Those wonderful puppy pee pads promised to make potty training your pup so easy! All you had to do was rub a little of their pee on the pad and put it in the same place each time. Your pup will follow his own scent to the target and boom, no more wet spots on the floor. You can even do the same with a little poop. And as long as you keep a ready supply of pads, everything's all right. Or is it?
Yup! Those pads are a real modern miracle until you miss one for a day or two and the stink starts to set in. Maybe it's time for those pads to go for your sake, your dog's sake, and the sake of your nose.
More importantly, those dirty pads are pretty nasty and unhealthy, so missing one could be a really bad thing. Even more importantly, no one wants to step on one of those pads in the middle of the night.
Now that you have your dog trained to do his business on the pads, you have a couple of challenges to overcome in order to get him to start going outside. First, by leaving the pee pads on the floor for your pup to use whenever he needed to go without telling you, you have to teach him to let you know when he needs to go so you can let him out.
However, teaching your pup to let you know when he needs to go and then getting him to go outside is a very important step in his becoming an adult. On top of this, you won't have any more of that awful smell in your home.
There are a few things you might find come in handy when training your dog to stop using the pee pads and to go outside.
I need my 8 month old shihpoo to stop peeing in the house. I live on the second floor of my apartment. She has been using potty pads since before we got her. she only seems to use the bathroom when I am off at work.
Hello Lauren, I would recommend first teaching Bunni Mae to ring a bell. This will come in handy later. To teach that follow one of the methods from the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/ring-a-bell-to-go-out Next, you can either follow one of the methods from the article above "How to Train Your Dog to Stop Using a Pee Pad" or you can remove the pee pads cold turkey and start fresh with potty training. I would highly recommend removing them and starting fresh. To do that follow one of the methods form the article that I have linked right before. If your schedule would allow it I recommend using the "Crate Training" method or a combination of the "Crate Training" method and the "Tethering" method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside You need to strictly monitor and control her Bunni Mae's environment and schedule to prevent her from having accidents in the house, while at the same time teaching her how to alert you when she needs to go outside with a bell, rewarding her for going potty outside so that she will want to go out there instead of inside, and learn what "Go Potty" means so that she will understand why she is outside when you take her. Following the "Crate Training" method will ensure all of that if you command her to ring the bell on her way out the door after you have taught her how to do that, tell her to "Go Potty" while she is outside, and reward her with treats after she goes. If she does have an accident inside or you know of previous accident locations, then make sure you clean them up with a pet safe cleaner that contains enzymes. The smell of previous urine or poop will encourage her to keep peeing or pooping in that spot inside if you do not and only enzymes break down the pee and poop enough to truly eliminate the smell to where a dog's nose cannot still smell it. You can also get cleaners for washing clothes if you have small area rugs and places that have been soiled before. During this process if you are able to, I recommend removing area rugs and any fabric type material on the floor. Most Pee Pad dogs confuse things like rugs, carpet, and shirts with Pee Pads and will start to pee on them when they cannot pee on a pee pad. While she is learning to only go outside keep the indoor environment as least confusing as possible. Carpet obviously cannot be removed but supervise her especially closely on that, which tethering will help a lot with. When she begins to go potty outside when you tell her to "Go Potty", alert you when she needs to go outside, and not have any accidents inside, then she is ready to slowly be given more and more supervised freedom outside of the crate. Start very slowly with giving her more freedom though and go back a step or two for a while if she has an accident. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi My dog Zeus is 6 months old. He does great on puppy pads and we’re transitioning him to go outside. We’ve removed the pads completely. We have keywords for bathroom potty (for pee) and restroom (for poop). But when taking him outside all he wants to do is play and eat grass as well as bark at other dogs as they’re passing by. We’re also having trouble with his crate. We got a crate cover about 2-3 weeks who and he has been doing great. As of this week he started defecating and peeing in the cage. We put a bed in to make it more comfortable (we did towels previously and he would soil those) He is not left for more than 4 hours so I’m confused as to why he started it again.
