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Toilet training advice please

(13 Posts)
BananaBeforeBed Mon 31-Mar-14 09:36:05

We have a 13 week old cockapoo and are struggling with his toilet training.

We have had him home for four weeks.

We use puppy pads and he got on fairly well with them, to the point we thought wr had cracked it, howeve, it is getting worse, not better.

He started giving us a signal by going near the door and whimpering, so we would let him out and about 90 per cent of the time we would have success. Great stuff. He seems to be losing this.

A good few times this week, however, he has given us no signal, and just spontaneously pees or poos.

If we accidentally let him upstairs we can guarantee a pee or poo, so we try to keep him downstairs where we are, rather than free roaming.

Most mornings we wake to accidents - this could just be he cannot last overnight yet, of course.

Yesterday was his first time out for a walk, and we are hoping that this regulates him, but have you any other advice?


Lilcamper Mon 31-Mar-14 11:20:32

You have discovered the problem with training pads. Once you have trained a pup to go on them you have to retrain them to go outside. This is the best toilet training advice around.

Toilet Training
By Sally Bradbury on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 10:52am
Toilet training is all about creating good habits. Young pups have very small bladders and very little bladder control so they need to be in the right place when nature calls.

To toilet train successfully in as short a time as possible you must take your puppy to the garden:

When they wake

After eating

After taking a drink

Before, during and after a period of activity

When you come in

Before you go out

Before bedtime

During the adverts

And every twenty to thirty minutes in between unless they are asleep. During periods of activity change that to every ten to twenty minutes.

Stay outside with your pup. Do not nag or distract him just mooch about and he will do the same and eventually eliminate. Quiet praise is sufficient. Once pup has eliminated you can either stay out and play or go back indoors. If you stay out for a game then he will often need to go again before you go back indoors so stop the game and stay out for a while longer to give him a chance to go again.

If you have to take him back in and he hasn’t eliminated outside then either confine him to his crate, sit him on your lap or tuck him under your arm (small breeds only) as you go about your chores and try again in five minutes.

It is imperative that you do this, especially if you have started off with newspaper down or puppy pads because your puppy may prefer to pee indoors and he could simply be waiting to be taken back in. Give him zero opportunity to go wrong.

If your puppy toilets in the house it is because you haven’t toilet trained him yet and didn’t take him outside when he needed to go. When this happens take a rolled up newspaper and hit yourself over the head whilst repeating the words “I forgot to watch my puppy. I forgot to watch my puppy” If your puppy laughs at you when you do this – praise him.

Common mistakes during toilet training.

Using newspaper or puppy training pads. Whilst it may aid the clearing up process it can be very confusing for the pup that is taught or permitted to toilet in the house to make the transition to going outside and will often result in a pup that when playing in the garden will simply hold on until they are back indoors because that is where the toilet is.

Leaving the door open. This does nothing to teach the pup to toilet outside only.

Reprimands for toileting in the house will result in a dog that believes you disapprove of what he did not where he did it and is damaging to your relationship with your pup.

Giving treats for toileting in the garden, again the dog is being rewarded for what he did not where he did it. Whilst this is not going to be as big a problem as the reprimand, the clever dog will learn to do lots of little wees and never fully empty their bladder. The insecure dog may wee indoors to appease you if you get cross about something else because they know that this is something that pleases you and gets rewarded. NB using both reprimands and rewards is very confusing for your pup.

Expecting your pup to tell you when he needs to go out. Once a pup understands that outside is where the toilet is then he may start to let you know he needs out. However if you are not there to ask or you fail to notice him asking then the housetraining will break down. Far better to have a dog go out to the toilet on your schedule once they are house trained.

Giving your pup an ensuite in his crate. Do not encourage your pup to toilet in his crate by putting puppy pads in there. If you have to leave puppy for a while and he is going to need to go then best to have the crate inside a larger pen or blocked off area and leave the crate door open so that he can get away from his bed to toilet.

N.B. Areas indoors where pup has had an accident are best cleaned with a dilute of biological washing powder. Avoid using disinfectant as this contains ammonia and can encourage pup to pee there again.


Young pups will need to go to the toilet once or twice in the night for anything from a few days to a few weeks.

If your pup is sleeping in a crate in the bedroom with you then they will wake and should let you know they need to go out. Carry pup to the garden to eliminate and then straight back to bed again. A few nights of this and it will take you longer to find your slippers because of sleep deprivation and consequently pup is learning to hold on and will soon be sleeping all night.

If you choose to leave puppy in the kitchen or utility room to sleep then do not shut them in a crate and simply clean up in the morning without comment.

Why punishment does not work for house training.

A typical morning in the life of an 8 week old pup.

7:00am Puppy pees in the garden – Owner present. Gets praised

7.30am Puppy pees in the kitchen – Owner present. Gets a reprimand

8:15am Puppy pees in the lounge – Owner not present. Nothing happens except relief

9:00am Puppy pees in the lounge – Owner present. Gets a reprimand

9:30 am Puppy pees in the kitchen – Owner not present. Nothing, just relief

11:00am Puppy pees in the garden – Owner doesn’t notice Just relief again

11:30am Puppy pees under the dining room table – Owner not present. Nothing happens

12:15pm Puppy pees in the garden – Owner present – gets praise

What we think we are teaching puppy is that it is good to pee in the garden and wrong to pee in the house but what the pup is actually learning is that sometimes it is rewarding to pee when the owner is present and sometimes it is dangerous. However it is always safe to go when the owner is not present and that so far the safest place is under the dining room table.

NOTE. - Never deny your dog water in the mistaken belief that this will aid toilet training. It won't. It will make the urine stronger, it may impact on your dog's health, i.e. cause kidney problems or urniary tract infections.if the dog drinks greedily and excessively when it is available knowing it will be taken away.Dogs must have clean fresh water available all of the time.

sighsloudly Mon 31-Mar-14 11:30:56

We have a cockerpoo too and he didn't really become 100% reliable until he was alot older and used to being taken for walks. i think sometimes we are too impatient with toddlers and puppies!

kilmuir Mon 31-Mar-14 11:42:53

Yes back to basics, no more pads.

insanityscatching Mon 31-Mar-14 13:03:31

We have a thirteen week old poodle shih tzu cross who is toilet trained following the advice Lilcamper posted. He was using puppy pads at the breeders but we decided to go cold turkey when we got him home. All accidents inside we cleaned up with no comment, every time he did it outside he got a lot of fuss. I think the last accident was about a fortnight ago which was dh's fault as he didn't unlock the door fast enough.
I'd follow the advice posted once you've binned the puppy pads tbh.

BananaBeforeBed Mon 31-Mar-14 19:01:05

Thanks guys - the pads are now gone. Wish us luck.

insanityscatching Mon 31-Mar-14 19:50:35

Good luck, oh and with hindsight choose a phrase that you won't be embarrassed to use out and about to prompt him to perform. I felt a real wally telling Eric to "pee pee" in a high pitched sing song voice when we were out of the confines of the garden hmm thankfully he has accepted "quickly" as well now smile

BananaBeforeBed Tue 01-Apr-14 08:12:18

We ditched the pads at noon yesterday. So far not a single accident!

And this is the fiest morning we've come downstairs and not dound a ouddle or a poo. Alleluia!

Early days yet, but your advice was spot on, thanks.

insanityscatching Tue 01-Apr-14 09:44:16

Great news grin well done to you both.

Biscuitorflake Tue 01-Apr-14 09:59:26

Insanity - what would be a good command?
I am worried that if I choose something everyone uses in every day life, the dog will suddenly do its business! Or does it not work like that really? [clueless dog owner to be]

insanityscatching Tue 01-Apr-14 10:33:29

I'm a pretty clueless dog owner of five weeks so hopefully an expert will be along soon. Quickly works here and having just tried saying it in the house it sent Eric to the back door to be let out to pee rather than prompted him to pee there and then.I suspect Eric is a pretty clever dog though and makes life easy for his clueless owner.

zeedogwhisperer Thu 03-Apr-14 16:19:39

Quite intelligent huh.. That's great, well done!

DEXXIE Fri 20-Jun-14 01:58:14

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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