Need potty training advice, puppy keeps holding their pee
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Thread: Need potty training advice, puppy keeps holding their pee

  1. #1
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    Need potty training advice, puppy keeps holding their pee

    Hi All,

    I'm a new member looking for advice on training a 4 month old puppy that was adopted at 3 months. Things are generally going well aside from potty training. He has a decently sized play pen that contains his crate, food and pee pads in plastic enclosures and he doesn't have trouble pooping in the right area but seems to be holding his pee frequently. Common scenario is that I'll check on him in the morning and find poop to clean up but not signs of urine. Then I'll let him out of the play pen onto hard wood and almost immediately he let's a few drops go or this morning he dropped a few and as I was wiping it up he emptied his whole bladder over a lengthy pee that got big enough to cover all four paws. I also find that during an evening walk he will poop but will not pee until we're indoors and I've tried tripling the walking distance/time hoping that he won't be able to hold it but he always outlasts me and from what I can tell he didn't pee at all until this morning. There are still times when I come in and find that he did pee on the pee pad (usually on the edge between the pad and play pen, covering the pad and some floor) but in general it seems like he's holding it way too long. Hoping to get some guidance!
    Last edited by dmitriylm; 03-27-2019 at 09:49 AM.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member gingerkid's Avatar
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    Re: Need potty training advice, puppy keeps holding their pee

    First, make sure you're using an enzymatic cleaner like Nature's Miracle to clean up his accidents. (Other brands are fine, just make sure it says "enzymatic" on the label). Soak up the pee and then spray it, let it sit for a minute or two, and wipe it up.

    Second, at his age, it is really common for walks to be way too exciting/distracting to think about peeing! Before a walks, I would go stand in one, boring place (ideally where other dogs have peed) until he pees. Then praise him, tell him what a good, smart boy he is, and continue on your walk. (Really long walks aren't great for puppies his age anyway - repetitive motion, especially on a hard surface like concrete, can damage growing joints and cause problems later in life.)

    When you take him out of his pen, leave a leash on his collar, and watch him for the signs that he's going to start peeing, and when you see them (or he starts peeing) then take him outside immediately. If he starts to pee before you get to him - that's okay, just calmly move him outside to an appropriate spot as quickly as you can (leaving the leash on really facilitates this because you can just pick it up and guide him outside if he's too big to carry or too fast to catch). Once outside, stand in one (hopefully boring) and wait for him to start peeing again; then praise him while he's emptying his bladder. If you want, you can play his favourite game when he's done - tug or fetch or chase cookies - for a minute or two afterwards as a mini-party, and then go back inside.
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    Re: Need potty training advice, puppy keeps holding their pee

    I have never ever used pee pads. I bring my puppy out immediately after napping, eating and hard play. Also look for signs that he has to go and immediately whisk him outside and praise him profusely when he pees (or poops) outside. I think pee pads are counter intuitive.

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    Re: Need potty training advice, puppy keeps holding their pee

    Quote Originally Posted by gingerkid View Post
    First, make sure you're using an enzymatic cleaner like Nature's Miracle to clean up his accidents. (Other brands are fine, just make sure it says "enzymatic" on the label). Soak up the pee and then spray it, let it sit for a minute or two, and wipe it up.

    Second, at his age, it is really common for walks to be way too exciting/distracting to think about peeing! Before a walks, I would go stand in one, boring place (ideally where other dogs have peed) until he pees. Then praise him, tell him what a good, smart boy he is, and continue on your walk. (Really long walks aren't great for puppies his age anyway - repetitive motion, especially on a hard surface like concrete, can damage growing joints and cause problems later in life.)

    When you take him out of his pen, leave a leash on his collar, and watch him for the signs that he's going to start peeing, and when you see them (or he starts peeing) then take him outside immediately. If he starts to pee before you get to him - that's okay, just calmly move him outside to an appropriate spot as quickly as you can (leaving the leash on really facilitates this because you can just pick it up and guide him outside if he's too big to carry or too fast to catch). Once outside, stand in one (hopefully boring) and wait for him to start peeing again; then praise him while he's emptying his bladder. If you want, you can play his favourite game when he's done - tug or fetch or chase cookies - for a minute or two afterwards as a mini-party, and then go back inside.
    Thank you for the thoughtful reply, I'll take this into consideration.

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    Re: Need potty training advice, puppy keeps holding their pee

    Quote Originally Posted by emdh View Post
    I have never ever used pee pads. I bring my puppy out immediately after napping, eating and hard play. Also look for signs that he has to go and immediately whisk him outside and praise him profusely when he pees (or poops) outside. I think pee pads are counter intuitive.
    This is great for you but not relevant to my situation. Not using pee pads (or some other interior surface) is not an option.

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    Senior Member gingerkid's Avatar
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    Re: Need potty training advice, puppy keeps holding their pee

    Quote Originally Posted by emdh View Post
    I have never ever used pee pads. I bring my puppy out immediately after napping, eating and hard play. Also look for signs that he has to go and immediately whisk him outside and praise him profusely when he pees (or poops) outside. I think pee pads are counter intuitive.
    I used pee pads and had absolutely zero problems potty training my 11lb small dog (although I had to stop using them when she was about 12 weeks because they became a fun play toy). But the young, small dog was reliable in the house at a younger age than my 4yo who I didn't use pee pads for.
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    Re: Need potty training advice, puppy keeps holding their pee

    This seems like only a urination problem, but it’s really about a housebreaking issue. The designation “he” also applies to “her” because females have just as much of an urge to “mark.”

