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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there

I am trying to toilet train my lovely 4 month old cocker spaniel, however finding it difficult as I am temporarily living in a second floor flat / apartment (at least I think that is the issue, as he is very well behaved in other aspects).

Here is a summary of what happens and what I have tried...

- He goes to the toilet on puppy pads no problem (roughly 90% of the time with the odd accident)

- Although he is comfortable with his crate he sleeps in his own bed within my room, with access to a puppy pad, and usually within the night / very early morning I will hear him (or not) nip out to a puppy pad, or wake up to him having gone on a puppy pad

- I take him on a walk after every meal (very first thing in morning local, afternoon park, evening local)

- He does occasionally go toilet when taken to the park, for which I praise him heavily. He has never gone to the toilet on a walk around the block

- I do monitor him a lot, but it is difficult to pick him up mid flow and take him down two flights of stairs...!

I'd love some feedback to see if I am doing things correctly, and if there is anything else I can do to train him?

Thanks
 

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You will, I'd imagine want to teach him to go right away, so that you can take him for quick potty breaks, say, when you're short on time, or the weather's bad. Generally, the best way to get this is as follows.
Choose a time when your pup probably needs to pee, (as in, after a meal or play, and when he hasn't already gone on his puppy pad) and take him out on his leash. Stand in whatever area he's expected to pee, and be very boring. Don't let the puppy wander around sniffing, as he'll likely forget he needs to pee, and don't talk to him, as you want him to make the decision on his own, and also to avoid distracting him. So stay in one spot. The dog will likely sniff around the area, but he will stop after a bit, as there's only so much to smell in one spot. Eventually, (and this may be a while) if he really has to go, he will pee, at which point you should praise him and then allow him to sniff around a different spot, play with him, and/or take him for a walk. He should not be allowed to do anything fun upon going outside (taking his walk, exploring smells, playing, etc.) until after he potties.

You said it's hard to interrupt him and take him down 2 flights. Understandable, of course. Most dogs will exhibit subtle sign they're about to pee, try to figure out the signs, and take him out first. Also, he probably has some sort of "schedule", such as every day at 8:45, or 15 minutes after playing a game, or 10 minutes after eating. Something like that. Figure that out, and take him out (using those examples) at 8:44, 14 minutes after play, 9 minutes after eating, etc.

If he can "hold it" all night while crated, you might try this strategy: (if he can't, you may just have to wake up once during the night)
Crate him instead of leaving him on his bed. Once he needs to go out in the morning, (or night, as the case may be) immediately take him out- you may need to try carrying him outside if he tries to pee once you let him out of the crate. Once you get outside, by following the steps in the first paragraph, you should get him to pee. Since he's been waiting all night, he'll likely have to go, so it should be pretty quick. This gives him a chance to learn to go outside when he wakes up, not on a pad. You may try crating him during the day, too, (of course, not all the day) to encourage this same behavior at other times. He won't continue using potty pads if he never gets a chance. Of course, since that's a better alternative to going on the floor, you'll likely want to leave one out.

Some people bring dirty potty pads outside (gross, I know) when they go, to give the dog the smell, so he realizes this is where he's expected to go. You may find this helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You will, I'd imagine want to teach him to go right away, so that you can take him for quick potty breaks, say, when you're short on time, or the weather's bad. Generally, the best way to get this is as follows.
Choose a time when your pup probably needs to pee, (as in, after a meal or play, and when he hasn't already gone on his puppy pad) and take him out on his leash. Stand in whatever area he's expected to pee, and be very boring. Don't let the puppy wander around sniffing, as he'll likely forget he needs to pee, and don't talk to him, as you want him to make the decision on his own, and also to avoid distracting him. So stay in one spot. The dog will likely sniff around the area, but he will stop after a bit, as there's only so much to smell in one spot. Eventually, (and this may be a while) if he really has to go, he will pee, at which point you should praise him and then allow him to sniff around a different spot, play with him, and/or take him for a walk. He should not be allowed to do anything fun upon going outside (taking his walk, exploring smells, playing, etc.) until after he potties.

You said it's hard to interrupt him and take him down 2 flights. Understandable, of course. Most dogs will exhibit subtle sign they're about to pee, try to figure out the signs, and take him out first. Also, he probably has some sort of "schedule", such as every day at 8:45, or 15 minutes after playing a game, or 10 minutes after eating. Something like that. Figure that out, and take him out (using those examples) at 8:44, 14 minutes after play, 9 minutes after eating, etc.

If he can "hold it" all night while crated, you might try this strategy: (if he can't, you may just have to wake up once during the night)
Crate him instead of leaving him on his bed. Once he needs to go out in the morning, (or night, as the case may be) immediately take him out- you may need to try carrying him outside if he tries to pee once you let him out of the crate. Once you get outside, by following the steps in the first paragraph, you should get him to pee. Since he's been waiting all night, he'll likely have to go, so it should be pretty quick. This gives him a chance to learn to go outside when he wakes up, not on a pad. You may try crating him during the day, too, (of course, not all the day) to encourage this same behavior at other times. He won't continue using potty pads if he never gets a chance. Of course, since that's a better alternative to going on the floor, you'll likely want to leave one out.

Some people bring dirty potty pads outside (gross, I know) when they go, to give the dog the smell, so he realizes this is where he's expected to go. You may find this helpful.
Thanks so much for your help, I will give it a go :)
 
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