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We have a 3 month old puppy that will just not take to potty training. No matter what we do, she just does not learn. Our current method is this: constantly watch her for when she has to go potty and then take her outside. Also, we take her outside about every hour. At night, she sleeps in our bed and when she gets up, we take her outside. We have bells attached to the door that leads outside where she goes potty. Most dogs learn to use the bells to tell their owner that they need let out. She does not. She gives no warning signal other than sniffing and dropping her butt to pee or poop. When we cannot watch her, we have her gated in the kitchen with her food and water and some toys. She has pooped in there too. When we leave her (which ends up being no more than 3 hours), she is in her crate. There is no issue there other than her separation anxiety (last time she ripped apart her bed in the crate).

When we catch her in the act, we grab her and get her outside. If she has already pooped, we take her over to it and tell her “bad” or “no.” Then we put her outside. When I take her outside, I always take her to the same spot. My command is always, “Go potty.” When she does go, I tell her “good job” and “good girl.” For a while, we were rewarding her with treats, but then it seemed like it made her poop more often and the poop would be runny. So we stopped with the treats. At night, she used to go to the bathroom at midnight and then would hold it until we woke up around 7 am. Now, it is like she has to go outside every hour to poop. If we do not hear her wake up at night, she will go in the bedroom or in the bathroom, since she does not warn us.

After this, I thought there was something wrong with her. I took a stool sample into the vet and they determined there was no issue. We have been using the same food from day one.

Tonight, I heard her get up each time. She walked toward the bathroom each time she got out of bed. The first couple of times I grab her and walk her outside to potty. The third time, I followed her into the bathroom to see what she would do. She started to poop! So I tell her “no,” grab her and take her outside. At this point, I am frustrated and exhausted because I feel like I cannot sleep. We ended up putting her in the kitchen with a pee pad on the floor. Problem is, with pee pads, she just seems to rip them up.

She is a smart dog and I know she knows it is wrong to pee and poop inside the house. We are getting to our wits end and are not sure what to do next. We cannot crate train her because when she is in her crate, she screams bloody murder until she sleeps. That would be too loud for our baby, plus I hate to hear the puppy cry and scream like that. Any suggestions?
 

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No, actually she doesn't know it's wrong to go in the house. She's a 12 week old puppy, just a baby, really. Are you mad that your baby still uses diapers?

Dogs don't even start to gain full physical control of their bladder/bowels until 6 months. Until then, it's all up to you. If she goes in the house, it's because you are not properly supervising her. She's not getting the signals that she needs to go until she's going. It's going to be another 3 months or so before that even starts happening.

Lots of dogs don't pick up on the bell by the door. Plenty do, and use it to tell you they'd like to go outside and play now. It's not a guaranteed thing.

DO NOT show her poop and tell her no. She has no idea how that poop got there, so from her perspective, poop makes you angry. This teaches her nothing. If she goes inside, tell yourself "no" and clean it up with an enzymatic cleaner like Nature's Miracle. Soap isn't enough. If she can still smell where it was, she'll think that's an appropriate place to go.

Also, if treats are making her poop runny, try different treats. Cooked chicken is a great treat, so is liver. Lots of dogs love carrots and potatoes and Cheerios.

You should not have her out at night. She's too young. Either crate her or put her in a small, closed off space. Puppies usually do shred the pads. Puppies chew everything.

As to the screaming, it's just like a human child throwing a tantrum. If you respond to it, you are teaching her that screaming is a good way to get out of the crate. Ignore it, and it'll go away. I would recommend crating her at night in your bedroom so she can see you. Being alone is terrifying for a small puppy.

You really just need to have patience.
 

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Welcome!

First off, congrats on the puppy and baby combo. Stock up on coffee and remember it won't be long before all is well.

