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Hi everyone. I am a new dog owner, and do not have any previous experience to draw on so doing this by research, instinct, and prayer!

We have a 4 month old Yorkie Poo puppy that we have had since he was 7 weeks old. When we first got him, we thought we could keep him in the utility room once we removed everything from the space. (The space is 6X6 and to our dismay, too large to really contain a small dog.) We had the dog in the room with no success for just a week. He peed and pooped, barked like he was insane, and was not making any progress.

Pet smart and a few of the other dog owners in my neighborhood told me about crate training. So starting with week 2, I got him a med size wire crate and began making some progress.

Carter would whimper at first when going into crate, but now because he can see us he is fine in the crate. We play with him often and take him out of crate when he can be closely supervised. I have a few questions about what kind of progress I should be expecting:

1.He is 4 months old now and still has accidents sometimes in house and crate.

2.He is in crate alot still since he has not mastered potty training, but he is at 50% understanding he should go outside to do his business.

3. He is crated Mon- Fri from 9 to 4 pm which he is removed and played with as soon as we come home.

My concern is:

I don't know if he is crated too much. (He gets about 2 1/2 hours of exercise daily in the am and evening)

He will not poop in crate now.. he goes outside, and has only had 1 poop accident in the last 3 weeks. Lots of praise and feel optimistic he is "getting it"

I have been told I should not expect him to get even close to being fully potty trained til he is around 6 months or older, so in the meantime just need to know if I am doing this correctly.

Thanks a bunch!
 

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It's true that he won't be fully potty trained until at least 6 months, their bladders are not fully mature until this point. If he is still having accidents, it means he is not taken out enough. He should be taken out after very single activity; eating, naps, play time, etc. 7 hours is waaaay too long for a 4 month puppy to hold it in. Try to come home during lunch or have someone come in to take him out. It's bad for him to try to hold it in for that long, and it increases the chances of an accident. If you cannot come home, or cannot get someone to do it for you, consider using a pee pee pad or litter box for when he's alone for long periods of time. You can have him in an enclosed area like a play pen or the bathroom so he doesn't have many places to piddle. This way he can avoid messing his crate. You want his crate to be a great, safe, clean place to be. When you crate him, try giving him treats or a food stuff kong to make it even better. It's all about scheduling, if you get the scheduling right with the feedings, playtime, naps, and many many potty breaks, you'll find that you wouldn't have to crate him all the time. You'll still have to watch him like a hawk though, lol. Eventually he'll learn outside is for potty only, he probably knows already, but just cannot hold it in even if he wanted to.
 

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Hi Wicket. Thanks for a quick response. :) I fully understand Mon thru Fri is tough on him. When we are home, he gets potty breaks every half hour on schedule.

Mon thru Fri even all day, he does not poop, but pees a little and he does seem to understand as soon as we get home he will have the rest of his routine potty breaks.

I was wondering at this point if it would be confusing to him for me to put him in the utility room door closed while he is in crate with door open for more wiggle space? He is calm and does not bark when he is in crate, and I supsect he just sleeps most of day. When I used to try and contain him in the utility room, he did not like that at all but seems happier in a closed crate in the family room so I have been consistent.
 

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Is the utility room kinda cold and scary? It could just be the atmosphere that is making him unhappy. Having the closed door might make the enclosure seem almost like a prison. He probably likes the openness of the crate. Have you considered getting a ex-pen and putting it in the family room or kitchen? You can leave his crate in the ex-pen too so he can still retreat into it for a nap or something. It'll be a lot more open than the utility room, but he'll still be contained.
 

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I see what you are saying. My house has lots of natural light..all the rooms are bright and cheerful, so I don't think utility room is dark and scary. I know based on his breed, he is very social and craves attention so I think that is why being in the crate in an open room where he can see and be seen appeals so much to him. Will get ex pen tonight and see how that goes. Thank you so much and by the way your profile pic is adorable.
 

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Our pup is almost 5.5 months old now. About a week before he turned five months he suddenly decided he had bladder control and could ask when he needed to go out. Hasn't had an accident since - it's been amazing.

Hamilton is crate trained, but he is only in his crate overnight. During the day he's in an expen with water, treats, toys, bed etc... My husband comes home at lunch time to take him out and play with him a bit. When he was younger and couldn't wait overnight, or couldn't wait until lunch time, we had his crate, open, in the expen with a weewee pad down (which he taught himself to use, interestingly), and he'd go on that. He gradually stopped using the pads though, and instead began shredding them, at which point we took them away :p We kept the expen setup though because IMO, being crated overnight AND all day while we're at work is just too long. We knew he couldn't hold it, and didn't think it was fair for him not to have an alternative place to potty, so that he wouldn't be sitting in his own mess. He gets into things a lot though, so we want to make sure he's safe, hence the pen. We've never kept him crated or penned while we're home, except for brief moments when we couldn't supervise him. When he was very young we just took him out to potty every 20-30 minutes, and then gradually extended the time.
 

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You may want to get a dog walker to come around lunch time and let him out for a potty break, so he doesn't have to hold it all day. That might solve the problem.
 

