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Discussion Starter #1
My puppy is 5 1/2 months and has mastered going outside on the balcony (to her designated area) to do her business. She will hold it all night and for prolonged periods in her crate with no problems, and when she roams free during the day she will sit by the door to be let out when she needs to go. Marvellous!

But now I'd like to raise the stakes and get her only (or chiefly) going when she's taken on her walks. Right now if she's left too long by the door she will go on the carpet instead, so...not perfect. It's a bit of an on-demand system, and we have to be watching her constantly if we want to have the door closed (she doesn't make a sounds and she won't wait that long before she plumps for option number two: go by the door).

My question is - how do I go about training her to wait longer? Do I have to go back to crate training? Or is she still too young to be holding it between (two, maybe three) walks a day? My concern is as she gets older and we take her out and about more, she'll need to learn to hack it when there is no bathroom area immediately available (e.g. a friend's apartment with no yard). Any ideas on how to push things along?

Thanks in advance for your help! Always appreciated :)
 

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Take her outside and praise her when she goes. 2 or 3 times is far too little for a puppy. I would aim for more like 8-10 potty trips outside per day( even more in the beginning since you need to re-train her). She will be able to hold it in time, but right now it's physically impossible for her to do it for the timeframe that you are considering. Also, keep in mind you're not training her to hold it, you're training her to eliminate outside. So once she understands what you want from her, she will wait till she gets to an appropriate area in order to eliminate, as much as she can. I wouldn't wait for her to alert that she wants to go out, but I would be proactive and take her out at regular intervals. By the time you actually take her out after she alerts, she may have already gone on the floor.

My adult dog will go outside 3-4 times a day. If I take her more often that than, she will do her business almost every time because she now knows where it's appropriate for her to go and will go if she feels the need to do so.
 

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2-3 times a day is a BARE minimum for a fully grown adult dog (I would even argue that 2 is not enough), most people give at least 5-6 opportunities per day- for a puppy you're going to need more simply because they can't physically hold it as long.

It sounds like you've got a good system going, but I think you just need to adjust your end goal expectations a little bit to something more realistic. Keep in mind that asking them to hold it too long can cause UTI's.
 

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I wouldn't take any dog out only 2-3 times a day. Maybe 3 times if I was at work all day, but 2 times is not enough. And at her age, she just doesn't have the bladder control for that.

There's really nothing you can do to force her to have better bladder control. Keep letting her out often enough to prevent accidents, and gradually push out the time as she is successful. If she's not successful, you waited too long.
 

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Yeah you can't really "train" a puppy to hold it. It's more about teaching them what to do when they have to go, and then until they develop the bladder control to apply that, just take them out as frequently as they need.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks, all, for the prompt and wonderful advice!

I will adjust my immediate and my long term goals - I certainly don't want to her to be uncomfortable, and seeing as I usually work from home (in sunny So Cal, with the balcony doors wide open) there's no need to deprive her of what she needs. I suppose right now it's more an issue of making sure she's outdoors whenever she needs to go and reinforcing her for eliminating on these walks, much like training her to go on the balcony in the first place. She's just so quick to learn, and seems to have no problem holding it for longer periods of time in her bed or in her crate, that I forget she is a little baby dog whose body still does most of the decision-making.

Any ideas for getting her to signal a little more strongly that she needs to go outside? If the door is closed she'll pad silently to the door and look back at me, so if my eyes are elsewhere for a few minutes I don't think it's that she's so desperate that she can't hold it any more, it just seems like the next most logical step is to eliminate where she is. If she needs to poop she will whine to be let out before going with the carpet (absolute last resort!), which helps. I would like eventually to be able to take her to other buildings or even to work without having to run outside every ten minutes to see if she needs to go, as opposed to crating her whenever I go out, but I realise she's too young for this right now. I suppose I'm just wondering how to get from here to there, and if it's just a matter of her growing up or if there's something I could be working on with her while she's still young.
 

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You can get a bell that you hang from the door and train her to ding it when she needs to go out. You start this by using your verbal "outside" command coupled with a tap on the bell every time you let the pup out. Eventually they start to connect the bell with going out to potty and start ringing it themselves. We had a dog growing up who essentially taught herself this trick by learning to tap the hanging door lock chain because that obviously always clinked when the door was opened. We're starting this now with our current puppy and the bells cost us maybe $10 on Amazon or I'm sure you can get a bell and some string from a craft store for even cheaper.
 

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I use a bell (or rather my dog does!) with great success. There are, however, pros and cons to this method which have both been discussed at length on this forum in other threads. For me, it works great and I love it. For others, maybe not so much. If it's something that interests you, you can try it out and see how you feel about it and come to your own conclusions.
 

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Some dogs will use the bell, some won't, some will use the bell to go outside, lol. Generally speaking, with adult dogs if you keep them on a reasonably schedule, they'll be okay, barring illness.
 

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I take mine out on a fairly regular schedule, so they don't really need to tell me when they have to go out. I did find that as they got older (over a year) they had subtle signals: one stared into my soul and the other got restless (maybe not so subtle, but it took me a few days to connect the dots).
 

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I'm mostly a stay at home but even when I worked, I let the dogs out when they wanted.
Keep in mind, if your dog is by the door & you wait to long and she pottys on the rug, it's not her fault. With puppies, you should always have your eyes on them or put them in a crate, in an Xpen or tethered to you.
 
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