Join Date: Nov 2017
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The method you are using is interesting! I never used pads and I haven’t used it myself but it makes sense to me based on my own experience, because my puppy was trained on paper by the breeder.
I do think I would back up and make the area smaller, the size it was when he was most successful. The most problems occur with moving ahead to expand space or allow more freedom when the puppy isn’t at 100%. If you want him to have more room to play, have him go potty and then take him out of the expen and keep him close to you by keeping him tethered. As long as you are able to monitor him while you’re doing this, you’ll have the added benefit of beginning to train him to the other rooms in your home while you’re doing laundry, watching tv, etc. Just make sure you return frequently to take him potty on the pad, and that he still spends enough time in the ex pen for the potty training system to work, and so he that he can handle separation. If he’s crying in the smaller space, I would personally still keep it small, but plan a few short blocks of “play time” a few times a day so he’s tired and relaxed when he’s there. When my puppy was little and I needed to work on something, if I planned ahead and played with him for 10-15 minutes before, he would completely crash. It always worked better for me if I worked on little training games instead of just playing (like name games). I think it made his brain tired instead of just getting him excited.
You could also try using the word “potty” (or whatever word you want to use) a lot if you haven’t already, when he is going. Mine started really recognizing the word around the age your puppy is now, when he’s been home about a month. It was a huge turning point for us, but it did take time between when he started recognizing the word and when he was able to actually implement it as an instruction. It was still a long process, but being able to put him down and tell him to go potty helped so much! Less waiting around for him to go, preventing accidents by having him go before taking him into a different room, getting him to go potty go at parks and unfamiliar places or before getting in the car, and keeping to a less demanding schedule long term.
Hopefully you’ll get advice that answers more of your specific questions!