Thanks Karen. But a few more questions - how do they let you know when they have to go out? Rosie goes to the door and waits (for a second or two only) IF she's in the kitchen where the door is. If she's in a different room she has no idea how to signal. What did Pixel do? I wish Rosie would bark or something. Is there a way to teach them to signal? I assume it will get easier when her bladder gets bigger. For now she sometimes pees several times in an hour. She does stay in her crate at night for 7-8 hours so I caught a break on that! Thank you again for being such a source of information and strength to all of us. What would we do without your counsel?
It can take a LONG time for them to develop an OBVIOUS signal. With Kodi, he was almost TWO before he barked to go out. I used to joke that he didn't have accidents because I was so well trained!
Pixel scratched on the door from very early, so she developed a signal on her own. Panda's signal is pretty funny. She'll run to the litter box and stomp her feet in the pellets to make noise, then run to the door (because she's WAY rather go outside than use the litter box!
But she will also sometimes sit at the door and not make any noise... and Pixel goes and scratches on the door for her! In fact, if Panda is out and Pixel is in, Pixel will also scratch on the door to let me know that Panda is ready to come back in!
You CAN teach a lot of dogs to use a bell as a signal (though Kodi found the bell totally aversive, and wouldn't get near it) but usually it's best to train that AFTER they already understand about going out. But this is another reason I'm a big fan of indoor potties... It gives dogs the chance to be right, even if you miss their signals. With puppies who haven't developed a clear, purposeful signal yet, it's a matter of watching them like a hawk. When you see them start to get restless, or start sniffing the floor, it's a good sign that they might need to go. They can be REALLY quick when it comes to peeing, though. I know that. IMO, it can actually be helpful if they start to pee somewhere they aren't supposed to IF YOU CATCH THEM IN THE ACT!!! I would scoop them up with a cheery "whoops!" and deposit them on the potty, saying "go potty!" You might startle them out of going at that moment, but hopefully they wills tart to get the idea that that WASN'T a good place to go!
But it is SUPER important that you catch them in the act. If you don't notice it until after they have moved away, all you can do is quietly clean it up and say NOTHING.