Hello Lauren, A couple of things might be going on with the crate. First, the crate has to be small enough that he can only stand up, turn around, and lay down. Not big enough that he can poop on one end and not be standing right on it. If he can poop in one end and avoid it by standing on the other end, the crate will not be effective. If you have a wirecrate that came with a divider, you can make it smaller using that until he grows. Second, the crate cannot have anything absorbent inside of it. Take everything, including the soft bed and any towels, out of it, except hard or rubber chew-toys. If you want to give him a bit of comfort, then check out Primopads online and put that type of bed in there until he is older, fully potty trained, and not likely to chew on a bed. They do not look very luxurious but they are the type of bed a puppy needs at his age. Continue with the crate training with the changes I mentioned above. When you are home, take him outside every three hours instead of four. When you take him potty, keep giving him his command words, and when he goes, give him a treat. After he has received a treat a few times, then he should start to use the bathroom outside more often. You can also purchase a potty encouraging spray to spray on the ground on the area where you want him to go. When you take him, make sure it is on a leash, and slowly keep walking him around and keep him focused on sniffing the entire time you are out there. If he starts to sniff around, then let him sniff to find a spot to go potty. The movement and scent will help him understand what to do. If he does not go within ten minutes, then take him back inside, put him back into the crate for one hour, and then take him back outside to try again at that point. Repeat this every hour until he goes. When you take him to go potty and you know his bladder is full, hurry him outside so that he does not have an accident inside on the way. If all of that does not work, then put a pee pad outside in an area you would like him to pee on outside. Continue to crate train him, and take him to that pee pad outside on a leash. Tell him to "Potty", and when he goes there, then praise him and reward him with a treat. When he will go potty there whenever you take him there, every three to four hours, then remove the pad but take him to the same spot each time. Repeat everything else just like you did before, telling him to go "Potty, rewarding him with a treat if he does go, or taking him back inside to the crate if he does not go, and trying again in an hour. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We got our Pomeranian, Lucy, at 6 weeks old and was told from our vet that she couldn't go outside until she had all of her puppy shots. We took advice from others and bought pee pee pads. We already had a puppy play pen in storage that I had saved when our senior dogs had passed away so we started putting Lucy in the play pen with a bed, water bottle, toys and pee pee pads. She started going to the bathroom on the pee pee pads but also all over the house. We didn't know what to do because she wasn't allowed to go outside yet. We then bought her a crate where she now sleeps but every 4-5 hours a night she cried and we let her out to pee pee on the pad. This is costing us our sleep, and we are almost too tired to function in the day. She's now allowed to go outside - my questions are how do we break her from peeing and pooping inside the play pen and just use it as a play area, how do we train her to sleep through the night in her crate and how do we get her to potty outside only? I'm so worried I'm doing a horrible job, and I need to get my husband back in the bedroom to sleep! Lucy's crate is inside our bedroom. Thank you!
Hello Rhonda, First, do a strict crate training policy. Because she has been used to peeing inside, a strict crate training policy is a must. Check out the article below and follow the "Crate Training" method. Because she is older, she can stay in a crate for up to four hours during the day, five hours max but never longer than that or she will have an accident in there too. When you are at home, try to take her outside every two to three hours to help her learn faster though. After she pees outside, then instead of forty-five minutes of freedom like the article mentions, because she is older, she can have one-and-a-half hours of supervised freedom out of the crate. After the hour-and-a-half passes put her back into the crate until it is time to take her potty again, no exceptions. Be sure to follow all of the other steps from that method found in the article below. It will all work together, including: following a schedule so that she is never free when he bladder is not completely empty, telling her to "Go Potty" so that she learns to go faster, rewarding her when she goes potty, making the crate pleasant by giving her fun chew-toys while in the crate, and not letting her out unless she is being quiet when you are first dealing with possible barking in the crate. