is why it is very hard for people who work all day to take on a puppy–the chances are, they may never end up with a properly housetrained dog because the puppy never has the chance to be properly trained.)

To give a bit of a framework–4 months is very young–it is like expecting a toddler to have learned within a few tries to always use a potty chair. House training is a slow process full of mistakes where the correct response is to roll up a newspaper in hit ourselves over the head for having allowed our attention to lapse into live not seen that our puppy needed a trip outside. :) most dogs will be–with a successful house training program–fairly reliable by 6 to 7 months. Most will not be considered fully house trained until about a year old–every now and then they will have a little forgetful moment or relapse–often due to the fact that we forget they really need to get out to go, and they simply can't hold it any longer.

If you go into the training section here, every single one of those trainers has good advice on house training puppies. But I would also recommend immediately downloading the free book, After You Get Your Puppy by the well-known trainer Dr Ian Dunbar, here:


Not only will it give you excellent advice on how to successfully house train a dog without going crazy :), it also is an invaluable manual for every dog owner on puppy training, care, and behavior. There is no way anyone can end up with a problem dog, if they use this book! :D

Don't feel too bad–all of us have been there in your shoes with a puppy as we 1st learned how to house train, and some puppies can definitely take longer than others. One final thing to keep in mind– if a lot of fast pees are happening, especially on carpets etc, then it is always worth checking for a UTI (urinary tract infection) as then the issue cannot be solved by training or management -- it's a medical problem and needs a medical solution from your vet.

4th April 2012, 05:22 PM
...it is always worth checking for a UTI (urinary tract infection) as then the issue cannot be solved by training or management -- it's a medical problem and needs a medical solution from your vet.

I can vouch for this... Tails has just finished a course of treatment for a UTI. We spotted he was dribbling quite a lot and then trying to go... with nothing coming out... pretty much the same has a human UTI. He had to have 2 injections and a course of antibiotics but now he's back on track :-)

4th April 2012, 07:02 PM
We spotted he was dribbling quite a lot and then trying to go... with nothing coming out.

Well spotted! :)

So often a UTI/kidney infection is the issue with dogs and cats when they start to have toilet accidents. Female puppies tend to be a bit more prone.