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Toilet training woes!

(18 Posts)
freckles86 Thu 05-Oct-17 14:28:01


I'm sure this has been a popular grip with puppy owners but I really am at my wits end!

We got puppy 3 1/2 weeks ago at just over 8 weeks old. He's 12 weeks old tomorrow. He seems to be a pretty bright little thing but toilet training is turning into a disaster.

He's worse now than he was when we bought him home!

A little background:

He took to his crate straight away which we make good use of. He often chills out in there of his own accord and is happy to be in there for anything up to 2 hours max if I need to pop out (anything over that and he tends to be stressed when I get home, may have soiled etc). We were getting up with him once in the night for the first week or so and now, as long as we make sure he has a toilet break at 10pmish and back into his crate, he'll go through until 7am and then start to have a whine to be let out.

Toilet training WAS going really well. He was taking himself outside for poops (he figured out the catflap!) wee's we obviously had to be vigilant with and at most, we would have one wee in the house each day, the rest outside (with treats and lots of praise!). He never wee'd in his crate, unless he was left for too long which was very rare. He started whining on the odd occasion by the back door to be let out and would wee. We had gone a few days with no accidents at all. Don't get me wrong, I still understand that it was more down to us than him that he was dry indoors but we were really encouraged by the progress.

Sunday, everything changed. We had a bit of a lax day. Door left open for him to come and go as he pleases. Took our eye off him a lot. We were absorbed in finances etc so really took our attention off him. We had 3 accidents that day. I was frustrated but brushed it off as we knew it was our fault.

Saw our trainer on Monday who said we shouldn't be allowing constant access to the garden as it won't teach him the difference between in and out.

So we blocked the catflap (moggy, not so impressed!). Puppy complained and tried a few times but has given up trying to get out.

ALL WEEK has been dreadful for accidents. Pooing inside, weeing inside, all in different locations, never the same spot twice. He's pee'd in his crate several times and I'm beginning to lose my cool!

I'm still taking him out, after meals, drinks, sleeps, playtime, after being in crate etc and making sure that if he hadn't been in the last hour, he was taken out. My method hasn't changed, and yet he's totally regressed. He wasn't even this bad when we first got him. I took him out yesterday, hung about in the garden for 5 mins, bought him in, grabbed a sweet and within 30 seconds he had pee'd at my feet!

The only things I can think that have changed are:
- we stopped treating him (with cheese) last week as we were told "not to treat what comes naturally"
- we've blocked off the catflap so he doesn't have constant access

They may well be having an effect, but to such a degree?!?

He's previously just had free reign of downstairs, because we knew that if he hadn't been out for an hour, we could take him out and 9 times out of 10 he would go. Now he rarely goes when I take him out.

Now we're trying to get him used to a Pen but that won't stop him peeing inside, just limit where he does it.

Any words of wisdom? Magic wands to wave?

freckles86 Thu 05-Oct-17 14:31:32

As a side note, how do you guys use your crates for toilet training? Do I keep him in until he's done a wee so he can have some free time for say 45 mins, then put him back in? Leave him in there for 15 mins or until he wakes up if he's slept, then take him out for a wee, if he does a wee, free time, if not, back into crate for 5 mins, rinse and repeat? Or is that not the correct use for a crate?

CMOTDibbler Thu 05-Oct-17 14:40:03

I believe strongly in rewarding pups when they do what you want - but it does need to be consistent. So it's a yes to not using the catflap (and dogs shouldn't have unsupervised access to the garden anyway), but also a big yes to treating them and making a big happy fuss when they toilet in the right place

arousingcheer Thu 05-Oct-17 14:43:20

When he has accidents what do you do?

Are you fussing him a lot when he goes to the loo (in the right place)? Lots of high-pitched praise and fuss?

arousingcheer Thu 05-Oct-17 14:47:10

The important part in this process is getting him to understand that there are place to go to the loo and places to not go to the loo. When he understands that he will comply.
There are no magic wands but if it helps it's a skill it takes people years to learn. smile

freckles86 Thu 05-Oct-17 14:48:36

Yes, I do the whole high pitched (slightly crazy) "good boy" and give lots of cuddles and he used to get a teeny bit of cheese.

Maybe my praise is lacking all of a sudden - he used to pee then immediately look at me expectantly, waiting for the praise and cheese, now when I say good boy, he just kinda glances in my direction then finds something to do. Perhaps my enthusiasm has wavered without realising, will start making a gigantic idiotic fuss again and see if that helps...if I can get him to go for a pee outside that is!!!!

If he goes inside, I kind of rush to him, if I've caught him mid way I'll take him outside (where he doesn't finish!). If he's done the whole shebang, I huff and tidy it up, ignoring the pup as I go. Probably give a few disappointed grumbles along the way.

freckles86 Thu 05-Oct-17 14:50:53

Also, when we go out, I practically ignore him until he's done something. I used to stay out and play for a bit but now come straight back in.

He loves being outside though. Perhaps he learnt that peeing outside means he has to go in!? hmm

TeddyIsaHe Thu 05-Oct-17 14:51:26

Yes when training to toilet outside treat lots - loads of fuss and praise.

I think you need to go right back to basics, so taking him out every half an hour or so, praising if he goes. And also after every drink and every meal. If he starts to go in the house pick him up and take him outside straight away and praise if he even does a tiny bit outside. Don’t punish him for accidents, just be consistent with taking him out. Always supervised. It does take a while and it is time consuming, bu he should be pretty much house trained in a couple of weeks or so if you keep it up.

