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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I'm away and have to leave my puppy at home in his x-pen, what should I use for a toilet. I've read Ian Dunbar and know where to place it (as far away from crate as possible), but not how to construct it. His book shows a piece of sod, but not sure I want real sod with pee and poop soaked into the dirt in my living room. I have a sturdy baking pan (not used for baking) kicking around and it seems like a good size (18"x24"). Should I just cover it with puppy pads and call it good, or is there a better way? Should I remove it when he's in his x-pen while I'm at home? Thanks for the advice!
 

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I’m not sure about a baking pan, as your dog might be hesitant to step or touch metal. I would use one of those plastic trays we use in our homes to put our dirty boots and shoes on. The puppy pad will slip, so you could put sticky velcro on the bottom and the pad should stick to it.

Or, even better if money is no object, there are already made puppy training trays that will hold the puppy pads in place.

And last, I would not give access to the puppy pad when you’re home, as you’ll be taking the puppy outside every hour anyways. The goal is to get rid of the puppy pad as soon as possible. I wouldn’t use it at night either. Set your alarm clock to take him out twice for the first few weeks, then around 3-4 months, once a night should be good.
 

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Killa and Tekno
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I used a puppy litterbox and rolled newspaper litter and cedar litter with puppy pads hidden on the bottom. I really don’t like puppy pads or anything flat and rectangular because it teaches dogs to pee on rugs, towels, and blankets. I have struggled with a puppy-pad trained dog for 14 years now and with Tekno, I said never again! Lol


Petco has then on sale right now. I recommend this style of box, easy to clean and sturdy. You can also throw a piece of sod in it with a puppy pad underneath if you happen to change your mind about it. The box should be as large as you can accommodate because dogs don’t like stepping on their own waste and will avoid it if it’s too small and opt for peeing on the floor instead.

 

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I used a puppy potty tray and newspaper or cedar litter with puppy pads hidden on the bottom. I really don’t like puppy pads or anything flat and rectangular because it teaches dogs to pee on rugs, towels, and blankets. I have struggled with a puppy-pad trained dog for 14 years now and with Tekno, I said never again! Lol


Petco has then on sale right now. I recommend this style of box, easy to clean and sturdy. You can also throw a piece of sod in it with a puppy pad underneath if you happen to chang your mind about it.
That is a very good idea ! I don’t think it’s as much a problem with standards, but minis and toys definitely like to pee on soft bedding and rugs. But... I never use puppy pads (I’ve used newspaper or they went straight outside) when I train my small dogs and they’ve all done it. All 10 or 12 of them. I believe the damage is done at the breeder’s house and is imprinted in their brains as small puppies.

I do hope it works for Tekno though !
 

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Killa and Tekno
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That is a very good idea ! I don’t think it’s as much a problem with standards, but minis and toys definitely like to pee on soft bedding and rugs. But... I never use puppy pads (I’ve used newspaper or they went straight outside) when I train my small dogs and they’ve all done it. All 10 or 12 of them. I believe the damage is done at the breeder’s house and is imprinted in their brains as small puppies.

I do hope it works for Tekno though !
Oh he’s not using a box anymore, as soon as I saw that he was holding it, I removed the boxes from the house and started taking him out once in hour. I think past a certain point the box/puppy pads makes it where they never learn to hold it. I definitely have to keep laundry off the floor though to avoid accidents, hopefully after a while he’ll forget about the comforts of peeing on towels lol. Not to hijack the conversation but quick question, when did your toys become reliable? When were you able to give them the run of the house? Particularly the boys
 

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You are getting a standard pup, right? That tray would be way too small. You want something closer to 2-3'. I've seen people use a boot tray, although it would be nicer if the sides were higher.
I do love the wood pellets, they absorb odor really well and as others have mentioned you have less chance of creating a habit of urinating on soft surfaces.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes, I'm getting a Standard. I'm also wondering, if I'm going to take him out every time I'm at home, how will he know to use it (rather than on the floor in the x-pen)? Is it instinctive to go as far away as possible and then poo/pee there? It didn't even occur to me to use a litter box. The one linked (thanks @Phaz23) above is 20x24x5, do you think that is big enough? Should be good for starters anyway.
 

