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Hello
I have a 12 weeks old toy poodle girl. She is smart and she is being potty pad trained since we got her home when she was 8 weeks old. She obviously did a pee and a poo as soon as we got her to our home, then we corrected her and directed her on a pad and I must say she is quite good. She had only 3 poo accidents. She had more pee accidents and I feel is getting worse. Today she peed on the sofa, I removed her whilst she was doing it so it went on the floor and she finished on her mat. She uses her crate as toilet, she doesn't use it for anything else. We got her a play pen so she can continue using the crate lined with potty pads as her toilet. But then in the afternoon I didn't allow her come on the sofa so few minutes later she peed on the floor whilst I was looking at her. And now in the evening she was sniffing around near the table and peed on the floor again. I don't know what is happening. I feel so stressed out as I never had a dog, my husband did so he is much better with her. I know she is very young but she seems to be doing the pee and poo worse than before with too many accidents. Is this normal? We give her so much attention, she gets millions of hugs per day. She is allowed in the whole flat. She sleeps by our bed in her bed. She gets treats and every training. She can sit, lie down, stand up, roll over, lift her paw on command etc. so I know she is smart and she understands very well. She is extremely hyperactive though, but then she sleeps. Her sleeping is not very deep, she wakes up on every movement and noise made, she follows us everywhere, she doesn't like being on her own. In the morning we put her in the playpen with open door to her crate(toilet). We introduced the play pen a week ago because we couldn't have her all around the place, she'd destroy everything, she pulls, chews, digs and all that stuff. Do you think we have done it all wrong with her? Or is it normal the potty training gets harder and harder as weeks go by? She'll be able to go out in 3 days. Because of her vaccination she was not allowed. Sorry for my very long post. I am just curious if you had similar problems or any guidance how to toilet train her properly. Thank you
 

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You need to start over from scratch on housebreaking since she clearly doesn't understand what you are trying to teach her. Two of our three dogs were housebroken without pads at all. We were diligent about scheduled trips outside (after naps, after meals, after play seesions). We made sure we learned their signals and took them when they told us they needed to go. Javelin never voided his bowels inside and only urinated inside once or twice maybe four times tops when we were in places that weren't familiar to him and he had not yet generalized that outside means always outside.

If your pup has been willing to void in her crate the crate is probably too big and probably hasn't been well enough cleaned. They should always progress not revert.

As to not taking a pup outside for housebreaking related to immunizations I just find that to be very regressive thinking. You don't go to dog parks or have play dates in the street with random dogs, but close to your home (yard space) for the time it takes the puppy to go is really not a big deal.

Not to make you feel badly, but most housebreaking problems are the fault of the people, not the pups, for all sorts of reasons.
 

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House training is challenging, for people, and for dogs. And most dogs aren't housetrained by 12 weeks! SInce it's your first time, do you have a reference you are using?

Might I suggest this reference, if you don't have one? Errorless Housetraining

I also HIGHLY recommend investing in a big bottle of enzymatic urine cleaner.
 

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And I'll share my favourite resource:


Please read it cover to cover (or download the PDF, available at https://www.dogstardaily.com/files/downloads/AFTER_You_Get_Your_Puppy.pdf) and have your husband do the same.

Your puppy sounds very confused, which could have lasting repercussions at such a formative age....but you can turn this around if you act promptly! Don't be discouraged, but don't waste any time.

Your puppy is clever and adapatable, and simply needs clear boundaries and guidance. You did the right thing asking for help :)
 

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Thanks for your replies. We live in the middle of London, in a flat, no garden so I can’t take her to the park as the vet said she is absolutely not allowed until 2 weeks after the vaccination because too many dogs on the streets of London who are not vaccinated and we would put her in danger. We have enzymatic cleaner, odor remover, every possible cleaning products, we scrub everything 3x before we let her back on the floor. Our flat is spotless and clean. She pees on the pads only once and I change it instantly. I don’t want her to roll in it or anything like that. She was very good until we got the play pen that maybe confused her. But not too sure.
 

