How to Litter Box Train a Chihuahua Puppy

Medium
2-5 Months
General

Introduction

Imagine having all the joys of owning a dog but with the convenience of not having to take her outside to go to the bathroom. Does that sound too good to be true? 

Although your Chihuahua will still want and need to be taken outside for exercise, you may prefer to not have to take your dog outside to use the bathroom. If you live up several flights of stairs in a big city, having a dog that can use a litter box is very convenient. If you have to be gone for long hours during the day at times and do not have someone to take your dog outside to go to the bathroom, having a dog trained to use a litter box can be essential. Perhaps you are older or have physical limitations that make it hard for you to get outside frequently; litter box training might be a huge help for you.

Many people utilize pee pads to train dogs to eliminate inside the home, but some dogs will confuse the soft fabric of the pee pads with other soft, absorbent materials in your home, such as an expensive living room rug or doormat. Using a litter box instead helps your dog to differentiate between his toilet area and the rest of your home. The rest of your home likely does not contain litter or gravel, after all. Litter can also be cheaper than pee pads, and you can purchase varieties of litter that mask the smell of poop and pee.

Defining Tasks

Litter box training is not functional for all breeds of dogs, but since your Chihuahua is small and will not grow to be too large later, litter box training can work wonderfully for him. After all, many Chihuahuas grow to be no larger than your average sized cat, and most litter boxes were designed for that exact size.

Expect this to take between two and five months for your Chihuahua to learn. He may learn to eliminate in the box sooner, but it will take him time to remember to go there when you are not helping him. It is very important to remain consistent while training this. The more accidents that your puppy has in your home, the longer and harder this will be to teach. Your consistency, attentiveness, and hard work will pay off with quicker training results.

Be careful not to give your Chihuahua any unsupervised freedom. It is extremely important that you watch him closely any time that he is free, and that you place him somewhere such as an exercise pen or crate when you cannot watch him. This is because the more that he is unsupervised, the more opportunities he will have for an accident to occur, and you will not be there to interrupt him and to show him where to go instead. Your puppy likely will not remember what he did once the incidence has passed, so any punishment after the fact will be ineffective. Simply pay closer attention next time.

Remember to be patient with your puppy. He does not understand what the difference between your rug and the litter box is. That is why you are showing him where to go, closely supervising him when he is free, and rewarding him for eliminating in the correct place. Because he is small, it will take him time to remember where the litter box is located and how to get there. To you it is just on the other side of the room, but to him, it is entirely out of sight and there are lots of obstacles in his path. This is why it is important to have him follow you to the box while he is learning. Eventually, he will memorize how to get there on his own and remember that it is there when he cannot see it.

Getting Started

To get started you will need lots of small treats. If your puppy is very food motivated, then you can simply use pieces of his own dog food in place of treats. You will need a litter box with the top removed and litter. If you are using the 'Scent' method then you will need at least four litter boxes, and possibly more if your home is very large. If you are using the 'Exercise Pen' method or the 'Scent' method, you will need a scent to add to the litter to encourage your puppy to eliminate while he is learning. For this you can either purchase a spray designed specifically for encouraging elimination or you can place your puppy's own poop in the litter box.

If you are using the 'Exercise Pen' method then you will also need an exercise pen or another enclosed area. Good options for an area are hallways or small bathrooms enclosed with baby gates so that your dog can still see out. You will need a non-absorbent bed to place in the enclosed area. Good options include foam pads that are covered with vinyl or nylon or raised cot-type beds. For both the 'Exercise Pen' method and the 'Crate Training' method, you will need hollow, food-stuffed chew toys, such as kibble-stuffed Kong toys. These toys can be stuffed with your dog's kibble, soaked in water until the water is absorbed, and then placed in a bag in the freezer to freeze overnight. They can also be stuffed with dry kibble and the opening partially covered with a larger treat, so that the food will come out slowly. If you are using the 'Crate Training' method, you will also need a leash for your puppy.

