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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2018, 10:26 AM Thread Starter
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Potty advice

We are bringing Ollie home on Saturday, and I thought my plan to potty train him was a good one. However, after reading a lot of threads, I am not so sure. Here are my thoughts:

We live in a high rise condo, so outdoor potty training would be very difficult. He has been using puppy pads at the breeder.

First, we plan to put puppy pads on the floor of his expen (he has a crate in there as well). Eventually, we will only put a puppy pad in a particular part of his expen, then eventually switch that to a litter box with a puppy pad inside. Eventually, we will move the box outside on our patio and teach him to go there.

We will have his expen in the living room until bed time, then move the whole setup to the bedroom, including the puppy pads on the floor/litter box (later on). Here is my question - am I just asking for trouble my moving his expen and puppy pads? Should I just sleep out in the living room with him so that his puppy pads are always in the same place? Or is texture more important than location? I also plan to do the "close confinement" crate training method and eventually want him to sleep in his crate at night. Is that a reasonable expectation? Help????

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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2018, 10:55 AM
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Have you read the threads about the indoor litter box? Our puppy was indoor potty trained by the breeder on paper, which was a huge problem in our house. DD sprawls on the floor in the family room to do her homework and even when we thought we were way past the problem, he would spontaneously pee on her homework. I’m sure most people don’t have paper all over their floor, but it just didn’t work for us. He would pee any time he found any kind of paper anywhere on the floor and look so proud of himself, like he was waiting for praise or a treat for outside potty, and it was so sad. The equine pine that is recommended in the other threads is so much better. It was really easy to transition to it. I sandwiched the paper, a small piece of paper towel with a dab of pee on it, and sprinkled pine on top. After practicing twice he had it and I got rid of the paper, practiced one more time to be sure with just the pine, and he was good.

If you’re in an apartment I’m assuming managing the smell is even more important to you because you might not have thousands of square feet between you and the smell of the pad. The pine controls the smell a million times better. It’s also a lot less expensive. Your only issue will be storage because it does come in a big bag ($5 at the store near me for a bag equal to one of those super huge dog food bags) but even if you give away half of the excess you will have enough to last months and months, so maybe someone near you is interesting in sharing for the same reason.

There are lots of threads from the indoor potty training pros here on the forum, and it sounds like you looked at them - definitely trust them! They really know what they are doing!
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2018, 10:59 AM
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I forgot - I moved the potty trays and didn’t have any problem, but it was a pain so I ended up buying more than one. I did show him where I moved it to and had him practice so he knew where to go. BUT - as far as where he sleeps, that’s sort of a separate issue, as far as whether to start him where you want him or slowly move him. The potty tray will follow him for now. I think most people will say to have him sleep where you want him to sleep when he’s an adult.

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2018, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks! I'm glad to hear that switching to the pine was easy. I really don't want to have stinky puppy pads in my house. I bought the SoPhresh pellets as we really don't have any space to store 40# of equine pine. We use feline pine for our cat but are able to get it in reasonably sized bags, and I really love how they work.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2018, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by ollie'smom View Post
Thanks! I'm glad to hear that switching to the pine was easy. I really don't want to have stinky puppy pads in my house. I bought the SoPhresh pellets as we really don't have any space to store 40# of equine pine. We use feline pine for our cat but are able to get it in reasonably sized bags, and I really love how they work.
There are SO many reasons not to use puppy pads. I'd switch sooner rather than later. I would NOT use "So Phresh" or other compacted paper, however, for two reasons. One is that it is so absorbent that you can't tell where they have peed, and it can get surprisingly odiferous. Second, the pellets stay whole and expand... alarmingly. I would worry that a puppy who swallowed some could end up with a BAD impaction if the swelled inside them. I tried them once and would never use them again. They scared me!

If you get a 5 gallon covered pail from Lowes or Home Depot, it will hold MOST of a bag of pine pellets. If you set up two litter boxes, you will use up the rest.

I also would not put puppy pads or anything else that the puppy thinks of as a potty surface over the entire bottom of the pen. The whole point is to teach them that some places are OK to potty, and others are not. If the breeder has done a good job, they should already have a good idea of that in an ex-pen-sized space. You want a surface that is waterproof and easy to clean under the ex-pen, not something you EXPECT them to soil. I've found a vinyl floor remnant of appropriate size is perfect.

As far as MOVING the whole thing every night... I wouldn't! That's a LOT of work, and the puppy doesn't need that space overnight, when he should be sleeping. Get a small crate (which you will need anyway) and put it beside your bed, where you can stick your fingers through to comfort him if needed. If he cries during the night and you think he needs to potty, be gentle, but all business. No play, no cuddles, take him to his potty, put him down and tell him to potty. (which he won't understand at first, but eventually he will learn the signal) Give him no more than 2 minutes. If he really has to go, he'll do it in 30 seconds!) Then put him gently back to bed.

Depending on whether the breeder has worked on crate training with him, he may fuss and cry a bit the first couple of nights. (though none of mine did) You can put your fingers in the crate to comfort him, but don't get into "conversations. A quiet, cheery, "Go to sleep" (or whatever you want to say) is all you SHOULD say. Depending on his age, he MIGHT need to potty once or twice at night for a week or two. By 12 weeks, almost all puppies are sleeping through the night.