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Hi and welcome! The two keys to potty training, in my opinion, are supervision and schedules. And, the goal for both of these is to PREVENT accidents. Wicket said if he's having accidents, he's not being taken out enough. I agree. In the early stages, potty training is much more about what the human does, than what the puppy does. Here's why: puppies don't have full physical control of their bladders til 6 months of age give or take. They don't even get consistent signals from their body that they need to go, when they're very young. So, it's up to you to make sure you get the puppy out every time they need to go, IN TIME! :)

So, supervise closely. I always say it's kind of like when human toddlers are learning to crawl or walk. Parents follow along behind them to make sure they are ok. It's the same with puppies who aren't fully house trained yet. If they are awake and moving, follow along, and be CLOSE to them, so that if they show signs of needing to go, or if they start to squat, you can rush them out. Luckily, puppies sleep alot, so you don't have to do this 24 hours a day. :)

The other part is schedules. Set a schedule, and take him out. Be strict about it. It's all about giving him more than enough opportunities to go outside. AND, beware of the "double pee" which is very common. Because the bladder isn't fully developed and in control, puppies often have a hard time emptying their bladders completely. So, they will go outside, and then again inside just a bit later.

As for crating, I never used a crate for the purpose of potty training. I DID use a crate for those times when I couldn't closely supervise the puppies. Other than that, I had the puppies out with the family, in our direct sight. I felt it was easier to watch them, learn their potty signals, and interrupt them if they started to pee/poop inside. If they are in crates, it's not always easy to see if they need to go, and not all puppies whine or bark to go out to potty.

If you feel you NEED to crate for potty training, try to cut back on the crating, and increase the supervised time out of the crate. But, make sure that supervision means you are right there within reach.

As for the utility room, you might try using a toddler/baby gate to block off the doorway, instead of shutting the door all the way. Some dogs/puppies don't do well with complete isolation, which is what shutting the door does. A baby gate allows them to see out. You can get extra tall baby gates OR you can put one on top of the other, to make it taller, if he can jump. :)
 

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I'm learning in this department as well but I agree with what doximommy said. I find that keeping the now 18wk old puppy with me at all times that I am home helps move the potty training along immensely. But the OP's problem is the 7 hour work day. That's going to set the potty training back a bit I would guess. (only a guess b/c I'm on my second puppy and am learning as well) I like the idea of pee pads in an expen attached to open crate. I put down a layer of vinyl flooring sample from Lowes, Home Depot and then put the ex pen on top. So I don't have pee on my hw floors.

I do like bell training for potty training. My 4.5 yo has been ringing the bell to go pee for couple of weeks (sporadically at first) and today rang it to go out and poop. Coolness. but he's still in the learning process and developing physically. So just b/c he can and will ring the bell if we happen to be near one doesn't mean he's potty trained. But it does help tremendously.
 

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NRB, you're right, the work day is still a problem, even if they don't crate when they're home. Funny how that sounded, the work day is a problem, right? My work days are almost over, summer break is coming and this teacher is looking forward to it! :)
Sorry, I digress.

Yes, you can't really potty train when you're not home. So, when you are home, make sure you are extra vigilant about potty training, and prevent accidents at all costs.

I really like your idea of putting vinyl down under the pen. The only thing I'm up in the air about is having pads in the pen. I mean, it sounds good, providing a spot for the pup to go, easier clean up, etc. BUT, sometimes you have a pup that gets accustomed to the pad being the right place to go, and then they have a harder time going outside. And, then, you have pups that think it's also ok to pee on anything remotely pad-like.
We used pads with our first pup, as we were in an apartment waiting for our house to be finished. Harper decided it was also ok to pee on door mats, throw rugs, bath mats, all that. :(

So, if you have the vinyl down, I'd just clean the vinyl, instead of pads. That way, you aren't encouraging pottying inside by putting pads down, you're just tolerating pottying inside while you're gone (because they're too young to hold it).
 

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I really like your idea of putting vinyl down under the pen. The only thing I'm up in the air about is having pads in the pen. I mean, it sounds good, providing a spot for the pup to go, easier clean up, etc. BUT, sometimes you have a pup that gets accustomed to the pad being the right place to go, and then they have a harder time going outside. And, then, you have pups that think it's also ok to pee on anything remotely pad-like.
We used pads with our first pup, as we were in an apartment waiting for our house to be finished. Harper decided it was also ok to pee on door mats, throw rugs, bath mats, all that. :(

So, if you have the vinyl down, I'd just clean the vinyl, instead of pads. That way, you aren't encouraging pottying inside by putting pads down, you're just tolerating pottying inside while you're gone (because they're too young to hold it).
I think we lucked out that Hamilton used the pads right away, then when he decided he didn't need them anymore, he just started shredding them and hasn't peed on things in the house otherwise.
 

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fwiw I never used pee pads... I used newspaper.... I wonder if that would prevent the peeing on every thing that looks like a pee pad issue? Of course then you have to wonder if the newspaper ever happens to fall onto the ground then will the pup pee on it?
 

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Hello and thanks for the response to my post. The ex pen is wonderful..Carter has some more wiggle room and he is also "speaking" (barking) when he needs a bathroom break. He won't soil crate and he goes on his potty patch in the ex pen.

Kim K
 
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