With all of the methods you will need consistency, patience, perseverance, attentiveness, and at times, a good sense of humor. Remember that your Chihuahua will not be a puppy forever. Enjoy the time spent training with him now. Before you know it, he will be fully potty trained and using the litter box on his own.

The Exercise Pen Method

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Step
1
Set up area
To begin, set up an enclosed area for your puppy to stay in. You can either use a size-appropriate exercise pen or you can block off a small room or area in your home using baby gates. Good options might be a half bathroom or a hallway. Place a non absorbent bed inside your puppy's area. Good options for non absorbent beds include foam beds that are covered with vinyl or nylon, or cot-type beds. Place several interesting toys inside the area, such as food-stuffed Kongs. Place your puppy's litter box without a top on it, filled two thirds of the way with litter, inside the enclosed area. Place the litter box away from your puppy's eating and sleeping spots. Remove any absorbent material, including mats and rugs, from the enclosed area. It is also important to choose a non-carpeted area for the puppy's room.
Step
2
Add scent
Add a scent that will encourage elimination, to the litter box. To do this, you can either purchase a spray designed specifically for encouraging elimination and spray the spray onto the litter. You can also pick up one of your puppy's poops with a plastic bag, place the poop onto the litter in the litter box, and then discard the plastic bag. Be sure to wash your hands after doing so. If using the spray, spray the litter three times a day for several days, until your puppy begins to eliminate there consistently. If using your puppy's poop, then when your puppy eliminates, leave one of the poops in the litter box at all times to encourage future elimination. You will want to continue to clean up all of the other pees and poops in the box though, to prevent your litter box from becoming so dirty that you puppy will avoid it.
Step
3
Pay attention
When you are at home, pay attention to your puppy when he is in the enclosed area. If you see him eliminate in the litter box, then right after he finishes eliminating, calmly praise him and offer him a treat.
Step
4
Test things
After two weeks of spraying or leaving a poop in the litter box, if your puppy is consistently using the litter box and is not having any accidents in other places inside of the enclosed area, then try removing the poop and stopping the spraying. If your puppy continues to use only the litter box for eliminating, then you no longer need to add scent to it. If your puppy has an accident and eliminates outside of the litter box, then continue using scent for two more weeks, then after those two weeks try removing the scent again. Do this until your puppy only eliminates in the litter box.
Step
5
Increase enclosure size
When your puppy no longer needs the scent and has been using the litter box with no accidents for at least one month, then you can experiment with gradually increasing your puppy's enclosure size. Increase the enclosure size no more than two times the current size at a time. For example, if your puppy is using an exercise pen set up in your kitchen as an enclosure, then double the size of the enclosure by blocking off the openings in part of the kitchen, then allow your puppy to have freedom in that part of the kitchen. If your puppy does well with that, then you can allow your puppy to have freedom in the entire kitchen area. If your puppy does well with that, then you can include both the kitchen and the dinning room in your puppy's enclosed area. Do this until you have worked up to as much freedom as you wish for your puppy to have in your home. If you puppy has any accidents, then the freedom was too soon. Go back to the previous area size that your puppy was successful in, and practice there for longer before increasing the size again.
Step
6
Add a second box
If your home is very large and you find that your puppy has accidents when he is located far from the litter box, even though he seems to understand the concept well and has worked up to lots of freedom in your home, then you may need to add a second litter box in the far part of your home, to help your puppy find an appropriate place to eliminate when he is in that part of your house.
Recommend training method?

