HELP!! Indoor Potty Training Issues with 18 Week Puppy - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-21-2020, 11:49 AM Thread Starter
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HELP!! Indoor Potty Training Issues with 18 Week Puppy

Our Duke is 18 weeks old and for now we've decided to solely potty train him indoors using a potty pad tray. We are having a few issues with this that I'd like some feedback on.

His setup is attached. We have his crate attached to an x-pen. A gray mat covers the carpet to protect it from any accidents. His gray potty pad tray (just a tray with the white potty pad inside of it) is at one end of x-pen from far from where his bed/crate is. His food bowl is across from that. At first when we got him, we had most of the floor of the x-pen covered in white potty pads except for the area where the food is. Once a week, we removed a white potty pad until we are now left with just one white potty pad and the gray potty tray. I believe this is called the 'gate' method of indoor training. The goal is to get the puppy to go 100% of the time on the gray potty pad tray - where he can see the white potty pad very clearly inside of it.

Initially he did really well with us removing a potty pad each week, but now what is happening is that 80% of the time he will pee and poop on either the gray potty pad try or the white potty pad just outside of it, but the other 20% of the time he will have an accident and go on the gray mat that covers the carpeted floor. I'm not sure if this means we are moving too fast and maybe we should add more white potty pads back to this x-pen? Every time that we see him go on the gray potty pad tray we give him a food related treat to reward him. We do not give him a treat if he goes on the white potty pad next to the gray tray because ultimately we want him going solely on the gray potty pad tray.

The other thing I've heard is that when initially training them, the x-pen should be small so that they don't have the opportunity to soil elsewhere other than the potty pad. We have the x-pen quite large so the puppy has room to run and play. We tried making it smaller but he hated it and I really hate confining him to such a small area so I'm not sure what to do.

Whenever we take the puppy outside of the x-pen to play with us, we take the gray potty tray with us and place it on the kitchen floor. We clearly show him where his potty is, but he almost always has accidents and goes either on the kitchen floor or on the living room carpet. He is not making the connection that the gray potty tray is where he needs to potty. Our dog does not give us any cues prior to peeing so it's very hard to catch him before doing it. We'll literally be playing with him and then next thing we now he's squatting and peeing at the same time, lol.

So sorry for the long winded post. By my two main issues are the inconsistency with using the gray potty pad tray inside the x-pen and the total disregard for it outside of the x-pen. It's been two months of training so I thought he would have 'gotten it' by now!!

Thanks!
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-21-2020, 12:48 PM
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Ricky Ricardo wasn't house broken until he was a year old. Sometimes Havanese can be a challenge to house break - for both the dog and the owners. We made every mistake in the book! Today he is extremely dependable and reliable.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-23-2020, 10:49 AM
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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!
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-23-2020, 10:57 AM
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Also, I know a lot of people use pads successfully and others believe that pads specifically are too similar to the feeling of carpet and other surfaces to work effectively. We had a lot of problems because our breeder paper trained, and I’m not saying that’s a terrible method, but it just didn’t work for us. We switched to wood pellets. I think the idea is if you want your puppy to go indoors, you want them to associate going potty with one particular texture and smell and location. Maybe some puppies “get it” with pads, but I do think some get confused between pads and carpet, or in our case, training paper and kids’ homework. You might have more success using the same method but with a different material. I didn’t have any trouble switching materials but my puppy did have a head start on indoor training before he came home. Maybe someone else can offer a more definitive recommendation on whether or not to switch and how.

Whatever you decide to use, I think decreasing the space is probably the key.
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Last edited by EvaE1izabeth; 02-23-2020 at 11:11 AM.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-25-2020, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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Goodness a year? The breeder told us a few weeks, LOL!! I think that's why we're a bit frustrated. Everyone has been telling us Havanese are smart and they pick up on potty training quickly, but now we're hearing differently. Oh well. It's a good thing he's so darn cute!
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-25-2020, 05:46 PM
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Did your breeder mean it takes a few weeks to teach indoor potty or for the puppy to be completely trained? I do think they’re different. I also think if your goal is for him to figure out the potty quickly, making the space smaller will make that more likely.

Indoor potty definitely makes it easier because it does take small dogs longer to be completely reliable. But it’s just one piece of potty training, IMO. As far as being completely reliable, a lot of people here will say to plan on a year before you let your guard down, because a lot of puppies have little setbacks around a year. That doesn’t mean the intensity will be like it is now. It gets easier quickly, especially if you respond immediately to any problems, and indoor potty also makes it easier. By 4-5 months I still had to take him out often but he didn’t have to go first thing in the morning anymore, so there were clear improvements and it wasn’t demanding. Mine felt reliable around 9 months but I didn’t want to take any chances, so I didn’t start relaxing until after he was a year old.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-25-2020, 05:48 PM
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Also, I do think Havanese pick up the idea of potty training quickly. I taught mine to use the potty tray in 3 days max, and he learned “go potty” really fast. But it takes longer for their bladders to fully develop, and because they’re smaller, it also takes longer for them to generalize their training from their expen “home” to the whole house.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-25-2020, 06:00 PM
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Last thing, haha!

Honestly, I do agree there’s a bit of urgency to your situation because he’s practicing going in the wrong place. I would make it smaller as soon as you can, until he’s only going on the potty. Since he’s going on the carpet, the more I think about it, I’d really consider getting rid of the pads and using pine pellets just inside the tray. A lot of puppies do have trouble distinguishing between carpet and pee pads, not just Havanese but lots of breeds. I think it’s part of why indoor training sometimes gets a bad rap. Pine pellets have a more distinct and unique smell (that doesn’t smell bad like pee pads can), plus they’re cheaper and easier to clean up. There are lots of threads about it here on the forum if you try searching “indoor potty” or “pine pellets.”

Also, the gray pad over the carpet, could it be harboring pee smell that humans wouldn’t notice but the puppy might be able to smell?
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-26-2020, 05:43 PM
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I am new here but we also use an indoor potty for 75% of Pippins potty needs(the rest is outside) Here is what I did. I had a small sleeping crate connected to a large dog crate with his potty pan and small area for toys (i did not have an xpen). Not much room at all and that is fine. He shouldnt be in pen 24/7
If he was out of the pen for anything I would take him to his potty pan every 30 minutes. I would tell him "Pippin go potty" and put him IN his potty pan. If he pottied he got LOTS of praise and treats. We repeated this for weeks! Pippin likes a fresh pee pad. If its too wet he will not go on it.
It took awhile for us to discover the "right potty". The pee pad mesh top holder did not work for us. We ended up buying the Puppy Go Here litter box (i found it expensive and tried to NOT have to buy it but in the end it was exactly what we needed). This gave Pippin a very well defined potty with WALLS. He wasnt half hanging out and missing the pan. I put pine pellets in the bottom and a pee pad on top. Some people suggest some kind of mesh topper over the pine pellets.
We recently added the Pro Pawty (brown cover thing) just to make his bathroom more discreet and less of an eye sore for us humans.
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~Victoria and Pippin
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-26-2020, 05:49 PM
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BTW Pippin still gets a cookie for using the potty. Note the bag of treats on his Potty
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~Victoria and Pippin
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