Second, stick with the crate training. Consider it tough love, find somewhere for baby to stay for the night with mom in tow if needed, and let her scream it out. All pups go through this, totally normal. Hate to say it but at some point it's quite likely that your human baby will earn a time out and also scream bloody murder about it too, but that doesn't mean you'll rush them to go get ice cream so they stop, right? Use the crate, let the pup figure out screaming isn't going to make the door open and after a day or two of being consistant, she'll cut it out.

Take her out every 15 minutes during the day. Not every hour. Toss the bells out for now, just more things to confuse her little mind. If she doesn't go when taken out, keep track of the timing so you know when to expect her to go. After she eats, when she wakes up, take her out. If she's playing with you or a toy and suddenly gets up and walks off, take her out. Commercial break, take her out. You get the idea.... The more she's taken to the right spot the more likely she'll learn that she's supposed to go there to do her thing.

She is still quite young, so she may not do a lot of signs to say she has to go - but if you're taking her out constantly she'll get it quicker.

If she poops in the house, go to the spot and rub your nose firmly in it. It's more likely to teach you to watch her more closely and take her out more often than it is going to teach her that the poop in the house is a bad thing. Dogs don't reason like that, it only teaches her that you're a bit insane and that the poop must have been barking too much or something like that if you're telling the poop it's bad. Oh and you're odd for including her in the punishing of the poop, which still doesn't make sense because it's poop.

For treats if you use them, use SMALL bits of something. Half the size of a pea for example. Store bought treats are fine, just make them TINY. Use treats to teach her to come to you quickly, so when she starts to sniff (be glad, some dogs just squat on the run at first, she's sniffing, that's your cue!!!) you can get her attention with a 'hey puppy!' and give her a treat and then take her outside. The sudden 'hey puppy' will usually stop the potty process just long enough for you to scoot her out the door. The other thing to do is clean, clean clean the areas she's already gone in. Use vinegar or an enzyme cleaner so there's no smell. Her sniffing is her brain going 'I need to go, now where does it smell like the bathroom....' so remove the smell and start teaching her to come to you and get out the door quickly. You may also want to restrict where she goes in the house (gates) so she can't get too far away or onto carpet if it's an issue.

I don't use pee pads, with my last pup I did break down and use a litterbox in a pen for a while till she was a bit older, but for the most part I don't have an indoor dog bathroom at all. They come home at 8 weeks and the option is never there. I can't watch them, they go into a crate. Haven't gone in a while, we go for a walk to get things moving. Pup wanders off from what we're doing, we get outside as fast as we can.
 

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good advice, and there is much more if you look around the forum. Just one thing to add, are you feeding the pup on a schedule?? Feeding the dog dinner and then no more food, and take up water at 7pm or whatever works for you, with a walk or play in the evening to get the bowels going should help with all the pooping at night. Some dogs like tug or something as a reward, if you don't want to treat for potty, but I agree with the others, make it small but good and that should work. The bells would be something to maybe work on later, as a cue she needs to go out, but that would be much easier once she knows only to potty outside. If the dog rips up her blankets, just let her sleep with nothing in the crate, it will be fine until she calms down in there. put a chew toy or something else for her to chew on. there are many threads about crate training as well.Keep it up, I hope it gets better soon for you guys.
 

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Hang in there! It will get better! It just seems that you are expecting a lot of a 12 week old puppy.
Here's why: very young puppies don't get "signals" from their bodies that they need to go. It seems to happen out of nowhere. As they age, they start to get those signals, but not consistently, not every time. So, there will be times when it seems like it just sort of happens. She can't help that, she isn't physically mature enough yet.

Even when she does get the signals, there are other things going on, like the fact that her bladder won't physically be under her control til 6 months of age. So, she may know she has to go, but she may think she can hold it longer than she can. Here's a human example: parents ask todder "do you have to go potty?", todder says no, but 30 seconds later, she's peed her pants.