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside I would honestly avoid using the playpen until she is completely potty trained and use the crate exclusively instead. When her bladder is empty and you want her to be free you can attach her to yourself with a six or eight-foot leash so that she cannot wander off and get into mischief. You can also install an eye-hook on one of the baseboards in a room where you hang out a lot, put a durable dog bed by it and place chew-toys on it. That way you can connect her leash to the eye-hook and keep her nearby. Only do this while you know her bladder is empty though. Check out VirChewLy leashes if she tends to chew on leashes. Once she is fully potty trained, then very carefully bring the exercise pen back out and only use it while you can watch her for the first week, to see if she tries to pee in there again. The exercise pen is a bathroom to her right now. If someone put you into a bathroom, you would assume that they did it so that you would use the potty, unless you were shown otherwise and taught to go to the bathroom in another location first. For the night wakings, first crate training her during the day should get her into the habit of holding her bladder better, opposed to just going potty whenever the urge hits her. Right now she likely needs to go potty whenever she wakes up during light sleep, and not when she truly has to go, but if you ignore that plea right now she might have an accident because her body is not used to holder her pee. So work on crate training her during the day and getting her on that consistent schedule. Also, two hours before bedtime take away all food and water. This will give her time between eating and drinking and bed to go potty one last time and get everything out before sleep. When you put her to bed, make sure that you are taking her potty right before putting her into the crate and not forty-five minutes or an hour beforehand. Also make sure that she is somewhere dark and quiet where she can go to sleep in the crate. Her body will not shutdown her bladder for the night until she is actually asleep, so taking her potty last thing and making sure the setting encourages sleep helps with that. When you take her to go potty during the night, take her outside on a leash, watch her go, and keep the trip really boring. As soon as she goes potty, quietly take her back inside and put her into the crate. The middle of the night is the one time you don't want to make potty trips fun. You want to stick to business so that she will not ask to go out for fun but only if she truly needs to go. If she wakes you up in the morning before it is time to get up, take her potty like you do during the night but don't feed her early, let her play, or do anything exciting. After she pees, put her back into the crate until time to get up for the day. Ignore all crying and crate her in another room if you need to, to help you ignore her. Doing this will set the tone for great mornings later when she can make it through the night without a potty break. She is young enough that she may genuinely need to go potty during the night still. I suspect crate training during the day and keeping night trips boring will cause her to go longer and longer without a potty break during the night over the next two weeks though. If you don't see improvement during the next two weeks doing the daytime routine, then crate her in another room and put an audio baby monitor in there so that you will hear her if she wakes up, but she will not wake up simply for your attention anymore. This might involve some crying when you first put her to bed somewhere else, but that crying will actually help her learn to self-sooth and be less depend on you, which can help with the night wakings too. When you first put her to bed that is a good time to practice that because you know that she does not genuinely need something, like a potty break or food, she just wants attention. Learning to self-sooth in a crate can also prevent separation anxiety later on. I suggest moving the crate out of the room and using a baby monitor if you don't see improvement in two weeks. If that does not work, then she probably simply needs more time for her body to mature. Give it until she is five to six months old. She should gradually start sleeping longer and longer every week around five months of age. If she is still waking you up when she turns five to six months of age, even though she is in another room, then it is time to let her cry it out until it has been six-and-a-half to seven hours since her last pee break. She can make it longer by that age too, but only if she is asleep the whole time. If she wakes up, then she will need to go potty sooner. Generally an awake puppy can hold his bladder for the number he is in months of age plus one. So four to five hours is about right for your pup right now, at four months of age. At six months of age, a dog can go seven hours. When a dog stays asleep, his bladder shuts down in a way and that allows him to hold it for longer, but only while asleep. A five month old dog who stays asleep all night can make it nine-hours in most cases. Also, if you don't want to wait, then you can go ahead and move her crate into another room right now. You might not need to do so, but you also might see quicker progress if you do it now, rather than try other things for two weeks and then see if you need to move it. Check out this article for additional things you can do to help her get used to a crate, if she needs any extra help. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi, we've had Watson for for about 2 months now. He is crate trained and for the most part trained to go on a pad near the door. He does have accidents once in a while in the house. We've tried gently moving him outside with the pad when he starts going. But, he always stops; and as soon as we take him back in after waiting a for several minutes, he does inside. Also whenever we take him on walks to try get him to go outside, he is always way too excited to go and just sniffs and walks around.