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You could use a couple of interchangeable pieces of "astro turf" instead of real sod. I used real sod in a tray and had it just outside the back door. Javelin caught on super fast and never went in the house (like seriously never). He was a summer puppy and gave really good potty signals. I hope any puppy I raise in the future will be so easy to house train as he was!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You could use a couple of interchangeable pieces of "astro turf" instead of real sod. I used real sod in a tray and had it just outside the back door. Javelin caught on super fast and never went in the house (like seriously never). He was a summer puppy and gave really good potty signals. I hope any puppy I raise in the future will be so easy to house train as he was!!!
I assume you're in an apartment. I have a backyard just outside the back door, so plenty of grass there. My concern is only for the times I'll have to leave him home alone in the x-pen for several hours (longer than he can hold it). Since I'm retired, this won't be very often.
 

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I used a litter pan as well - went and got an underbed storage box and put newspaper cat litter in it. That was more than big enough for my spoon until she was probably 6 months, and by then I didn't need it!

Make sure, whatever the thing you use that you 'seed it' with puppy urine (a paper towel from mopping up a mistake works well) so the dog knows that is an acceptable place to go (and clean up any other messes with an enzymatic cleaner).
 

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Will you be leaving him often? I had no issue leaving puppy Peggy in her crate for a couple of hours. She just slept. I tend to think of long-term confinement set-ups as more for extended absences, like if you’re going to work for the day. Otherwise I wouldn’t personally bother.
 

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I assume you're in an apartment. I have a backyard just outside the back door, so plenty of grass there. My concern is only for the times I'll have to leave him home alone in the x-pen for several hours (longer than he can hold it). Since I'm retired, this won't be very often.
Nope I have a fenced back yard, but I teach my dogs to potty on command and having a baby dog potty spot that was quick to get to helped with that and also let me know for night trips when he was young that he really emptied without having to try to see what was happening in the dark.
 

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Not to hijack the conversation but quick question, when did your toys become reliable? When were you able to give them the run of the house? Particularly the boy
I’ve had Yorkies, really hard to house train, Bostons and now toy poodles. Yorkies get it around 12 months old. Bostons are faster. My present male toy poodle, Merlin, was left intact at the breeder until 15 months old and allowed to do his business inside the house and in his crate. He had never been outside in his life. I neutered him at
16 months old and it took 1 year to train him. He is now 100% reliable, one of the best small dogs I’ve had. He is 7 years old.

His sister is not so reliable. She is like an ADD kid and will forget to do her business when she goes outside. She needs to be watched or else she might do it in the house during the night. She had an immature bladder as a puppy and was hard to housetrain. At 8 months, she was like a regular 3 months old puppy. Now she is 4.

To answer in a few words, I would expect a toy to be reliable at around 12 months old, if the owner has been really diligent, which most aren’t. I know you are.
 

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I’ve had Yorkies, really hard to house train, Bostons and now toy poodles. Yorkies get it around 12 months old. Bostons are faster. My present male toy poodle, Merlin, was left intact at the breeder until 15 months old and allowed to do his business inside the house and in his crate. He had never been outside in his life. I neutered him at
16 months old and it took 1 year to train him. He is now 100% reliable, one of the best small dogs I’ve had. He is 7 years old.

His sister is not so reliable. She is like an ADD kid and will forget to do her business when she goes outside. She needs to be watched or else she might do it in the house during the night. She had an immature bladder as a puppy and was hard to housetrain. At 8 months, she was like a regular 3 months old puppy. Now she is 4.