In the beginning, I always tell people potty training is more about the human, rather than the puppy. Since they don't always know they have to go, and can't really hold it well, it's your job to get her out. It's kind of a two part process: supervision and schedule, and it's all to PREVENT accidents. Because, the more you PREVENT accidents, and redirect her outside, the more she will start to think outside is the only choice, because you're taking away the other choices.

So, watch her super closely like you've been doing, only don't expect any huge signals. Like you said, sometimes it's just sniffing and dropping her butt. I know it's hard with a baby, too, but, when the puppy is awake and on the move, you should be right there with her. Otherwise, you run the risk of missing an accident, or not being close enough to get her out. Human example: when a baby is learning to crawl or even walk, parents tend to follow right along to make sure everything's ok.

Also, don't scold. As others have said, she really can't help it right now. Plus, punishing for accidents can create other problems, like a puppy that is afraid to pee/poop in front of you, or one that works really hard to hide their accidents.

Puppies don't really think of peeing or pooping inside as wrong, they don't have a concept that it's gross or anything like that. To them, it's natural, and if they gotta go, they go. If they show any reaction that LOOKS like guilt, it's actually an appeasement behavior. That't basically because she is reading your reaction or mood, and knows you're frustrated or angry, and she tries to show you "I'm a nice little puppy, please don't hurt me or be angry." Appeasement behaviors include: slinking low to the ground, looking down or away, hiding, cowering, etc.

I know, it's frustrating and requires lots of effort! Good luck!
 

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My pup just started signaling that he needed to go out about three weeks ago. He turned 5 months last week. Before then we found an interval in which he generally wouldn't go (at first it was 20-30 minutes) and took him out reliably at that interval. We gradually increased it when we found he wasn't going every time.

We taught him to ring a bell, which he started doing to go out to poop around 12 weeks, by teaching him the "touch" command, then teaching him to "touch" the bell before we went out. Now his preferred method is slamming the cat scratching post hanging on the back door doorknob against the door over and over again. (We don't have a bell there because we didn't take him out back via the back door until he could walk up and down the stairs by himself) We also always repeated, very happy, "Do you want to go OUT??" and "Let's go OUT!!" when we were going out to potty. After a while when you would ask him "Do you need to go OUT?" and if he did he'd get all excited and run to the gate. When he doesn't need to he just stares at you like you're dumb.

We brought our pup home at 8 weeks and figured out pretty quick that he would NOT be sleeping quietly in his crate! We started by putting his open crate in an expen, with toys, a pad, some water, and put him in there at night. He used the pads for a while, then when he decided he was a big boy and didn't need them anymore, he started shredding them. Once we went a month with no overnight accidents, we started shrinking the size of his pen, until it wasn't much bigger than his crate, then started closing him into the crate. The gradual transition worked well for us, and by the time he was in the crate with the door shut, he'd been sleeping in it for quite a while, so it wasn't unfamiliar or scary. Now he just gets one of his stuffed animals and his bed in there at night and he's fine all night.
 

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I agree with a lot of what others have said. The only area where I disagree is with the crate- they are not essential, and some dogs can't adapt. Maybe you can use an ex-pen? A little bit more space but still safe.
 

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Ok, if you have the time, I would love your comments on these issues...

1.) We keep her in the kitchen with gates up when we cannot keep on eye on her. It has her food and water and some toys. Similar to crate training, but more humane in my opinion. Only problems, are she cries when we are not in the room and she still does not tell us she has to potty. Are you saying put the crate in this area at night? Someone mentioned they should be in the same room as you at night while in their crate. Is that necessary too?

2.) When I take her outside, she stays with me for about a minute. Then she is off in the yard running and playing, not peeing or pooping. How do we get her to keep her focus on that rather than playing? What are your thoughts on an outside pen that we put her in when we think she has to potty? It limits her running off and getting distracted.

3.) I love playing with her in the house. How much time is too much? In reading about crate training tips (even though we are not crate training per se), it says not to have too much play time. Is this a bad thing?

Thanks for your input.
 

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Ok, if you have the time, I would love your comments on these issues...

