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

Effective
0 Votes
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.
Recommend training method?

The Best Option Method

Effective
0 Votes
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.
Recommend training method?

The Crate Training Method

Effective
0 Votes
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.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Lily
Pomeranian
6 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Lily
Pomeranian
6 Months

She does not understand the concept of pottying outside. She also potties in her crate!
I am home all day and successfully trained about 11 dogs in my lifetime. Help!!!!!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
614 Dog owners recommended

Hello Carolyn, First, make sure that the crate doesn't have anything absorbent in it - including a soft bed or towel. Check out www.primopads.com if you need a non-absorbent bed for her. Make sure the crate is only big enough for her to turn around, lie down and stand up, and not so big that she can potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it. Dogs have a natural desire to keep a confined space clean so it needs to be the right size to encourage that natural desire. Use a cleaner that contains enzymes to clean any previous or current accidents - only enzymes will remove the small and remaining smells encourage the dog to potty in the same location again later. Check out the Crate Training article linked below for tips on how to get pup to go potty while outside - which makes accidents in the crate less likely. Also, be aware that a 6 month old puppy cannot hold her bladder for longer than about 6 hours during the day even in a crate (ideally no longer than 3-4 while still learning), even after being potty trained. Any longer and she will be forced to have an accident - enough accidents and she will loose her desire to keep even the right size crate without something absorbent in it clean. While potty training still she will generally need to be taken potty about every 1-2 hours while you are home though. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If you are still struggling after applying the above suggestions, then unfortunately pup may have already lost her desire to hold it while in a confined space. This commonly happens when someone accidentally teaches pup to do so by placing something like a puppy pad on one end of a larger crate or confining a puppy in cage where they are forced to pee through wired flooring - like at a pet store and some shelters. There are rare puppies who simply do it anyway, even though nothing happened to teach that. In those cases you can try feeding pup her meals in there to discourage it but most of the time you simply have to switch potty training methods until she is fully potty trained - at which point you might be able to use a crate for travel again later in life. Check out the Tethering method from the article linked below. Whenever you are home use the Tethering method. Also, set up an exercise pen in a room that you can close off access to later on (pup will learn it's okay to potty in this room so choose accordingly). A guest bathroom, laundry room, or enclosed balcony - once weather is a safe temperature are a few options. Don't set the exercise up in a main area of the house like the den or kitchen. Tethering method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Use the Exercise Pen method from the article linked below, and instead of a litter box like the article mentions, use a real grass pad to stay consistent with teaching pup to potty on grass outside - which is far less confusing than pee pads (Don't use pee pads if the end goal is pottying outside!). Since your goal is pottying outside only use the Exercise Pen at night and when you are not home. When pup will hold her bladder while in the rest of the house consistently and can hold it for as long as you are gone for during the day and overnight, then remove the exercise pen and grass pad completely, close off access to the room that the pen was in so she won't go into there looking to pee, and take her potty outside only. Since she may still chew longer even after potty training, when you leave her alone, be sure to leave her in a safe area that's been puppy proofed, like a cordoned off area of the kitchen with chew toys - until she is out of the destructive chewing phases too - which typically happens between 1-2 years for most dogs with the right training. Exercise Pen method: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Real grass pad brands - Also found on Amazon www.freshpatch.com www.doggielawn.com You can also make your own out of a piece of grass sod cut up and a large, shallow plastic storage container. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Lily's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd