potty habits of a 5 month old puppy - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-30-2019, 11:22 AM Thread Starter
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potty habits of a 5 month old puppy

I started indoor potty training when my pup was 8 weeks old. But after 4 months, I had my doubts about this practice working out so I switched to outdoor potty training. I take my dog out often and she will pee and poop outside. However, she prefers to poop in the house on a pad. (Right now most of my living space with area rugs has been blocked off). I have been keeping a pee pad inside my pup's crate just in case I can't take her outside and while I am away. I would prefer that she pee and poop outside the house. I do not mind if she poops inside as long as she always uses the pad. My fear is that eventually she will poop anywhere in the house and not just on the pads. I have area rugs (too large to be taken up) that I fear will be mistaken for potty pads. Because the living space of the house is small, it is not possible to have the area rugs blocked off indefinitely. I worry that my pup has learned that pooping inside the house is OK. I also wonder how likely is it that my pup will only potty on a pad and not on a rug when I unblock them. She is 5 1/2 months old now. Is she still too young to be consistent with outside potty habits? Is she too old to break the inside potty habit? Is it possible for her to learn to only potty on a pad and not on rugs in the house? I use a pad holder with a grate. I'd be interested in hearing about the experiences of others.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-30-2019, 07:56 PM
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If she is using a holder with a grate, she is used to going on a grate, something that has absolutely NO resemblance to a rug. I don't think you will have any trouble at all, but she is still WAY too young.

I have 3 Havanese, ALL of whom use an indoor, grate-type potty (I happen to use pellets under the grate, but that doesn't matter) when the weather is bad or if I'm not home, but all of whom MUCH prefer to go outdoors. NONE of them have mistakes on our oriental rugs. But we didn't trust ANY of them until they were over a year old without constant, close supervision. When we started letting them in areas with rugs, we supervised VERY carefully, with full attention, and only one new area at a time. So, perhaps, The family room while we were in there with them in the evening. Then adding the bedroom just before bed.

I remember that the hardest room with each of them was the dining room because that is the room in our house that is generally used the least. Someone suggested after Kodi (our oldest) had a few accidents there) that we start going out of our way to play with him in that room and to scatter kibble on the rug for him to find so that he came to view it as "living space" not potty space. It worked with him, and I did the same with both of the girls to prevent problems there.

It is up to you whether you reinforce the indoor potty or not. Most dogs eventually stop using it on their own unless it is HEAVILY reinforced by the humans. But do remember that if you DON'T reinforce it, you can't go back later, and most people who let their dogs give up the indoor potty completely later live to regret it when weather is really bad, or when they need to be away from home for longer than expected in an emergency. I've yet to hear of a dog who didn't PREFER to go outside if given the option. It's like us and portapotties... we use them when we have no option... but we'd REALLY prefer a REAL toilet!
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-02-2019, 09:04 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your response. I wanted to share with you something that I observed the other day. I noticed my pup searching frantically for something in the house. She was running in circles as though looking for a place in the house to potty. First she ran into the bathroom and appeared to want to potty on the bath mat until I yelled "NO". Then she ran into the living area of the house where I have a crate with a bed and her grated potty pan. she entered the crate, ran over her potty pan and proceeded to pee on her bed!! I have no idea why she bypassed her potty pan. I have never seen her do this before. Why did she pee on her bed when she almost always uses her potty pan which was fully accessible, I wondered. Karen, have your dogs ever done something like that when they were younger? Any thoughts as to why this happened?
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-02-2019, 01:48 PM
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Thank you for your response. I wanted to share with you something that I observed the other day. I noticed my pup searching frantically for something in the house. She was running in circles as though looking for a place in the house to potty. First she ran into the bathroom and appeared to want to potty on the bath mat until I yelled "NO". Then she ran into the living area of the house where I have a crate with a bed and her grated potty pan. she entered the crate, ran over her potty pan and proceeded to pee on her bed!! I have no idea why she bypassed her potty pan. I have never seen her do this before. Why did she pee on her bed when she almost always uses her potty pan which was fully accessible, I wondered. Karen, have your dogs ever done something like that when they were younger? Any thoughts as to why this happened?
It sounds like she had gotten herself in such a state by that point that her brain was not fully engaged. If she were my puppy and I saw her struggling like that, I would calmly pick her up, carry her to her potty (or outdoors, your choice) put her down and yell her "go potty" (or whatever your potty cue is) Don't let it escalate to the point that you need to yell at her, or to the point that she can't calmly think things through. Most importantly, help her make the right choice. Remember that she is still young and learning. That frantic behavior is a sure sign that she needs help.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-02-2019, 02:47 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks again,

As soon as I saw her I tried to catch her but she moved faster than I could catch her. she peed on her bed faster than I could stop her.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-02-2019, 09:10 PM
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Thanks again,

As soon as I saw her I tried to catch her but she moved faster than I could catch her. she peed on her bed faster than I could stop her.
If she can get away from you, she has too much freedom for this stage in her training. That’s a common mistake people make with their puppies during potty training.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-03-2019, 06:41 AM
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Keep her confined to a smaller space than you have her in now. Use ex-pens and baby gates. Your eyes need to be on her most of the time, in the beginning. Do not yell, ever. When I forget, and yell, my dogs think I am barking with them. They detect emotion, and your unhappiness upsets them. So, stay calm and talk sweetly. This is the hardest part with a toy breed, it takes so much time and patience. Put potty training in the search engine of the Forum and you will learn a lot! Good luck.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-05-2019, 09:49 PM
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Kojo has been very erratic. He totally quit using his pee pad with grate in ex-pen two weeks ago (he was neutered 4 weeks ago) and preferred to soak his bed. I was washing his bed everyday. When outside, he sometimes potties, sometimes not. So happy to be outside, refuses to come indoors. I am putting him on leash now to prevent roaming and playing and get him back inside. Then immediately pees on my laminate floor while still on leash. Seems totally oblivious that he has pee pad in ex-pen. Just goes whenever and where ever he wants. I tried hourly visits outdoors but then he pees in 30 minutes in smaller puddles while I'm watching him. Then suddenly this week he started using his pee pad with grate again and quit wetting his bed while in ex-pen.