The Scent Method

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Step
1
Set up litter boxes
To begin, purchase at least four litter boxes, remove the tops, fill them two thirds of the way full with litter, and place them in four different areas in your home. You want every section of your home to have a litter box that is close enough for your puppy to see or at least easily remember where it is. If you home is very large, it is best to focus on only one level of your home at a time and block off the other sections. If your home is carpeted, then you will need to block off the carpeted areas as much as possible until your puppy begins to prefer eliminating in the litter boxes.
Step
2
Add scent
Add scent to each litter box to encourage your puppy to eliminate there. To do this, you can purchase a spray from your local pet store designed to encourage your puppy to pee or poop, and spray the boxes at least three times a day. You can also add scent by placing one of your dog's poops in each litter box. When your puppy poops in the box, leave the fresh poop and clean up the old one each time. Always clean up pee.
Step
3
Reward
Every two hours, encourage your puppy over to a litter box. Praise your puppy for sniffing, touching, or stepping into the box. If your puppy seems fearful of the box, then offer him a treat whenever he explores the box. Only offer a treat for exploring the box if you puppy is afraid though. If your puppy chooses to eliminate in the box after smelling it, then softly praise him, and when he finishes, offer him two treats, one at a time. Be careful to keep your voice soft and kind when you praise him, so that you do not distract him or scare him.
Step
4
Give supervised freedom
If your puppy does not eliminate in the litter box when you bring him there, supervise him in your home for the next thirty minutes. After thirty minutes, encourage him back over to the box. If you are using the spray and he seems distracted whenever he is in the litter box, then you can reapply the spray while he is still outside of the box. If he still will not go, then repeat this process every thirty minutes until he goes.
Step
5
Watch carefully
While your puppy is free, watch him carefully for signs that he is about to eliminate. This is especially important if it has been more than two hours since he last pooped or peed. Signs that your puppy needs to go can include: circling an area, sniffing the ground, squatting, lifting a leg, whining, pawing at you, barking at you, or trying to sneak away in order to eliminate out of your sight. If your puppy does any of those, quickly, but gently so as not to scare him, pick him up and carry him over to the litter box and place him inside it. If he eliminates there, praise him softly, and when he finishes offer him two treats, one at a time.
Step
6
Repeat
Continue to bring your puppy over to the litter box every two hours, until your puppy will occasionally go over to the box to eliminate on his own. If he goes on his own, follow him over quietly and reward him when he finishes. When your puppy begins to go on his own, then change the frequency of your trips taking him, from every two hours to every two and a half hours. If your puppy continues to be accident-free, and even increases the frequency of his trips to the box by himself, then increase the time between taking him to every three hours. If your puppy begins to have accidents at any point, then reduce the time between your trips by thirty minutes, until your puppy is making progress again.
Step
7
Remove boxes
When your puppy is consistently going to the bathroom on his own, then eliminate one of the litter boxes and space the other three slightly closer to where the removed box was. Choose the box that your puppy tends to go to the least. If your puppy does well going to the remaining boxes, then, after one month, remove another box, and space the remain two closer to where the removed box previously was. If your puppy does well going to the remaining two boxes without any accidents, then you can try removing the second box, so that there is only one box left. If your home is very large, then your puppy might need more than one box. If this is the case, then you will want to leave two litter boxes, with one litter box on each level or in each section of your home. That way your small dog does not have to go too far to find one.
Step
8
Add rooms
If your home is large and you blocked off areas earlier, then you can now include those areas in your puppy's space if you wish for your puppy to go there. To do this, gradually add the space from those blocked areas back into the rest of your home, where your puppy has been spending his time. A good way to do this is to move a baby gate farther and farther into the blocked space. or to add one new room at a time, until you have eventually added all of the rooms that you wish for your puppy to go in. Make sure to keep this process gradual so that your puppy can practice going back to the litter box to eliminate from those new areas, and does not eliminate in the new space.
Recommend training method?

The Crate Training Method

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Step
1
Introduce the crate
To begin, introduce your puppy to the crate by leaving the door open to the crate and placing lots of treats inside of and in front of the crate for your puppy to find. Do this often so that your puppy will go into the crate frequently to check for treats. When your puppy is comfortable going into the crate, then stuff a hollow chew toy, such as a Kong, with kibble and place the toy inside of the crate for your puppy to chew. While your puppy is eating the food out of the Kong, close the door to the crate. Open the door again when your puppy finishes eating and is being quiet. If your puppy starts to cry, wait until he is quiet for at least three seconds before opening the door.
Step
2
Increase crate time
When your puppy is comfortable having the crate door closed behind him, then leave the door closed for gradually longer periods of time. Increase the amount of time by five minute increments as your puppy does well with the current amount of confinement. When your puppy has finished eating the food out of the Kong, then drop a treat into the crate every five minutes while your puppy is being quiet. Do this until your puppy can remain calm in the crate for thirty minutes.
Step
3
Space out the treats
When your puppy can remain calm in his crate for up to thirty minutes, then gradually extend the time between treat rewards. Do this until your puppy is only receiving a treat once every thirty minutes. When your puppy has reached this point, then gradually increase the amount of crate time again. Repeat the process of increasing crate time, then increasing time between treat rewards, until your puppy can remain calmly in his crate alone for up to one and a half hours. Always provide your puppy with interesting and safe chew toys whenever you place him in the crate though.
Step
4
Set up the litter box
When your puppy can remain in his crate for up to one and a half hours, then set up your litter box in an area where your puppy will be able to easily access it and remember its location in the future. If your box has a top, then remove the top. Also ensure that your box is not placed on anything absorbent, such as carpeting or a floor mat. If your box is placed on something absorbent then your puppy may be tempted to eliminate there instead.
Step
5
Introduce the litter box
Bring your puppy over to the litter box and praise him whenever he sniffs it, touches it, or walks into it. If he seems afraid, then give him a treat for any efforts at investigating it. Only give treats at this stage if your puppy is afraid though. Do this until your puppy will go into the litter box without fear.
Step
6
Crate your puppy
Leave your puppy in his crate for one and a half hours. After that time has passed, take your puppy out of the crate and attach a leash. Quickly walk your puppy over to the litter box and encourage him to step into it, or gently place him in it. Tell him "Go potty" while he is standing in it, and then stand still. Allow him to sniff the litter box and decide to go to the bathroom. Use the leash to keep him from exiting the box.
Step
7
Reward
If your puppy goes, then praise him when he finishes, and offer him three treats, one at a time. While his bladder is empty you can allow him forty-five minutes of supervised crate-free time in your home. After the forty-five minutes pass, then place him back into the crate until the one and half hour mark, then after one half hours, repeat the process of walking him over to the litter box. If your puppy does not go when you take him to the litter box, then take him back to the crate, and place him inside for thirty more minutes. After thirty minutes has passed, then bring him to the litter box to try again. Repeat this process until your puppy will eliminate in the litter box.
Step
8
Increase time
When your puppy will consistently go potty in the litter box quickly when you tell him to 'go potty', then gradually increase the amount of time between potty breaks to two hours. When your puppy is doing well for two hours between litter box trips, then gradually increase the amount of free time that you give him after eliminating. Do this until he is able to be free for the entire two hours. If he has an accident, then reduce the amount of free time by thirty minutes and practice that for at least two weeks before trying again if he is accident-free.
Step
9
Increase time again
If your puppy has been accident-free for at least three weeks, then gradually increase the amount of time between potty breaks, as well as supervised free time, to three hours. If at any point you cannot supervise your puppy, place him into his crate. If your puppy has any accidents, then decrease the amount of time by at least thirty minutes, until your puppy is having no more accidents. Practice at those times for at least three weeks before trying to increase the time again. Most puppies can only hold their bladder for the number of their age in months plus one. So if your puppy is three months old, then the maximum amount of time that your puppy will be able to go between breaks is four hours. Never exceed your puppy's maximum number of hours during the day, even while crating him, or he will be forced to eliminate in his crate.
Step
10
Encourage independence
If your puppy begins to go to the litter box on his own to eliminate while he is free, then follow him over there and when he finishes eliminating, praise him and offer him a treat. Continue to take him to the litter box every three hours until your puppy will go on his own every time. When your puppy will go on his own every time and he is no longer having any accidents in your home, then your puppy has successfully learned to use the litter box. He no longer needs you to go with him. Congratulations!
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
julio
Chihuahua
18 Months
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Question
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julio
Chihuahua
18 Months

I adopted by dog at 14 months of age and have been training him to go outside to the bathroom. as he is small, he has trouble sleeping through the night and it is disrupted my sleep. is it too late to train him to use a litter box or would this confuse him?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Momo, It is definitely not too late to train Julio. Because he has already been trained to go potty outside, you might want to train him to use the litter box outside first by walking him over to it on leash and following the same potty training process that you did to train him to pee outside in the first place. I would also purchase a potty encouraging spray, such as "Go Here", "Puppy Training Spray", or "Hurry Spray" and spray it on the litter box right before you encourage him to go potty to make the area smell like somewhere he should pee. Once he will go potty in the litter box while it is outside when you take him over to it, then begin one of the methods to train him how to use the litter box while he is inside also. Make sure that you choose a particular, obvious location to place the litter box in and keep it in that same location anytime that you want him to use it. You want him to learn to go potty in the box in a particular location and not just anywhere in the house. If he learns that peeing in that one location is alright but does not learn to pee in multiple locations throughout the house, then he is less likely to have any accidents. After he is trained to go potty in the litter box, continue to take him outside to pee the majority of the time so that he will continue telling you when he needs to go outside. The main drawback to litter box training for you will probably be not always having it with you when you travel places with him. You will need to reward him more for going potty outside and encourage him to tell you when he needs to go out, even when he has the litter box. You will need to do this so that he will not have accidents when you travel and he cannot find a litter box. When you travel, if he is used to alerting you when he needs to go, then he should simply ask you to go outside, instead of have an accident when there is not a litter box present. Another option is to bring a litter box with you when you travel. Once he is trained to pee in the litter box well enough to consistently go to it at night, then you might want to only use the litter box at night, take him outside to go potty during the day, and hide the litter box during the day, to keep his outdoor potty training stronger than his litter box training. Placing him in an Exercise Pen at night, with a bed on one end and the litter box on the other end, should help him to go potty there since it will be close to him. Otherwise you will still need to take him to go potty in the litter box during the night until he is trained well enough to find the box in the house during the night on his own. You may have to take him to the box at night at first anyway, but you should be able to switch to the Exercise Pen as soon as he associates the box with peeing, and then you can remove the exercise pen completely and just leave the litter box if he has proven during the day that he will go over to it on his own to pee. Make sure that you actually use one of the methods to litter box train him during the day. Do not expect him to simply go to it and pee in it on his own without being taught. Litter box training is just like outdoor potty training. You have to take the dog there, encourage him to go, reward him when he does, and keep him on a schedule until he learns to alert you or go there himself. Do not use Pee Pads for him at any point or you probably will have issues with accidents when he cannot find a Pad. Pee Pads are made out of fabric and look like rugs, carpet, shirts, and other fabric item to many dogs. A dog that cannot find a Pee Pad will often choose the next closest thing, like your shirt, instead of wait to go outside. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Belmont
chihuahua mix
16 Weeks
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Question
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Belmont
chihuahua mix
16 Weeks

Hi,
I am having a difficult time training my puppy to use pee-pads. We have sectioned off a small portion of the kitchen for him (about 3.5 ft by 2.5') for him to be in while we are away at work. He has food and water, a few toys, a towel for him to lay on and a scented pee-pad to use while we are gone.
He has gotten very good at being walked outside. We walk him every morning as soon as we wake up, in the afternoon as soon as we get home, and again after dinner in the evening. However, it looks like he will only eliminate on the pad if he can no longer hold it. There are days where we will come home and he will not have used it at all. Then, when we walk him, he eliminates easily.

we have a pad set up in every room of the house so he has a place to go if needed, but he will instead go on the tile.