To answer in a few words, I would expect a toy to be reliable at around 12 months old, if the owner has been really diligent, which most aren’t. I know you are.
LOL yeah Tekno is getting it sloooooowly and we're going to keep him intact indefinitely. He used to doggy door, by himself, for the first time yesterday and I nearly killed myself tripping over furniture trying to get to him to praise him 😂. He uses potty bells very reliably when he's in the x-pen and keeps his x-pen spotless but out and about in the house, he needs a close eye 🔎 . Thank you for the timelines, I feel muuuch better about our progress.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Will you be leaving him often? I had no issue leaving puppy Peggy in her crate for a couple of hours. She just slept. I tend to think of long-term confinement set-ups as more for extended absences, like if you’re going to work for the day. Otherwise I wouldn’t personally bother.
No, not often. Maybe 3-4 times a month I might be gone for 8 hours or more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Nope I have a fenced back yard, but I teach my dogs to potty on command and having a baby dog potty spot that was quick to get to helped with that and also let me know for night trips when he was young that he really emptied without having to try to see what was happening in the dark.
OK. I get it now. I want potty on command too!
 

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@94Magna_Tom , Is it possible for you to move the pen into the kitchen? I ask b/c in the photo you have it on a wood floor. Whether you try a potty pad, astro turf, or to lay down newspapers, there's bound to be some leakage especially with a male puppy (if that's what you're planning to get).

If you keep the pen in a room with wood flooring, I recommend you go to a place like Home Depot and buy some inexpensive linoleum for kitchen flooring. They can cut to your measurement size, which should a little larger than the exact area you need. This will prevent leakage on the floor.

A Spoo is a pretty big dog even as a puppy. This means larger puddles. I routinely recommend potty pads for toys and minis, but for a large dog, one could easily go through 2+ pads per day which can get expensive. Thus I highly recommend you take puppy out every hour of his waking hours and kennel next to you at night. This can be exhausting unless you're in great shape. If he will hold it for two hours, that's even better, but you want him to learn that outdoors is the only place where he can go.

When indoors, tether him (tie the leash around your waist) so he can't sneak off and pee wherever. Have the attitude that his freedom to roam about must be earned. Use a clicker and reward with a tiny treat or his kibble every time he pees outdoors, in the beginning each time, then intermittently, and saying the words "go potty" or "go pee" (or whatever you're comfortable with) as he begins to do this, and remember that boys generally take longer to housebreak than girls but this training phase won't last forever. Some train extremely fast, others take longer in catching on. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
@94Magna_Tom , Is it possible for you to move the pen into the kitchen? I ask b/c in the photo you have it on a wood floor. Whether you try a potty pad, astro turf, or to lay down newspapers, there's bound to be some leakage especially with a male puppy (if that's what you're planning to get).

If you keep the pen in a room with wood flooring, I recommend you go to a place like Home Depot and buy some inexpensive linoleum for kitchen flooring. They can cut to your measurement size, which should a little larger than the exact area you need. This will prevent leakage on the floor.

A Spoo is a pretty dog even as a puppy. This means larger puddles. I routinely recommend potty pads for toys and minis, but for a large dog, one could easily go through 2+ pads per day which can get expensive. Thus I highly recommend you take puppy out every hour of his waking hours and kennel next to you at night. This can be exhausting unless you're in great shape. If he will hold it for two hours, that's even better, but you want him to learn that outdoors is the only place where he can go.

When indoors, tether him (tie the leash around your waist) so he can't sneak off and pee wherever. Have the attitude that his freedom to roam about must be earned. Use a clicker and reward with a tiny treat or his kibble every time he pees outdoors, in the beginning each time, then intermittently, and saying the words "go potty" or "go pee" (or whatever you're comfortable with) as he begins to do this, and remember that boys generally take longer to housebreak than girls but this training phase won't last forever. Some train extremely fast, others take longer in catching on. Good luck.
Thanks Vita. The "wood" floor is actually linoleum I already laid down from Home Depot ($90). Looks pretty good, doesn't it! It's wood underneath. The kitchen is an option too as it's already linoleum, but it's not where I spend my time. I will take him out to do his business once/hr and as often as shows a sign he needs it.
I will try out the tethering idea too. I like that! Thanks for tips!
 

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I did not use potty pads at all. Just took him out and when I was away he was in his crate. He never had a accident in his crate. I also would not use a baking pan the noise from stepping onto may scare him away from it.
 
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