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Transition from Indoor to Outdoor Potty Training
Old 11-27-2012, 06:47 AM   #1
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Transition from Indoor to Outdoor Potty Training

Hi hav lovers!
Apart from the occasional trip out in his crate to meet new friends and family, my boy Olive has been cooped up in my apartment in NYC. Not for long! Today he gets his third round of shots and can finally walk on the city streets! For the past month, we've had him in the apartment, confined to an ex-pen when we can't watch him and letting him just into our living room/bedroom when we can keep a close eye on him. I leave the apartment to work for about 4.5 hours a day and he stays in his ex-pen with his wee wee pads and crate. My question his how to proceed with potty training now that he can go outdoors. I want him to have the option to use a wee-wee pad indoors because I don't think he can last the whole time I'm at work without peeing. But I also want him to learn to tell me if he has to go out when I'm home. Is it even possible to do both things at once? Any training ideas? Any advice would be mightily appreciated!
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:42 AM   #2
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I found with Kodi that it happened by itself, but it took time. From the very beginning, Kodi would go when he he needed to if he was outdoors. He learned early that both outdoors and his litter boxes were "OK" places to potty... everywhere else was "not OK". Very early, he showed a definite preference for pooping outdoors, even though he was happy to pee in the litter box. He would only poop in the litter box if there was no other option.

But I have to say, that for almost his first 2 years, while he MOSTLY went outdoors, because I took him out at the times I knew he'd need to go, he NEVER "asked" to go out. I know some people are successful teaching their dog to use bells as a signal, but although Kodi is very bright, and very trainable in other ways, he NEVER caught onto the bells, even after months of consistent work. I finally took them down because they were scratching the woodwork and he never used them independently.

Then, shortly after his second birthday, I heard this deep "woof", a sound I'd never heard him make before, and went to find him standing at the door. We went out, he pottied, and came right back in. From that day, this deep "woof" became his signal, one he made for himself. I know other dogs use other signals.

I know Tom King has said many times that for most pups, good potty behavior is "habit" (and the responsibility of the owner) for at least the first year, often for much longer. It is only as they mature that, eventually, they make the cognitive connection between the "habit" and "requesting" to go out.

When you think about it, to start with, pottying is like a binary switch for a long time... the puppy learns "OK" and "not OK" places. That's MUCH easier to learn/teach than if/then scenarios. So you will probably have a LONG time when he will know that it's OK to potty on his pad OR outside, before he makes the connection that IF he gives you a signal, THEN you will take him out. It will take even longer for him to learn (if he ever really does) that IF you are home, he should tell you he needs to go out, and only IF you aren't there or can't take him out, THEN he should use the pad. See how much more complicated that is? Especially without a common language?

You may get to the stage that Kodi is, where he only uses the litter box when we can't take him out, but I don't for one minute believe that Kodi understands that this is what WE want. He just knows that if he can't get us to take him out (which he would prefer) the litter box is the other "OK" potty option.

See the difference? The result may be the same, but the understanding and intent from the dog's point of view is very different.
Karen, Kodi & Pixel
(ARCHMX Starborn Kodak Moment BN, PCD, NA, NAJ, CDX-CCH, RE, RL1X3, RL2X3, RL3X2... And Starborn's Picture Perfect)

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Old 11-27-2012, 09:07 AM   #3
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Halle has a litter box in her great dane sized crate, although I prefer her to go outside. When I'm at work during the day, my husband will take her out on a regular basis, but she always has access to her litter box. Her biggest problem is that it takes the poop a minute to fall out of her hair when she goes - so while she pooped in the box, it often falls out when she gets OUT of the box.

She is VERY reliable through the night, but somewhat unpredictable during the day. When she's excited, she goes more frequently, and the simple thing is to just take her outside every few hours and praise her when she goes. She no longer wants a litter box when we travel - she wants to go outside - but I bring along the litter box etc. just in case the weather is rainy.

All in all, she will be a year old tomorrow and is WAY ahead of where I thought she would be at this age.
Sara & GCH Halle
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:39 AM   #4
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Its easier when you have a door that leads right out to a fenced in yard . If you have to walk out leashed and down stairs etc it is harder. My two love going outside except during a down pour. When I'm home they either ring the bell or bark. I have to leave them for nine hour stretches so they also have an indoor area its larger than most people would like but it seems to help stop accidents. I also leave them free during the time away. Here is my large potty area. I use outdoor mats with the rubber side up . I started with just the one mat at my new apartment then Zoey keep having accidents by the door so I added the second one and she is doing much better. She does get my bath mat mixed up with a piddle pad .
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Maddie at 5mo old
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