The pads are scented with an attractant and i spray additional attractant on them as well. We reward him when we observe him eliminate on the pad. We have taken a pad and absorbed some of his own pee so it has his scent, but he will not get used to it.

Is it possible that having him get used to eliminating outside on grass 3 times a day is confusing him to use the pads?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Chris, He is actually doing exactly what he should be doing in terms of instinct. Pee pads are made of fabric and many dogs associate them with carpet or rugs, so they try to avoid peeing on them in an effort to be good and not have what they view as an accident inside. For these dogs I usually suggest switching to real grass pads instead. You can continue to use pee pads with the small confined area and he should become more comfortable using them eventually, but because he shows signs of associating them with other fabrics like rugs, and not wanting to go potty on them, once he does learn to pee on them easiest, you may have issues with accidents on rugs and clothing. Since he is doing so well outside, I suggest continuing to encourage pottying outside and use a real grass pad inside when you are gone if he cannot hold it that long. Disposable real grass pad - Each one is advertised to last up to two weeks: https://www.freshpatch.com Amazon.com also carried a couple of brands. Look for ones made with real grass for an easier transition to using them for him. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Sophie
Chihuahua
6 Months
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Question
0 found helpful
Sophie
Chihuahua
6 Months

Getting her to tell me when she needs to go potty

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
92 Dog owners recommended

Very cute! Often dogs are quite subtle when they want something. They may stand by the door and not say a word for the longest time, making it hard to get a signal. In that case, teach Sophie to let you know by ringing a bell when she needs to go out: https://wagwalking.com/training/ring-a-bell-to-go-out. It won't happen overnight and will take many repetitions of the steps to get it right. Be patient and persistent. Another option is the doggy door. Dogs are often easily trained to let themselves into a fenced yard when needed. Good luck!

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Question
Cookie
Shih Tzu
7 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Cookie
Shih Tzu
7 Months

Hello there! My Shih Tzu, Cookie, has been trained to use a litterbox ever since birth. She has no problem using it 95% of the time, however, because she is so used to a litterbox always being nearby, if it's not in the same room (because we have to move it, while cleaning, etc.), she will just go potty anywhere on the floor instead of waiting/holding it in. Ideally, if she can't find a litterbox, I'd like her to notify me that she has to go potty by training her to ring a bell.

The second problem we're having is...sometimes she eats or plays with her own feces. We remove that problem by using positive reinforcement whenever she leaves it (bag up her feces and give her a treat), however, if we don't know that she's used the litterbox and leave her alone with it for more than 10 minutes, she will try to eat or hide her feces in her bed.

We have 3 litter boxes: one in my home office (where I reside most of the time with her), one in the kitchen (she uses it while we're cooking/eating dinner), and one in the bedroom (where we watch TV / sleep at night). These are the living spaces where she mostly stays with me, as I work from home.

The only times she has had accidents is when she's in an unfamiliar area of the house (when she was younger only, now she has less accidents), and more recently, when I accidentally forgot to bring the litterbox back into my home office (she peed on the floor near the door). The good news is, we took a road trip a few months ago and she was very good with holding in her bladder during 4 hour long stretches and didn't have any accidents in the car.

So, my goal is:

1) I want her to let me know if she needs to go potty by ringing the bell.

2) I want her to ring the bell to let me know that she has gone potty so that I can pick it up right away and reward her (to prevent her from eating her feces).

3) I want to eventually give her only ONE place in the whole house to use her litterbox, inside the laundry room downstairs.

Do you think this is possible, or would it be too confusing for her? Do you recommend a different approach?

Thanks so much for your advice, I really appreciate it!