    Dogs urinate (1) out of instinct and (2) from discomfort (full bladder). A puppy “usually” goes after a long nap/sleep when offered a stimulating activity like being let out of a crate, or the x-pen, or introducing playtime. Also, after eating a significant (designated) meal.

    A dog’s natural behavior (for a maturing puppy) is wanting to pee as far from his “home base” as possible, because he’s learning to mark his territory. Home base can be his crate, or one side of the x-pen as opposed to the other side. But his strongest instinct will be to “mark” outside in the fresh air (since you’ve already introduced walking). The idea that a puppy “wants” to urinate on a “pee-pad” is only because the pad is supposed to be scented, but that’s not always a strong enough cue. You can buy “urine drops” but (unfortunately) apparent success (meaning on the pad) is actually a hit-or-miss situation. The only thing (most*) puppies don’t want to do is sleep in a pee puddle. That’s why crate training is the real secret. ** Means some dogs are naturally, inherently clean dogs, others not so much.

    Real housebreaking is based on control. Meaning *your* control over the puppy’s life and not the puppy disrupting yours. (Control isn’t about abuse or mean-spiritedness, and you’re not going to be damping your puppy’s natural spirit!) just introducing useful direction in his life. This is done through a routine, which means using a strict schedule. (And it's a LOT of work in the beginning, but pays off big time during his life).

    The ideal is to teach the puppy to go outside of your house. Dogs don’t distinguish between any kind of indoor surfaces (like flooring/rug/paper/pee-pads) but whether or not they are UNDER your roof, or out in open air. This is because a dog’s sense of smell is hundreds of time stronger. The outdoor scent is stimulating and a natural cue. But the puppy must also feel the urge to urinate. Otherwise it’s just happy time on a walk investigating everything out of curiosity! So the trick is deciding on how often the puppy **needs** to go! This depends on designated meal time, and napping/sleeping time preferences.

    I would designate an area outside in your yard (a 3 x 3 ft. or 4 by 4 ft. pen is enough). Else walk the puppy (on leash) in your yard, to a specific bush, vegetation patch, or grassy spot every SINGLE time, and to a space about that size. Only enough room so he can choose where to urinate. He does need a little exercise going back and forth in order to choose the right spot.

    Always go to the SAME spot. You are teaching that specific routine is about business first! Give the dog a specific time frame for doing business; you are building up urge! (I wouldn’t play with the puppy indoors again until he’s eliminated).

    Since the puppy seems to be able to hold it, I would crate train him. Which works if he can be given a chance to urinate for as late before bedtime as possible. AND as early as possible in the morning. During the night start with a 6 hour spread, but if he really whines horribly, he can be offered a urination break midway, ideally out to his same spot. Again it will be about that scent of fresh air, and not urinating where he “Dens”. After a trial time (a week), if he doesn’t go (of course) then he’s more likely able to sleep through the night.

    During the day, if he's being crate-trained (never leave him unattended!!) somebody is going to have to offer him a break mid-day, see above. Remember, play-time comes after successful elimination.

    The next part of the routine is about meal time. Puppies “mostly” always go within 30 minutes after they eat an offered meal (as opposed to free-feeding). Solid elimination happens about from 4 hrs. to 8 hrs. during the day. Always feed a breakfast at the same time (like 7am or whatever you choose). If kibble is always being offered during the day, then the breakfast meal could include canned food (to stimulate appetite). It should be yummy! If he learns to eat a larger offered meal, then he will become more regular both bowel and urination wise. Breeders usually feed the second offered meal around 4 pm. Giving plenty of time to eliminate before the night. Dogs/puppies usually drink a lot of water after mealtime. So again, the larger the offered meal, then the less snacking, and the more water consumed at designated times, which makes him more likely to urinate and poo when you expect it to happen. You can keep a log if that helps.

    Without the crate-training method, and just to get started, you may have to adjust your x-pen to a smaller area, only enough space for sleeping/resting versus where he eliminates. One large very, very scented pee-pad. Of course it’s only fair to be on hand to clean up frequently. But ... as he shifts more to the schedule of going successfully outside, then the more his x-pen area can be expanded, because he can be trusted more.

    Hint: you can use a friend’s dog (healthy, safe) to “charge” your designated outdoor elimination area! Else buy those urination drops. Male dogs usually like something to lift their leg against. A dog’s instinct is to over-mark any other dog’s scent (even their own). Give your puppy a cue for urination, like “go pee-pee” and exactly as he finishes (making sure he actually does!) then mark the behavior with a high-value treat (and a “good-boy!” in a very happy voice). Then you can proceed on your exercise walk, with no pressure on either of you! Let it be noted, that really intelligent dogs will use this routine for attention! The more they can get you outside, the better for them, so make sure the routine is being productive! Maybe your dog only needs 3 or 4 designated elimination breaks, about it’s trial and error.
    Last edited by Pacificsun; 04-03-2019 at 07:52 PM.

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    Member mustluvdogs66's Avatar
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    Most dogs do not want to pee in their den. They want that area to be clean. Honestly, I would get rid of the potty pads ASAP. Don’t use them unless you know you can’t let puppy out for many hours. The pads just become confusing for a puppy. Am I supposed to potty inside or not?
    As mentioned above, take puppy to one quiet area and wait for peeing.
    If puppy doesn’t go pee within 5-10 minutes, come inside, confine puppy to crate or pen for a 10-15 minutes, then go out and try again. Bring treats Outside with you so you can immediately reward for outside potty.
    I do not recommend leaving food down to graze on. If you don’t know when it’s going in, you won’t know when it’s coming out. Plus there are many other reasons not to free feed.
    Remember your puppy is still quite young. You’ll both get this soon! 👍
    Last edited by mustluvdogs66; 04-05-2019 at 03:09 PM.

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