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Metrowest, MA
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It sounds like you found a system that works for you! It may not be an issue since your potty tray is outside, but I looked at the fake grass trays because I thought they were kind of cute and a lot of members said they hold the smell of pee after a while, although you mentioned it hasn’t been an issue for you. Maybe because it drains and is combined with litter? I set up a makeshift litter box for my basement (my other boxes came with grates to contain the litter) and I wanted to mention that I tried a few different household items that worked well to contain litter - in case at some point you need a new “grate” and don’t want to buy a whole new litter box or grass mat. The one I liked best was rubber/silicone type gridded sink/tub liner. It kept the litter in place and allowed the right amount of drainage and was easy to clean.
I notice that she says she is using it out on a balcony. Maybe that, and the fact that her Dog is still a puppy is helping with the smell. We have put fake grass out on our Deck for Kodi in the winter, because at his age, he has trouble with the icey steps. (Hopefully, with his new ramp, we won’t have to anymore!!!) Even though I REGULARLY cleaned it with Parvosol, by spring it smelled SO bad, we had to throw it out… and Dave had to take it to the dump in the open back of the pick-up truck!!!

We have tried fake grass litter boxes and tried every imaginable cleaning product on them without success in the house. Maybe my nose is more sensitive than others, but it sure wasn’t a product I could live with!!!
 
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I can firmly support that you need to be diligent to keep up the litter box— we did both, but Jo preferred going outside from day one, and as soon as she figured out how to hold it and tell us she needed to go out, she totally stopped using the tray. We kept it out for months and then finally put it away when it became clear that it wasn’t going to happen.
At 4yrs old,totally trained on potty pads, now placed in liter box,she has recently been trained to go outdoors as well & continues both ways without any problem..
 

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We've trained some number of hundreds of Havanese puppies to litter boxes, and haven't found a better system for us yet. We start them at 3 weeks old though, so have no experience starting them later. They can run loose in our house at 7 to 8 weeks old, and not have an accident. Most learn on their own to prefer the outside, but will still use a litterbox if necessary.

Never had a problem with one eating too much of it, or even very much of it. Most will try it, but lose interest.

Look at any of our screened porch videos, and you will see young puppies using the boxes..
 

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I just went out on the screened porch and took this picture. The two litters of puppies have been out there since before lunch. If you look closely, you will see no puddles or poop on the floor. There are some poops in the boxes, but they've been sleeping for a while, and I didn't want to wake them. The ones in the picture only woke up when I went out there. They are 7 and 8 weeks old.

At this age, this is too much room for them to wake up in, and expect them to find the boxes. we let them fall asleep out there, and sleep for a while, but we try to bring them in while they're still sleepy to finish the nap in their sleeping pens.
Product Plant Interior design Flooring Floor
 

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A couple of those litter boxes were added as they were needed. When they first started staying out there longer, and longer, one puppy would pee on the floor where that back left box is, and a few days later that box in the middle was added for another puppy. That ended the peeing on the floor.

They had too much space to start with, but it's always a process of finding what works. Once the first mistake happens, something needs to change. They gradually, and gradually earn the right to more space.

When they first go home, the expen needs to have room for their bed and potty area, and no more. They don't "need more room". They earn the right to have more room, and if properly timed, very quickly as over a matter of days.
 

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New pup arriving soon. A few litter box questions…

1) How much litter to use? I bought a litter box with sides for the expen. I have read on here about people moving the litter box where the pup is playing, but I’m not sure how people are doing that since the litterboxes are so heavy once the litter is added. How thick of a litter layer is necessary in a box with sides (no grate)?

2) I can’t seem to add pics for some reason, but I might also get a litterbox without sides for the living room and found this huge one. (40x28) Maybe it’s too big, I don’t know. Do you think there’s enough room for litter under the grate? https://www.amazon.com/AQUST-Toilet-Protect-Training-AMT-1100/dp/B09R4JYFNV/ref=mp_s_a_1_7?crid=FLH4TR0ILUVL&keywords=pet+time+grand+dog+toilet&qid=1654614711&sprefix=oet+time+,aps,151&sr=8-7&ufe=app_do:amzn1.fos.08f69ac3-fd3d-4b88-bca2-8997e41410bb

3) Training help- Pup has no experience with litter from breeder, so I know it might not work- but any tips on how to get pup to use it? I set up the small expen like Karen suggested with just a step between bed and litter tray. I was thinking of placing a pee pad on top of the litter at first with a few pieces of litter on the pad and then slowly adding more until I can remove the pad?

I have had great success with the litter box. A HUGE piece of advice from one of the Havanese forums was to use bedding pellets from Tractor Supply. Not sure you have one near you - but this is so much cheapter than what is sold in PetSmart, etc. https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/tractor-supply-pine-pellet-stall-bedding-40-lb
 

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"I AM the Brute Squad"
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Fezzik still has a litter box in his expen. I keep thinking that I will take it out but every so often he uses it in the night. Then there was that one time he had an upset tummy. So glad that he used the litter box. I have one with a grate because he eats the pine pellets which I get from the local Agway.
 
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At 4yrs old,totally trained on potty pads, now placed in liter box,she has recently been trained to go outdoors as well & continues both ways without any problem..
Yes, same for me and my pup. He now uses pee pads in a box and also goes outside. The box is so convenient since I live in a high rise and we don’t want to venture out early mornings, especially in winter. Also, when traveling he goes right to the pee pad or outside now. Makes it easy and convenient. What a relief after months of worry (will he ever get this?) and clean up!!
 
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