How to Potty Train a Fox Terrier

Medium
3-6 Months
General

Introduction

Fox Terriers are incredibly fun, playful pups who love to play and entertain their human family. While Fox Terriers are highly intelligent, some are more willing to learn than others. While you are housebreaking your terrier, you need to be aware that his strong sense of independence can make potty training him more challenging than many other breeds. Does this mean you can't potty train him? Certainly not, but what it does mean is that it might take longer, and you will need to exercise a great deal of patience. Take your time and use lots of positive reinforcement and treats to get the job done. 

Defining Tasks

The task at hand is simple (or at least it should be): to train your pup that the only place he is allowed to go potty is out in the yard, preferably in a specific area. The problem is that terriers do not like commands and love to mark their territory. Because of this, you need to fence in your yard or you will always have to put your pup on a leash to take him outside. The fence needs to be tall enough to keep him from jumping over it and firmly secured at the bottom or your pup will try to escape constantly. Be patient and keep working with him and in time he will learn to do as he is asked. The training methods are similar to those used for most other dogs, you just have to work on them a little harder and longer to get the job done. 

Getting Started

You can start potty training your Fox Terrier as soon as you bring him home--once he reaches 8 weeks old, your pup is ready to learn. Given the fact these pups are very stubborn and often harder to teach, the earlier you get started, the easier it will be to train him. You should choose your cue words before you get started. Keep it simple; use something like "Let's go outside" or "Let's go potty". The simpler you make it, the easier it will be for him to learn it and associate the cue with the action. You will also need a crate for when you cannot watch your pup, treats to use as rewards, and a leash to take him outside on. 

The Pee Here Method

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Step
1
Mark the spot for your pup
Grab a bottle of potty training spray from your local pet shop. Choose a spot in your yard that will become your pup's permanent outside "bathroom."
Step
2
Show your pup his new potty
Put your pup on his leash, give him your cue, take him outside over to his spot and let him go potty. The spray is designed to attract him to the spot and encourage him to mark it, which, of course, will make him want to go potty.
Step
3
Give him time
If he doesn’t go potty right away, that's okay. Give him 15 minutes to try and then take him back in the house. Wait a few more minutes and take him back outside to try again. When he finally goes potty, be sure to praise him heavily and of course, give him a treat.
Step
4
Instant potty breaks
There are a number of times when must take your pup outside immediately to go potty. These are in the morning when he wakes up, after he eats, drinks a lot of water, has been playing for a long time, last thing at night, and any time he looks like he needs to go.
Step
5
Work it
The only thing left to do at this point is to keep working with your pup, extending the time between potty breaks, and learning to pick up on his signals that he needs to go. Be patient, in time he will figure it out and you won't have any more messes to clean up in your home.
Recommend training method?

The By the Hour Method

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Step
1
You need a timer
If you don't already own a kitchen timer, now is the time to grab one. It doesn't need to be fancy, just capable of being set to time up to two hours. Beyond timed potty breaks, be sure to take him out when you wake up, before bedtime, after meals, and after he drinks a lot of water. This will help prevent accidents.
Step
2
Start slow and add time
Start out by setting the timer to 30 minutes and when he starts managing to hold it for this long, slowly start building up the time in 30-minute increments. However, do not go past two hours until your pup is at least 12 months old. He may not be able to hold himself any longer than this before then.
Step
3
When he goes outside
Each time your pup manages to successfully go potty outside, reward his success with plenty of praise and a treat or two.
Step
4
While in the house
While your pup is in the house, keep a close eye out for any signs he is thinking about going potty, be sure to take him outside immediately. The more you can do this, the fewer accidents he is likely to have and the sooner he will learn to go potty outside.
Step
5
When accidents occur
If you happen to catch him in the act of peeing or pooping--or getting ready to-- say "No" in a firm voice and then take him straight out to his spot in the yard. Keep him there until he goes and then praise him and give him a treat. You want your pup to associate good things with going potty outside. If you don't see him and catch him in the act, don’t punish him, it is too late. Clean up and move on with the training. Be patient, he will figure it out in his own good time.
Recommend training method?

The Routine Method

Effective
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Step
1
Pick a potty space
Start by going out in your yard and choosing the spot that is to become your terrier's outdoor bathroom. Keep it close enough to keep your pup from having accidents on the way, but not so close any smells end up in your home.
Step
2
Chose a good cue command
Be sure you choose a good working cue command, one that you and everyone else in your family will use and one your pup will easily be able to associate with the required behavior. Keep it simple like, "Time to go potty!" or "Want to go outside?" The idea is for your pup to learn to associate the cue with the required action.
Step
3
Use it
Hook your pup on his leash, give him the cue, and then take him outside to his reserved spot to go potty. Stay there letting him wander around on the leash until he goes. When he does, be sure to praise him and give him a treat.
Step
4
Routines are important
Your pup will respond to this type of training far better if you keep him on a regimented schedule. Start out by taking him out as often as every half hour. Over the course of several weeks, slowly build up the time between when you take him out until he can "hold it" for two hours or more.
Step
5
Repeat behavior builds success
The more time you spend working on potty training your Fox Terrier, the faster he will learn and the fewer messes you will have to clean up. One day you are going to wake up and realize it has been a long time since your pup has made a mess in the house. When this happens, you can consider the training successful.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Stormie
Not sure, maybe miniature fox terrier
5 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Stormie
Not sure, maybe miniature fox terrier
5 Months

