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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First time poster here, longtime dog owner, but we have our first puppy in years, and we're encountering a potty training behavior that I haven't dealt with before, so I am hoping folks here have some advice.

We have a 11 year old female bulldog, who is great. We recently got a 4 mo. old female GSD puppy, who is also great. We've had her for just over a month. She and the bully get along famously.

The puppy knows that going outside means time to do her business, and she generally does it quickly enough. She gets a lot of praise when she goes. When we first got her, she was having accidents in the house, and the vet said to strictly crate train her: no unsupervised activity in the house, she's either getting active attention or in the crate when inside, with regular trips outside for going potty.

We did that for a couple weeks, and she's gotten a lot better. With the crate training, it's obvious she can hold her bladder for 3 hours. She doesn't seem to have any problems with going outside. But she still has accidents inside the house.

I can take her out first thing in the morning, she has a good long pee, and after about 20 minutes back in the house, she'll pee somewhere. During crate training, I saw that she doesn't really need to go, but she will do it if she's out in the house and I'm not hawking her.

I don't want to train her to not hold it by taking her out every half hour. I don't punish her for making mistakes. If I catch her in the act, I say, "No! Outside!" and take her out, where she will often finish what she started. She will submission pee if I raise my voice at all, so I'm really quite restrained with her.

But for all she's learned about going outside, she still seems to take opportunities to go inside, even when I would think she couldn't have any need to (like having just gone outside). I'm a bit at a loss for how to stop the seemingly intentional mistakes in the house. Any advice anyone here might have would be appreciated.
 

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It's not an intentional mistake. Dogs don't develop the nerve and muscle control necessary to fully control their bladders until 6 months at the earliest. (And then with bigger breeds, you run into trouble during growth spurts where the dog gets bigger, producing more urine, but the bladder is slower to grow, so they have trouble holding it during these growth spurts.)

There's nothing you can do but take her out very, very often, praise successes, clean accidents with an enzymatic cleaner and be patient.
 

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I agree. Also, keep in mind that when dogs are crated they are inactive, usually napping, or lying quietly, chewing on a toy. When dogs are inactive, their body systems are different, their heart rate is lower, their breathing relaxes, their digestion even slows a bit. As a result, less urine is produced. So, any time a dog is asleep or crated, they will usually be able to hold it longer than when they are awake and active.

As Amaryllis said, puppies don't really have the control needed yet. Sometimes they don't even get signals from their bodies that they need to pee/poop, it seems to happen out of nowhere. So, keep your eyes on her, that way, if you see her signs, like sniffing around more than normal, or starting to squat, you can interrupt her and take her out.

And, beware the double pee. It's pretty common in puppies. Because they have limited control, they don't always empty their bladder the first time around, so they sometimes come back in and pee again. Either keep her out a bit longer, even after she's peed once, or watch her like a hawk when you bring her back in, so you can prevent accidents if she had a bit more pee in her bladder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks very much. It does make me suspect all of the "my dog was perfectly housebroken by 3mos old!" reports I see by trainers and other (better) dog owners... In any case, yes, she does double-pee quite often, and I'm very alert to that. She also seems to want to poop about 5-10 minutes after the first pee of the morning, so I'm on alert for that, too. It's the "half-hour after she peed a lake, she goes again inside" pees that have had me on the ropes. I've been worried if there was some sort of territoriality thing going on with our other dog, or something.

It's mostly mornings, where I have to take her out first thing, obviously, but then I have to get the kids ready for school. I can't exactly watch her 100%, yet I don't want to just immediately crate her again: that doesn't seem to be a good reward for having done her business outside like a good dog, and she's *really* not happy about going right back into the crate first thing in the morning five minutes after I've sprung her. She's ready for the day, she's happy and awake. I'm also trying to balance the "he always seems to be putting me in my crate; maybe I won't come when he calls me" thought that has obviously crossed her mind more than once, with the "every accident in the house is a reinforcing event" aspect of things.
 
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