1.) We keep her in the kitchen with gates up when we cannot keep on eye on her. It has her food and water and some toys. Similar to crate training, but more humane in my opinion. Only problems, are she cries when we are not in the room and she still does not tell us she has to potty. Are you saying put the crate in this area at night? Someone mentioned they should be in the same room as you at night while in their crate. Is that necessary too?
I think the bottom line on her not letting you know is that she is not at a developmental level where she is able to. She may not realize she needs to go, then HEY PEE! Surprise! It is your responsibility to take her out often enough -- not hers to tell you she needs to go. As far as crate location - we tried Hamilton upstairs with us and he hated it. He doesn't ever go upstairs, except he did at night to go to bed. When we moved him down to the room he spends most of his time in, he's been fine. If he's crying you can still hear him, but he doesn't generally cry. (Exception being if I'm home sick during the day and he KNOWS I'm home and in bed, he'll whine and cry for me for a while). With regards to the kitchen v. a pen v. a crate -- I think it's all about how much you feel like puppy proofing and cleaning up.

2.) When I take her outside, she stays with me for about a minute. Then she is off in the yard running and playing, not peeing or pooping. How do we get her to keep her focus on that rather than playing? What are your thoughts on an outside pen that we put her in when we think she has to potty? It limits her running off and getting distracted.
Put her on a leash. Take her to the spot you want her to potty, give her her potty command, once she goes, praise/treat/love, etc... THEN she can go off leash and go play. Potty first, play later. When we were more intensely training Hamilton, we went out front with him when we needed him to potty, and then took him out back off leash just for play. Now he knows he needs to go outside, so we're less specific about front or back.

3.) I love playing with her in the house. How much time is too much? In reading about crate training tips (even though we are not crate training per se), it says not to have too much play time. Is this a bad thing?
When we're home, all time is play time (or snuggle time or chew on toys time, etc...). Basically if we're home, Hamilton is out and about interacting with us. He always has been. When he was younger, we just paused more often for pee breaks. He also pottied less predictably when he was all worked up, so we had to be aware of that.
 

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Ok, if you have the time, I would love your comments on these issues...

1.) We keep her in the kitchen with gates up when we cannot keep on eye on her. It has her food and water and some toys. Similar to crate training, but more humane in my opinion. Only problems, are she cries when we are not in the room and she still does not tell us she has to potty. Are you saying put the crate in this area at night? Someone mentioned they should be in the same room as you at night while in their crate. Is that necessary too?

Nope, I'd keep her in your room at night. BUT, during the day, if you wanted, and if the crate is small enough to easily move, you could put the crate in the kitchen as well, so she can pee somewhere in the kitchen , if needed, but nap in the crate if she wants.
If you've put her in the kitchen because you can't keep your eye on her then you can't find fault with her for not telling you, since you're not there for her to tell. Some dogs don't make noise to tell you. My adult dogs will come and stand in front of me, but they don't make any noise.

Also, as Hambonez says, the part about not letting you know is because sometimes SHE doesn't even know until it's too late. So, right now, it's more about what YOU do than what SHE does. Don't wait for her to tell you, take her out on a super strict schedule, every hour or so, PLUS after she wakes up (even from a nap), after eating/drinking, and after playing/exercising. In addition, watch her for those in between times. And, if she has too many of those "in between times" it means you're not taking her out often enough. For instance, if you take her out every 1.5 hours, but she tends to need to go every 1.25 hours, then you need to start taking her out every 1.15 hours so you can get her out BEFORE it's an emergency.

2.) When I take her outside, she stays with me for about a minute. Then she is off in the yard running and playing, not peeing or pooping. How do we get her to keep her focus on that rather than playing? What are your thoughts on an outside pen that we put her in when we think she has to potty? It limits her running off and getting distracted.