I'm trying to potty train her and she will sniff everything and play with bug's and not go potty until we go back in the house. I don't know how to get her to go outside?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
912 Dog owners recommended

Hello Debbie, Check out the Crate training method from the article linked below. Pup needs to be returned to the crate whenever you take him outside and he doesn't finish going potty, then taken again in an hour, or sooner if he asks to go out. These trips should be repeated every hour until he goes potty outside. When he goes potty, praise and reward with four treats - one treat at a time. Since he is older he can be crated for up to 5 hours during the day when you have to leave the house, but when you are home take him potty every 1.5 hours while training him. If he goes potty outside, give him 1 hour of freedom before crating him again until time to go potty again 1.5 hours since his last pottying. Once he is regularly pottying outside and no longer having accidents you can increase the amount of freedom he has slowly by adding 30 minutes to his crate-free time in increments. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Pay attentions to the tips in the article, like walking around slowly on a leash, teaching the "Go Potty" command, rewarding with treats when he goes, using an enzymatic cleaner to clean messes, using the right size crate, and not putting anything absorbent in the crate with him at this age - you can use something like www.primopads.com if you want to give him some comfort - no soft dog beds or towels at this stage though. They can also be dangerous because of chewing right now. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Spot
Fox Hound
4 Months
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Question
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Spot
Fox Hound
4 Months

My puppy cannot last through the night and needs a toilet break at 3. At one point he was last till 5/6 am but that was for only ten days.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
912 Dog owners recommended

Hello Laura, If he immediately goes potty when you take him, goes back to sleep in the crate after his trip outside, and does not have a long record of being able to hold it in the past, then he simply may not be ready to hold it through the night. Waking up one time a night is not bad for his age. That is very normal for some puppies still. Give him one more month to mature a bit more physically. Make sure that you are doing the following to encourage good nighttime habits though, so that he is only waking up when he needs to pee and not for other reasons. 1. Remove all food and water two hours before his bedtime. 2. Take him outside to go potty on a leash right before you are going to put him into the crate for the night, not thirty minutes or an hour beforehand because his bladder will not slow down to let him go longer until he is actually asleep. 3. When you take him outside before bed, watch him while you are out there with him to make sure he goes. Do not assume he goes. 4. Crate him at night. 5. Keep all trips outside during the middle of the night very boring. Do not talk to him, play with him, or let him goof off. Go to him in the crate, clip on his leash, walk him outside, tell him to "Go Potty", let him sniff and go, quietly praise him briefly, then take him right back inside and put him back into the crate. If he barks when you put him back inside, ignore him. It's time to go to back to sleep. 5. If he is not able to hold his bladder for more than two hours during the day, even while in a crate, then take him to your vet to check for a urinary tract infection or some form of urinary incontinence. If you are doing all of those things, then he should begin to sleep through the night on his own by five to six month of age. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Ripley
Terrier/yorkie mix
1 Year
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Ripley
Terrier/yorkie mix
1 Year