I got Kojo at 3 months old from a breeder that kept all puppies in crates and never let them out except for short play. So suspect his early habit of having to go potty in crate has a lot to do with it. He is 10 months now and still has accidents in house daily. But he sleeps all night in crate without ever an accident. He lets me know he needs to go by jiggling crate door and whining a bit. Gets me up at 5AM like alarm clock. After going outside, back in crate and I get back in bed until 7AM. I am thinking of keeping him in crate during the day instead of ex-pen so he gets in the habit of letting me know he needs to go outside during day. Not sure if he learns that in crate that he will transfer behavior in ex-pen. I only let him out of pen in living room where I am usually in recliner. If I go to do laundry or in other room, back in ex-pen.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 08:53 AM
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@Krandall has very good! advice.

@Nora and @LoveMyHava ... your puppies are too young to be allowed to roam around the house from room to room, because they are not realiably housebroken yet.

My - still - Puppy-Like Havanese will be 2 years old Feb 2020. Patti was closely monitored for a year before she had access to multiple rooms in the house, and even then she was gated off the majority of the house. Patti was trained to one room at time. When training her to the TV room, I put her on a leash, let her play on-leash and gated that room off. On leash, I walked her over to the potty tray to show her where it was. When she peed or pooped, I rewarded with a Treat and Praise. After a couple of weeks, I took the leash off in that room and had eyes on her to make sure she knew to go to the potty tray. I repeated the same procedure for other rooms.

During potty-tray training in new rooms: I put a water and a treat bowel by the potty trays. I'd occasionally put a treat in the bowel to encourage her to go back to that area. Later I established two permanent areas in our home for potty trays. One in an TV/Office room and the other in our MB bathroom and removed the other training potty trays. This all takes time and wasn't sudden.

I have ALWAYS had a Doggie Door with a fenced yard with my other dogs. When I gave Patti access to the yard and Doggie Door, in the beginning she preferred to potty indoors on the potty trays. But, now prefers going outside and only occasionally uses the potty trays.

We have a three story condo with no yard in the mountains and I was worried Patti might refuse to use the potty tray up there. Initially, she waited and asked to go outside but after the big snow hit, Patti started using the potty tray. Whew!!! I was not looking forward to having to walk her four times a day in single digit, snowy weather. In addition, when the snow is wet, it's a horrible mess because snow-balls cling and are impacted to her legs and belly fur. And when the sun comes out, melts the snow making mud puddles that's another issue. While, Patti loves playing in dry snow .. I Love not having to walk her on bad days, early morning and late evening hours.

Cats have always had indoor-potty trays, we accept that. It was hard to get my head around doing this with a dog ... but it's Super Convenient and has made life a lot easier having both options. My Doggie Door opens to the outside from our Utility Room. I would have put the potty tray in that room, but can't because we have another dog in the house and I sometimes have to block off that section of the house.

The home is carpeted in the small condo and I place a piece a linoleum under the potty tray, for the rare occasions Patti's butt is hanging too close to the edge to get everything inside.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 09:23 AM
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I had trouble with rugs and because I was paranoid I removed them for a short time. Basically I slowly expanded his area of freedom without the rug (not until 12-14 months in this particular area), then I put the rug back down. I blocked off about 2/3 of the rug for a few days and spent time each day playing and training on the rug so he would view it as part of his home and want to keep it clean. Then I removed the gate and kept playing with him on it for a few more days. This “system” may have been overkill but it worked, and after throwing out a few back door rugs, I couldn’t bear the idea of a large area rug I love getting ruined. The back door rugs were actually ruined when he was trained, those accidents were because he was waiting by the back door, telling my kids he needed to go, and they weren’t paying attention.

Your puppy is still young, but when she’s reliable in her current area, I would “introduce” her to the rugs. First take her potty. Move the expen onto one of the area rugs in the other room, make it large enough for you to fit in it with her, and play with her on it where you can supervise her closely and she can’t wander off. Not permanently, maybe once a day for a little while. Once she’s familiar with the space and you can see she doesn’t try to sniff around to pee or anything when you aren’t directly interacting with her, THEN start VERY slowly expanding her area of freedom in the direction of the rugs. I wouldn’t start expanding her area for several more months yet, but you could start introducing her to rugs for short periods with very close supervision as soon as she’s reliable with her expen.

A lot of people get focused on “inside vs. outside,” but that’s an oversimplification and not the determining factor of where a puppy will go. Mine will not go on concrete or asphalt EVER, but that is outside. I have found it to be more about the surface, and about which areas they consider “home.” If you never give her the chance to have an accident on your area rugs, systematically teach her they are part of her home, and that coincides with teaching her it is okay to go outside, she’ll get it.

Nails are a bigger danger to my rugs than peeing at this point.
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