Hello Alex, I suggest removing the pad from inside the house completely. Put the pad outside then phase it out later or simply take him outside without a pad there. Take him outside every four hours on a leash, tell him to "Go Potty", and if he goes, give him three small treats, one at a time.. If he does not go within ten minutes, then take him back inside and put him back into the crate. Keep him slowly moving and sniffing while outside to help him stay focused. Carry him to the crate if he has accidents when he walks back inside. After an hour, take him back outside on a leash and try again. Repeat the trips with crating in-between every hour after the initial four hours until he goes potty outside. Hurry him through the house on a leash so that he does not stop and pee on the way. If that does not work to prevent accidents on the way, then carry him until he gets better at going outside. When he does go potty outside, you can give him two hours of supervised freedom in the house, then put him back in the crate until it is time to take him potty again at the four hour mark. Do this so that he will only have two options when his bladder is at all full, which is the crate and outside, and never inside. Do all of this very strictly until he goes potty outside every time that you take him and then you can gradually increase his free time outside of the crate after peeing outside, until he can go the full four hours without any accidents between trips. You may want to remove area rugs temporarily for a while when you first increase his free time, to prevent him from confusing them with pee pad material. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I recently moved in with my partner who has a 9 year old chihuahua named Mona. I have a 13 year old lab mix. I take my dog on 3 walks a day. Morning/ after work/evening. Mona has only been wee wee pad trained and although we take her out 3 times a day with my dog she has started peeing on my rugs. Please help. I’ve tried treats, praise everything I can think of. It’s been 3 months of this. My partner thinks it’s cruel to crate/play pen her, and I want to have my rugs back.
Hello Grisell, The truth is, she needs to be crated or confined in an exercise pen during training for the training to work best. Generally, you will not be able to effectively train her to go potty outside unless you can keep her from going inside also. She needs to learn to differentiate between inside and outside. If someone is home all day, then you can attach her to yourself with a six to eight-foot leash to constantly watch her, while also taking her outside every two hours and heavily rewarding her for going outside. Many dogs confuse pee pads with carpets and rugs because both are made out of fabric. You can try switching the pee pads for real grass pads, which will help her prefer grass over fabric. She will need to be confined in a room without rugs or carpet or anything else absorbent, besides the grass pads. Part of the kitchen gated off, a laundry room, bathroom, or other room with hard floor will work. Have the grass toilet be the only absorbent thing in the room. Check out primopads.com if she needs a bed to sleep on that will not encourage peeing on it. You can fill chew toys with her food and a bit of peanut butter, liver paste, or treat paste to give her something fun to do. You can also purchase a device called Pet Tutor or AutoTrainer, which will automatically dispense a piece of dog food when she is quiet and calm for a certain amount of time. This can help her pass the time, give her something pleasant to do, and if she tends to bark, train her to be quiet. While she is learning to use the real grass pad, also take her outside to go potty and heavily reward her any time that she goes outside also. The more she gets used to using the grass pad, the more comfortable she should become peeing on grass also. Her access to the rugs and carpet needs to be completely blocked while she is learning this unless you know she has peed on the grass within the last hour and her bladder is completely empty. If it is easier to take up the rugs while training this, then do so. You may also need to teach her to alert you when she needs to go potty outside. You can teach her to ring a bell and then reward her when she pees outside after ringing the bell. That step will come a bit later though, after she has learned to pee on the grass pads and will pee outside on grass there too. Here is an example of real grass pads. They are more expensive, but each one is advertised to last a couple of weeks: https://www.amazon.com/Fresh-Patch-Disposable-Potty-Grass/dp/B005G7S6UI Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi, my dog's name is Indy, and he's about a year and a half old. My dog is becoming a bit too dependent on pee pads recently. He was doing extremely well going outside, but ever since I started my job (would leave at 7am and not get home till around 5pm some days) he has been relying on pee pads more. He is a small dog (around 14 lbs.), so I initially had the pee pads there because I would be gone so long during the day and the pee pads would be there to use in case he needed to go to the bathroom. But Indy is using them so much that he hardly will go outside anymore. I often use treats when he goes to the bathroom outside, but it doesn't seem to be working that much. My dog also seems to lack an attention span too. He gets extremely unfocused (especially when we go outside) and bark at every little thing he hears or sees (he barked at a rustling bush just today). If he starts barking/unfocused, the only way to get him to focus again is to change is setting (which is going inside). It's getting to be so bad that even when I wake up to take him outside in the morning, he won't go to the bathroom hardly at all outside. I'm not sure what we are doing wrong! I need help and guidance please!