Put her on a leash, so she has to stay with you. It's important for pups to learn the difference between potty time outside and play time outside.
-So, if you're out for the purpose of pottying, it should be all business. If she goes, you can praise her, give the treat, and then reward her with some fun time, if you want.
-BUT, if she doesn't go after about 5 minutes (on the leash) take her back in. When you take her back in watch her super, super carefully, because, as soon as you bring her back in she'll probably remember "HEY, wait a minute, I was supposed to potty and now I REALLY have to go NOW!" and she will go on the floor if you're not watching close enough.
-Basically, take her out for 5 minutes, if she doesn't go, take her in for 5 minutes, then back out for 5 minutes to try again. Alternate inside and out until she goes.

The thing is, if you allow her to run and explore when it's potty time, you'll have a hard time getting her to do her business outside. She'll play, and then have accidents inside when she remembers that she had to go.


3.) I love playing with her in the house. How much time is too much? In reading about crate training tips (even though we are not crate training per se), it says not to have too much play time. Is this a bad thing?

I never really used a crate except for when I couldn't keep my eyes on the puppies. Otherwise, they were out with us, under our supervision. I don't really know if there's such a thing as too much play time! Or cuddle time! But, seriously, it's also good to teach a puppy to be independent for those times when you need to get some housework or chores done, or when you have to leave the house. So, if your puppy is comfortable in the crate, it's good to give a kong, stuffed with peanut butter and then frozen, in the crate, and then go about your business for 15 minutes or so. The kong should keep the puppy busy, and let her know she can be happy playing and doing things on her own.

Thanks for your input.
My responses are in bold! Good luck!
 

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Patience is a virtue. My puppy does accidents to but after about two weeks she learned how to use the bathroom floor. She cries everytime she needs to go and the bathroom door is closed. You can do it. continue your puppy training. :)
 

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I am a dog trainer and service dog trainer I have a paper Secrets to Housebreaking that I can give you if you like it. If you do everything on that list you can have your puppy housebroken in 2-7 days. My service dog was housebroken in 4 days when she was 9 weeks old. You have to be persistent take her out every hour, on leash in house no full run of the house at all. Being on leash will help devope leadership she goes where you go. She can only be off leash when you trust her and she is housebroken. Crate her when you can't suppervise her. Crating helps with housebreaking. No sleeping in your bed that is showing her that you are no longer Alpha dog she needs to sleep on the floor on her bed or the crate especially when she isn't housebroken. When she is four months old take her out every 2 hours and increase with age. An older puppy can hold itself 3-4 hours. The way you can teach the puppy to ring the bells you have hanging on your door is. Teach the command touch put your hand in front of the bells. Everytime the puppy touches your hand priase and treat. Once she is doing that put you hand behind the bells give command touch and she bumps the bells with her nose to get to your hand praise her and treat. You are teaching her to work the bells. When you take her out have her touch your hand in front of the bells (eventually hand behind bells so she is bumping the bells) so eventually she will get the idea to ring the bell to her business.It will take time and training to bump the bell. When in crate no bed. You need to crate her more even when you are home it will help the separation anxiety and housebreaking. Feed her no later then 4 or 5pm. No water after feeding time. If she seems thirsty give her ice cub 1 or 2. Take her out before going to bed put her in her crate or tie her to your bed. You mentioned you can't crate train her because she is in her crate. Hate to tell you this but you are crate training her whenever you put her in her crate you are crate training her. You crate her during the day when unsupervised, leaving the house, and at night. Her crying and screaming will go away. She has to be quiet before you can leave her out (during the day) if you leave her out when she isn't quiet you are rewarding her for that behavior and she will do it more till she gets what she wants and that is getting out of the crate. Put the puppy and crate at night in your garage or basement at night so you don't hear her as much. she will settle down and get use to the crate know that is where she is to sleep. The screaming and crying is also from separation from her littermates which she will get over that in couple of days. If you like Secrets to Housebreaking I can send you that that will help you don't hesitate to email me.
jenelle
 
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