How to Train a Pomeranian Puppy to Use a Litter Box

Medium
2-3 Weeks
General

Introduction

Sandy is very lucky, her boss has told her she can bring her new, friendly little Pomeranian puppy to work with her. This is great news for Sandy, who hates to leave her new puppy home alone while she is at work all day, and very few jobs allow you to bring your pup to work. Sandy does not, however, want to lose this opportunity by not always being available to customers if she has to take her Pom out to relieve himself. She often works long hours by herself and needs to be available to answer the phone and respond to customers. Her solution: train her Pom to use a litter box while she is at work, so she does not have to leave her post. 

Because Pomeranians have small bladders and bowels, especially puppies, and high metabolisms, they need potty breaks much more frequently than other dogs!  If you don't always have the flexibility to take your dog outside because you are working or have an apartment that limits easy access to outside, training your Pom to use a litter box may be a viable solution.

Defining Tasks

Training your Pomeranian Puppy to use a litter box is very similar to training him to use any other indoor or outdoor potty spot. You will need to supervise and direct your puppy where to go potty and reward him lavishly for successful use of the litter box potty area. Using a litter box with dog litter, newspaper or puppy pee pads provides a contained potty spot for your dog to relieve himself indoors when you can not take him outside. This is great if you are away from home, or do not have easy access to let your little dog out for a potty break, as it provides so much more flexibility. 

Training your Pom to “go” on command, or putting him on a potty schedule is helpful when training your dog to use a litter box and direct potty behavior. You can also constrain your Pom so he does not have the opportunity to go anywhere but where you direct him. The flexibility to use an indoor toilet spot can make training a puppy much easier, as accidents can happen on the way to the door, while putting on footwear, getting leashes, and getting a coat. An indoor litter box provides a convenient potty spot for your little Pom puppy.

Getting Started

If you have a cat, do not have your puppy share the litter box with the cat, as this can turn both animals off the litter box. Puppies require large litter boxes, with shallow entrance ways. Special litter boxes designed for dogs are your best bet, or get a large cat litter box and cut a lower entrance in the side if necessary. Special dog litter is available, which is different from cat litter. Your puppy will not instinctively cover up his droppings, so small cat litter is not necessary. Alternatively, you can line a litter box with newspaper or puppy pads.  Pads with an attractant to encourage your puppy to “go” are also available.

The Schedule and Direct Method

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Step
1
Set up a schedule
Put your Pomeranian puppy on a schedule, restricting feeding times, and take him to go to the bathroom at regular intervals. Start with about 30 minutes after he has eaten, but be flexible, figure out when your puppy needs to do his business.
Step
2
Prepare a litter box
To prepare a litter box, you can place a piece of your dog’s feces in the box or soak up some of his urine on a paper towel and transfer it to the box to associate the smell with the box. Or, use litter or pee pads with an attractant to encourage your dog to relieve himself at that location.
Step
3
Supervise
Supervise your Pom pup closely for signs he needs to go. Take him to his litter box if he starts sniffing around or at his scheduled time. Place your puppy in his litter box and wait. Put him on a leash to keep him there, be patient. Wait for hm to pee or poop.
Step
4
Reward litter box use
When your puppy goes potty in his litter box, reward him. Say “good dog”, give him a treat and take your dog somewhere else to play with a favorite toy.
Step
5
Keep taking to box and reinforcing
Continue over several weeks until your dog starts seeking his litter box on his own to go to the bathroom. When he goes by himself, throw a big treat party.
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The Best Option Method

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Step
1
Set up enclosure
Put your Pomeranian puppy in a baby playpen or in a small enclosure. Put food in one area, toys in a different spot, a bed in one corner, and a litter box in another.
Step
2
Make litter box the best option
Because dogs do not like to soil their food, bedding, or toys your puppy will be motivated to relieve himself in the litter box.
Step
3
Encourage use
Supervise your Pomeranian and if you see him sniffing around, and he has not gone into his litter box, encourage him over to the box. When he uses his litter box, praise and reward him.
Step
4
Make area larger
Once your puppy has started using the litter box in the contained area. Put the litter box in a larger area, like a bathroom or mudroom, and put a baby gate up. Keep your Pom in the room with the litter box until he starts using the litter box reliably. Reward him when you catch him using his litter box.
Step
5
Set up regular spot
Put the litter box in an easily accessible spot. Make sure your dog knows where it is and let him loose in the house. When he uses his litter box, continue to periodically reward him and give him praise.
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The Crate Training Method

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Step
1
Use appropriate sized crate
Keep your Pomeranian puppy contained in a crate. The crate should be just large enough for your puppy to stand in, turn around, and stretch out comfortably. A puppy will usually avoid soiling his bed so he is unlikely to go potty in his crate.
Step
2
Take to litter box regularly
Every hour, take your Pomeranian out and put him in his litter box and wait. If he does not go potty, take him back to his crate.
Step
3
Reward litter box use
If your puppy relieves himself in the litter box, praise him, give him a treat, and provide him some out of crate time. Supervise closely so he does not have an accident.
Step
4
Provide crate-free time
After some “free time” return your puppy to his crate and repeat the process.
Step
5
Increase crate-free time
As your puppy starts using his litter box more regularly, increase out of crate time when you can supervise your puppy. Continue to use the crate when you cannot monitor bathroom behavior in a young Pom to prevent accidents.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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