Hello Amanda, First, as long as he has access to the pee pads he is going to prefer those. Imagine having an out-house behind your house vs. an indoor bathroom right around the corner inside. Which would you use? When he has the convenience of being able to relieve himself inside as soon as his bladder feels the least bit full, then he will also get out of the habit of holding his pee for longer. He will get used to peeing whenever he feels like it, almost like a toddler in diapers vs. someone who knows to wait until they can visit the restroom. His desire to hold his bladder actually can decrease and he will not hold it for as long during the day. You have three options when it comes to the pee pads. 1. You can remove them entirely and crate train him during the day until he gets out of the habit of peeing outside. You will need to crate him if you do this because if he cannot find a pee pad and is not out of the habit of peeing inside yet, then he is likely to start peeing on rugs and carpet instead. Go back to the basics of crate training. Since he is older, he can be crated for up to eight hours during the day once he gets used to holding his bladder again. Until he is used to holding his bladder, only expect him to hold it for six hours in the crate though. You might need to hire a dog walker to come midday for a while at first. When you take him outside, tell him to "Go Potty", and give him three treats, one at a time, after he goes. If you are at home with him, then you can take him to go potty as often as every three-and-a-half to four hours. The only time that he gets freedom in your home is when he has peed outside within the last two hours. After that, put him back into the crate until it is time to take him potty again. Doing this will ensure that he is never free when his bladder is full, which prevents accidents. As he gets used to only peeing outside again, then you can gradually leave him out of the crate for longer between potty trips, as long as he remains accident free, until he is out of the crate for the entire four-plus hours between potty trips. You can also teach him to ring a bell to go outside if he does not let you know when he needs to pee in another way right now. 2. Teach him to use something other than pee pads inside. I suggest a litter box instead of a pee pad if you go this route because, although he might not use it less often, it is easier for you to clean and does not resemble rugs or carpet. Of the indoor toilet options, this one is the most likely to lead to him holding his bladder until he gets outside. You can also use real grass pads. The real grass pads are actual grass so his desire to pee on the grass inside and outside are consistent. The grass pads inside are more convenient to use so he may not learn to prefer while using these, but when you are somewhere where he does not have access to the pads he should still be in the habit of peeing on grass outside too, making it easier to take him other places without the pads. Grass pads are also less likely to lead to peeing on carpet and rugs later if you remove them. To litter box train him, check out the article that I have linked below. Since he is older, you can take him to the litter box every three hours when he is outside of a crate, and every three to four hours when you are home and you are using a crate. If you are gone, then you will need to use the "Exercise Pen" method and leave him in the pen, or crate train him for NO longer than six, and eventually eight-hours. You can also use the same methods to teach him to use the grass pad instead. Simply replace the litter box in the article's steps with the grass pad. Since he is used to peeing on grass already, he might catch on quickly to the grass pad. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Here is a link to a real grass pad. https://www.amazon.com/DoggieLawn-Disposable-Potty-Real-Grass/dp/B00EQJ7I7Y/ref=pd_sim_199_1?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B00EQJ7I7Y&pd_rd_r=03668d4d-e535-11e8-b82c-21b13ea86793&pd_rd_w=KKrr3&pd_rd_wg=j4X11&pf_rd_i=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_p=18bb0b78-4200-49b9-ac91-f141d61a1780&pf_rd_r=NN4YQ2VQMGVMYZFTAPSW&pf_rd_s=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_t=40701&psc=1&refRID=NN4YQ2VQMGVMYZFTAPSW 3. Your final option with the pee pads is simply to accept that he will use them. I know that is not very helpful, but now that you know the alternative options, you can decide which option is the most worth it for you. If you do keep the pads, then I suggest setting up an exercise pen, leaving the door open, putting the pad inside, and then showing him where it is by taking him to it often. Doing this will help prevent him from getting used to just peeing inside anywhere. If you later decide to remove the pee pads, him having only one specific, obvious location where he is used to peeing inside can minimize the number of accidents he would otherwise have inside when you removed the pads. You can simply block off that area, take him outside VERY frequently, teach him to ring a bell, and heavily reward him for peeing outside, at that point if you removed the pads. This only works if he is used to peeing in only one location that is very visually different than the rest of the house though. Imagine setting up toilets all over your house vs. teaching a toddler to go into the bathroom to pee. Both create very different expectations for where you need to pee. When it comes to the distraction and barking outside, work on teaching Indy the "Quiet" command, then work on desensitizing Indy to each of the things that he tends to bark at by using his food to reward him whenever he sees or hears one of the things that he tends to react toward. Start with the individual triggers as much as you can, keeping the environment calm and rewarding him as soon as you see or hear something he normally barks at, before he has a chance to bark. Check out the video that I have linked below. The video is for desensitizing a dog to guests arriving, but you can use the same type of training in the backyard with the things that he barks at there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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