We have a litter box in our bedroom, tucked between the dresser and the wall for the (very rare) times that one of ours needs to potty at night. In an apartment, you might not have stairs to navigate half-asleep, into the MUCH COLDER part of the house. So it might be convenient enough just to carry the puppy to the living area litter box at night. That's up to you.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2018, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for the advice, krandall! Really good to know about the SoPhresh pellets. We do have a small crate already and have it in his expen, so it will definitely be a lot easier to just take that into the bedroom. We haven't had a puppy for over 30 years and have had a long line of rescued adults dogs, mostly of larger breeds. I just want to do this right for my new little fellow!
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2018, 04:28 PM
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Oh I should have clarified, when I moved a potty tray I didn’t move it around all of the time- more like I would move it to the basement with his expen if I was working on something downstairs all day. I meant that the potty tray follows the expen, not that you have to move the potty tray wherever the puppy goes. He did seem to know it wasn’t that particular spot in the room - it was the pine pellets and the potty tray itself he should pee on. I never had a potty tray in my bedroom and he sleeps there.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-07-2018, 04:47 AM
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I had also considered sleeping with her in the living room. My breeder recommended that I have her sleep where her regular spot was going to be from day one. I was worried about it, but I followed a tip that Ricky’s Poppi gave, who had gotten it from Karen. I break up a couple of small pieces of dehydrated banans chip and place it on Zumbas’s bed inside the crate. She immediately goes in, I say “good night’, close the door, and cover the crate. She goes right to sleep. Not one problem ever. She gets those banana chips only at night, and she loves them. Last night, I had the bedroom door closed while we played in the room in front of it. Zumba kept going over to that door, sitting by it and looking at me. I know without a doubt she was asking me if it wasn’t time for bed, and those wonderful banana chips. She cracks me up.

Regarding the pads, I tried them a couple of times, only under the Ugodogg tray cover and only because I had been given some. But Zumba didnt like the smell. Same for the pine pellets. We went through one whole bag no problem, and then I bought the second bag. That is when Xumba decided to become very particular. There could be no smell of a used pine pellet in there if she was going to reuse the tray, which is hard to do unless I replaced the whole tray of pellets because the pellets turn to sawdust. I finally gave up - gave the pellets to my neighbors to use for their horses, and switched to newspaper (which is under that ugodogg cover, otherwise she’d try to tear it up.) So far, so good. She uses that when it is too rainy or dark to go outside. Lesson learned - you have to stay flexible. What is true today for your puppy may not be true tomorrow.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-07-2018, 10:19 AM Thread Starter
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I had also considered sleeping with her in the living room. My breeder recommended that I have her sleep where her regular spot was going to be from day one. I was worried about it, but I followed a tip that Ricky’s Poppi gave, who had gotten it from Karen. I break up a couple of small pieces of dehydrated banans chip and place it on Zumbas’s bed inside the crate. She immediately goes in, I say “good night’, close the door, and cover the crate. She goes right to sleep. Not one problem ever. She gets those banana chips only at night, and she loves them. Last night, I had the bedroom door closed while we played in the room in front of it. Zumba kept going over to that door, sitting by it and looking at me. I know without a doubt she was asking me if it wasn’t time for bed, and those wonderful banana chips. She cracks me up.

Regarding the pads, I tried them a couple of times, only under the Ugodogg tray cover and only because I had been given some. But Zumba didnt like the smell. Same for the pine pellets. We went through one whole bag no problem, and then I bought the second bag. That is when Xumba decided to become very particular. There could be no smell of a used pine pellet in there if she was going to reuse the tray, which is hard to do unless I replaced the whole tray of pellets because the pellets turn to sawdust. I finally gave up - gave the pellets to my neighbors to use for their horses, and switched to newspaper (which is under that ugodogg cover, otherwise she’d try to tear it up.) So far, so good. She uses that when it is too rainy or dark to go outside. Lesson learned - you have to stay flexible. What is true today for your puppy may not be true tomorrow.
Thanks for the great advice. I am going to try the banana chips. I hadn't thought about having a special "bedtime only" treat. That's a great plan.

I'm really hoping we'll find a box solution that will work for him so that we can eventually move it out to our covered balcony. Our last doggy used a doggie lawn out there and it actually worked pretty well but would get smelly in the summer and switching out the sod every two weeks was kind of a pain (she was a big dog so it was a large, heavy piece of sod). This forum is full of great advice. So glad I found y'all!
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-07-2018, 10:43 AM
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Thank you so much for the advice, krandall! Really good to know about the SoPhresh pellets. We do have a small crate already and have it in his expen, so it will definitely be a lot easier to just take that into the bedroom. We haven't had a puppy for over 30 years and have had a long line of rescued adults dogs, mostly of larger breeds. I just want to do this right for my new little fellow!
You'll figure it out... and we're here to help! They don't stay little for long, so even though it can be exhausting, enjoy the journey and take LOTS of pictures!!!
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