CornflakeHomunculus Thu 05-Oct-17 14:57:36

It's normal for toilet training progress to be a bit up and down, mostly because once they appear to be starting to catch on it's very easy to become complacent! I agree with going right back to basics with him, this guide to toilet training is well worth a read.

arousingcheer Thu 05-Oct-17 15:06:19

Any kind of drama around accidents (even if you aren't punishing him) may make him feel uneasy around eliminating in general, which can lead to them doing it in secret (ie not going to the loo on walks, coming home and finding a secret place in the house to do it), which is an even harder habit to break. And use an enzyme cleaner so he can't smell where he's had an accident before.

You may be right about coming home immediately after he does his stuff. If he likes being out maybe keep him out a bit longer and play with him after he goes.

We adopted an elderly dog who used to walk down the road, go to the loo and turn around to walk back, which is how we twigged that he was never walked for fun, just to eliminate.

It won't last forever op. Good luck.

BLUEsNewSpringWatch Thu 05-Oct-17 16:12:30

Don't huff and puff or grumble or even think for goodness sake (your body language will show that your not happy) - it will make him unwilling to go in front of you, which then means he won't wee outside for you to praise him there because he'll think he needs to go and hide to eliminate.

Secondly don't just bring pup inside as soon as he's been. That just teaches him that eliminating ends his fun outside! Which is effectively a punishment for weeing outside/doing what you actually wanted him to do. When mine are pups I only bring in if they don't go (I carry them around, have them on my lap or pop in crate, then go out a few mins later). If they do eliminate, then (after a fuss for doing it) I play a game, let them have a run around and then bring in.

BLUEsNewSpringWatch Thu 05-Oct-17 16:19:08

We adopted an elderly dog who used to walk down the road, go to the loo and turn around to walk back, which is how we twigged that he was never walked for fun, just to eliminate

sad poor dog.

Minidoghugs Thu 05-Oct-17 16:23:50

Good advice here. I don't agree that you "shouldn't reward what comes naturally" you are rewarding him for going in the right place. Its a good idea to have a nice game after he goes before going back in it is another reward for him and will hopefully calm him down a bit when you go in.

MGKROCKS Thu 05-Oct-17 16:36:47

I've just read the guide to toilet training...I've a tiny wee cross doggie,who's 6 months,we found nothing worked for months with toilet training,untill I started rewarding her with tiny training treats one for each time she wees or poos outside .the advice I read was always don't reward as they should learn to do it naturally,but I wish I'd rewarded her from day one,for going outside.shes a mixture of breeds ,with some pug in there,greedly little rat will do anything for a treat...

arousingcheer Thu 05-Oct-17 16:38:15

BLUEsNewSpringWatch lol don't feel too bad for him, he was very resistant to 'recreational' walks and by that time he had arthritis/stiff hips so it may have been a gradual cutting back on walks over time. He was very keen on jumping in the car (any car) and was most relaxed in the pub so I suspect he was often driven to his local. His owner was elderly and eventually died (that's how we ended up with the dog) so it may have been that he himself was not very mobile.

The dog's favourite hobbies were eating, sleeping on 'his' sofa (well away from us) and weeing in the hallway (a habit we were never able to break). We scattered his ashes near his old house (address from his microchip documents) and there was a lovely park just across the road so it may be that he just didn't have to go very far to have his walks.

arousingcheer Thu 05-Oct-17 16:44:00

PS. OP I just remembered when I lived in a flat I used to reward my dog for going out and coming in quickly (eg last wee before bed). I said 'quick quick' and she'd shoot out, do a wee and shoot back in again, even for a little bit of cracker and praise. She was older by then and already housetrained. Just agreeing w pp that a little treat might be just the thing.

I think it's a little harsh to say they must learn 'natually'. You give him praise, why not a little treat if it is helping?

I know a couple who were told by their hv not to do something they were doing when the child woke in the night (can't remember details) and three years later they'd never had a full night's sleep. Advice is fine and good, but if it isn't working you may need to try something different. Everyone is different. Unless I am missing some crucial detail (cheese is giving puppy the runs or similar) I can't see the harm - ?

YoureAnArseholeDenise Thu 05-Oct-17 16:56:25

I think you have to be a bit careful making too much fuss of them when they toilet. You think you’re praising them for weeing outside. They think you’re praising them for weeing full stop.

In the same way that punishing a puppy for weeing in the house can make it reluctant to wee in front of you anywhere.

freckles86 Fri 06-Oct-17 15:35:06

Thanks for all of your advice. We seem to be getting back on top of things. I've started using his crate more (i.e around the time he's due a Wee, I'll take him out, if no wee within a few mins I pop him in his crate until I take him out again - once he's pee'd he gets free roaming time again). I've also started treating again and playing ball for a few mins afterwards as a reward.

I think I just got too complacent and started dropping everything that was working without really realising it!

I'll continue to make a fuss outside and ignore anything that goes on inside.

I also wonder if he was starting to pick up on my stress - previously, I didn't bat an eye if he pee'd inside, just shrugged it off, cleaned it up and tried again next time. I started getting more and more dismayed when he went inside which perhaps caused even more accidents.

A combination of everything no doubt.

Must. Relax.

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