Hello! I adopted my fur baby 4 months ago. Im having a really difficult time getting him house trained. He has extremely subtle cues to go out and use the bathroom that I can't always pick up on. Just when I think we aren't going to have any accidents he will go #2 inside or pee somewhere in the house. Having hard wood floors has been helpful, however when I go visit any house with carpet it hes been marking and going to the bathroom as he pleases.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
234 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here is information on potty training, as well as crate training just in case you decide to use a crate to help with potty training. The information is geared towards puppies, but when adult dogs have potty issues, it is best to take a few days and start completely fresh as if your dog knows nothing. You should see results within about a week or so. Potty training: Know Your Pup. As you spend time with your puppy, learn your puppy’s love language. Just as some people prefer gifts, touch, or time spent together, puppies can be the same way. Some puppies love praise or pets, while others prefer treats. As you get to know your puppy, consider what reward your puppy loves the most. Create a Daily Schedule. It is best to have a routine for your puppy. A schedule helps them understand when to eat, play, and “go to the bathroom.” Your puppy should go out frequently and the routine should be the same every time. When? Start the day by taking your puppy outside, and repeating based on age and ability. They should also go out after napping, chewing, playing, and within 10 to 15 minutes of eating. Although some puppies can sleep for seven hours, it is important to set an alarm and take your pup out during the night. When you do, don’t make a fuss about it. Quietly take them outside with minimal stimulation and light. Praise them if they go to the bathroom and gently return them to their bed or crate. You don’t want them to get stimulated and ready to play in the middle of the night! As you get to know your puppy, you will become aware of their individual habits. Click here to learn more about house training schedules for puppies. Where? Take your puppy to a specific area to urinate or defecate. Be consistent. You can create an area by using urine-soaked paper or bowel movements to help create an aroma to stimulate your puppy. How? Take your puppy out on a leash so they can focus on the desired activity. This will help prevent them from wandering off to play. Once your puppy is in the selected area, use your verbal cue, such as “Hurry Up,” “Poopies,” “Go tinkle,” or any phrase your puppy responds to. What? Know the signs that your puppy has to go to the bathroom. Every animal may have a different “I gotta go” gesture, which often include restlessness, sniffing around, circling, scratching at the door, barking, and, eventually, squatting. At the first sign that your pup has to go, calmly and quickly take them outside to their bathroom spot. Deal with Accidents. Accidents are a normal part of house training a puppy. What to Do If you see your puppy in the process of urinating or defecating inappropriately, calmly and quickly interrupt them in the act. Tell them to stop (either by a jarring sound or command), and immediately take them to an appropriate location for elimination. After your puppy goes to the bathroom, lavishly praise them and offer a treat. Thoroughly clean up accidents, so your puppy is not attracted to this area again. Create a consistent feeding and watering schedule. Depending on the age of your puppy, they will eat three to four times a day. A consistent feeding routine can create a regular bathroom schedule. Take away water about 2 hours before bedtime. Learn more about ideal dog schedules here. What NOT to Do Don’t punish your puppy when they have an accident. At that point, it is too late. When a puppy has an accident in the house and they walk away, within seconds they have already forgotten about what they did. Taking them to the scene of the crime and yelling and/or rubbing their nose in it does not help and, in fact, can harm your puppy! Supervise. The best thing you can do is to prevent accidents and the best way to do this is to supervise your puppy at all times. You can tether your puppy to your waist with a five or six-foot leash and carefully observe them for signs that they need to go to the bathroom. If you can’t supervise, then crate or confine your puppy. The more accidents your puppy has in the house, the more confusing it will be for them and this can delay house training. Reward, Reward, Reward. It is important to give your puppy a reward for their good behavior. This can be for commands such as sitting and coming to you, or for appropriately eliminating outside. In a puppy, a reward can be a couple kibbles of puppy food or a treat, such as a small piece of meat. The treat should be exciting for them and only available as a result of good behavior. Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog's age, temperament and past experiences. It's important to keep two things in mind while crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don't go too fast. Step 1: Introduce your dog to the crate Place the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Take the door off and let the dog explore the crate at their leisure. Some dogs will be naturally curious and start sleeping in the crate right away. If yours isn't one of them: Bring them over to the crate and talk to them in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is open and secured so that it won't hit your dog and frighten them. Encourage your dog to enter the crate by dropping some small food treats nearby, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If they refuse to go all the way in at first, that's OK; don't force them to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If they aren’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days. Step 2: Feed your dog meals in the crate After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding them their regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, place the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If they remain reluctant to enter, put the dish only as far inside as they will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed them, place the dish a little further back in the crate. Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat their meal, you can close the door while they’re eating. The first time you do this, open the door as soon as they finish their meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until they’re staying in the crate for 10 minutes or so after eating. If they begin to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving them in the crate for a shorter time period. If they do whine or cry in the crate, don’t let them out until they stop. Otherwise, they'll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so they'll keep doing it. Step 3: Practice with longer crating periods After your dog is eating their regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine them there for short time periods while you're home. Call them over to the crate and give them a treat. Give them a command to enter, such as "crate." Encourage them by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise them, give them the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to 10 minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time and then let them out. Repeat this process several times a day, gradually increasing the length of time you leave them in the crate and the length of time you're out of sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you mostly out of sight, you can begin leaving them crated when you're gone for short time periods and/or letting them sleep there at night. This may take several days or weeks. Step 4, Part A: Crate your dog when you leave After your dog can spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving them crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put them in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave them with a few safe toys in the crate. Vary the moment during your "getting ready to leave" routine that you put your dog in the crate. Although they shouldn't be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate them anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Don't make your departures emotional and prolonged—they should be matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give them a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don't reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to them in an enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low-key to avoid increasing their anxiety over when you will return. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you're home so they don't associate crating with being left alone. Step 4, Part B: Crate your dog at night Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night and you'll want to be able to hear your puppy when they whine to be let outside. Older dogs should also initially be kept nearby so they don't associate the crate with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with the crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer, although time spent with your dog—even sleep time—is a chance to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Potential problems Whining: If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether they’re whining to be let out of the crate, or whether they need to be let outside to eliminate. If you've followed the training procedures outlined above, then your dog hasn't been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from their crate. If that is the case, try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, they'll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at them or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you've ignored them for several minutes, use the phrase they associate with going outside to eliminate. If they respond and become excited, take them outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you're convinced that your dog doesn't need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore them until they stop whining. Don't give in; if you do, you'll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what they want. If you've progressed gradually through the training steps and haven't done too much too fast, you'll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again. Separation anxiety: Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won't solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but they may get injured in an attempt to escape. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counterconditioning and desensitization procedures.

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