Best,
Amy

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Amy, 1. Check out the Peanut Butter method from the article linked below. The first step is simply to teach her to ring a bell when you point to it or tell her to. https://wagwalking.com/training/ring-a-bell-to-go-out 2. To teach her to ring the bell when she needs to use the litter box, opposed to when she needs to go outside - like the article mentions, begin to intentionally take her over to the litter box before she goes on her own throughout the day. Once she has learned how to ring the bell when you instruct her to, then instruct her to ring it, give a treat, encourage her to go potty, and if she goes potty - especially poops, instruct her to ring it again and give another treat after she has potties then rings the bell at your instruction (reward for peeing also at first). As soon as she is familiar with ringing the bell before pottying, quickly transition from giving a treat right after ringing the bell - before she potties, to giving a treat after she rings the bell AND potties - so the treat comes after pottying. Also, when she begins to get good at ringing the bell again after pottying, start only rewarding her again for ringing the bell after she poops. Eventually the process should look like - take her over the potty, instruct her to ring the bell, wait for her to go potty, give a treat after she goes; if she poops also, instruct her to ring the bell again, give a treat for ringing it. This will need to be practiced often for pup to get to the point where she begins to do the ringing on her own. Set the bell up where the litter box that she uses most frequently is now, so that when the litter box isn't there, the bell will still be there for her to ring and let you know she has to go. Later, when you remove the other litter boxes, keep bells in their place. 3. Whether pup will do well with just one litter box depends on how open your house stays - no closed doors where she can't get to the litter box and doesn't have a bell in that room to ring, and how many levels it has. For a small, one level house, where doors are normally left open, it is very realistic to expect her to go to the box with some vigilance and training for a while. You shouldn't have to keep litter boxes in every room, but you do want to replace and litter boxes you remove with bells once she has learned to associate that with the litter box, to practice having her ring the bell and walking into a different room to use the litter box, once the initial litter box and bell training is done - this will need to be done for each bell location to help her make the connection between the bell and going to the potty in another place in each location, and you will need to add bells to areas where she currently is having accidents most often when the litter box isn't present - especially if there is a room she is often locked in, like a bedroom without a litter box in it. All of this can be done, but it will probably take months of you being vigilant about leading her to the potty many times and rewarding with treats at the right times, opposed to days of training. It should be a gradual process though - with the training process getting easier as you go, even though she will need help in some locations for the full amount of time. It shouldn't require as much for two months in as it will the first two weeks for example, but you probably won't have complete reliability before 6 months. As long as you feel committed to that process well enough that you can stay consistent enough for it to work, it does sound feasible to me. If your home has multiple levels, an easier compromise, might be to do everything I mentioned above, but leave one liter box per house level, so that, although she has to go into another room to find the box, it's not completely across the house - making the training easier and probably quicker for her. I also suggest asking your vet about the poop eating. Under your vet's direction, you can add plain canned pumpkin to pup's food or a product specifically designed to discourage poop eating to her food. I would still pursue picking up the poop quickly and encouraging her to alert you after she goes - to minimize the amount of time she has the option of eating it - since the pumpkin or product will make it less desirable to eat, but often doesn't stop a dog completely if you leave them long enough and often enough with the poop - and the product won't stop the poop hiding. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Ollie
Maltipoo
3 Years
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Ollie
Maltipoo
3 Years

I'm trying the exercise pen option but he just sits on the grass (instead of the bed) and whines and shakes. Is this normal? Do I have to tough love past this? Thanks

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Shruti, It sounds like pup doesn't know how to cope with being confined and alone - more than the potty training being the cause of the nervousness. Check out the Surprise method from the article linked below, following the tips with pup in the exercise pen instead of the crate. With pup locked in the exercise pen, periodically sprinkle treats on the dog bed that's in the pen, then leave again. Ignore pup while you do this (you want to act calm and confident to help pup relax sooner), simply leaving the treats on the bed for pup to find. If pup gives you breaks in the whining, try to time your treat sprinkles when pup is quiet for a couple of seconds, to reinforce the calmness, instead of the nervousness. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate This will partially also just take time. If pup was never crate trained in the past as a puppy, pup is likely simply having to learn that confinement and alone time are normal as an adult. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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