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May I gently suggest not immediately changing the pee pads? A lot of what dogs do is based on smell. I'm in an aparmtent as well, and litter box trained my spoo until she was 5 months or so. Very quickly, she only really made mistakes when her litter was fresh.

If there's a clean house, and only urine smell on pee pads, then the pee pads will smell like the "correct" place to go. I'd also highly recommend not putting her pee pads in the crate - you don't really want to set that up to be a long term habit! Confine her in her crate (no blankets/mattress pad needed, as it will just confuse her), and then let her use the playpen for her potty.
 

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And I'll share my favourite resource:


Please read it cover to cover (or download the PDF, available at https://www.dogstardaily.com/files/downloads/AFTER_You_Get_Your_Puppy.pdf) and have your husband do the same.

Your puppy sounds very confused, which could have lasting repercussions at such a formative age....but you can turn this around if you act promptly! Don't be discouraged, but don't waste any time.

Your puppy is clever and adapatable, and simply needs clear boundaries and guidance. You did the right thing asking for help :)
Thank you so much for your reply and recommendation. I downloaded it and will read it now.
 

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Hi LMTP. I have a couple ideas. Buy doggie diapers, for toy breed females, either disposable or reusable. FYI for members with male dogs, you would use belly bands.

Next, take her to the potty every hour on her leash. Wait a few minutes and see if she goes. If she does, give her praise and intermittently, a small treat.

Or, you can buy a clicker for under $5 USD, and click it when she pees. This is called clicker training and may come in handy when you take her outdoors. Say something like "go potty" as soon as you see her circling to do it and click as she does it. She'll hopefully connect that specific command with the click sound.

If she does nothing or after she relieves herself, put the diaper back on, and try again in another hour. Dogs do not like to soil on themselves, and hopefully figure out the way to avoid this is wait until taken to the potty pad, and it's only for a brief time until she's immunized... or a bit longer until she gets the hang of it.

Good luck!
 

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Thank you so much for your reply and recommendation. I downloaded it and will read it now.
Enjoy! I've read it cover-to-cover with each puppy, but also refer back to it occasionally when I have specific questions or concerns.

Our only challenge housebreaking Peggy was with soft things on the floor, like blankets. I suspect her breeder used pee pads at some point, so it was an understandable hiccup.

It's also very important that the crate is only large enough for them to comfortably stand up and turn around. Any larger invites toileting on one side and sleeping on the other, but you'll learn all about that in the book.

Good luck and keep us posted! We love stories and pictures, too :)

I'm presently muddling through the chaos of adolescence with Peggy and love reflecting back on the puppy days, challenging though they were.
 

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You should not correct a dog who has an accident. It is always the owner’s fault, not the dog’s. Correcting will get you nowhere, she won’t know what it’s for and she might become fearful of you.

You have given her too much freedom. No three months old puppy should be free in the house. She should be on a leash, tethered to you at all times, except for play time, eating and sleeping and only if she has peed before.

Here’s when she needs to go :

  • when waking up (pick her up so she doesn’t pee on the way out)
  • after eating / drinking
  • after a nap
  • after playing
  • before bedtime
  • at night, if she whines (pick her up, don’t look at her, don’t pet her, just say the command word until she pees, praise calmly , pick her up and bring her back in her crate - make it as boring as possible)
  • every 2 hours
At this age, you will be taking her outside about 12 times a day. Toys are notorious for taking a little longer to housebreak. It might take more than 6-9 months to do. You never give up, and you don’t give her freedom until she can hold it for at least 4 hours, or you will have to start over again.

If you don’t have a crate, I strongly encourage you to get one. All dogs should be crate trained.

Good luck and post pictures of your little one !
 

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Other people have made some very good suggestions. I personally don't like pee pads. I think it can be a bit confusing for the dog to understand why one soft surface in the house is OK to piddle on, but every other soft surface is off limits. I prefer the dog believing it is never, ever OK to piddle in any location with a ceiling over it. However, I understand it's not always feasible for apartment dwellers to hustle a puppy outside.

I think you might find the situation easier to manage if you put your little girl on a schedule and watch her like a hawk. As Vita suggested, take her out hourly once you get vet clearance. She can't pee on your couch if she has an empty bladder. Don't let her onto the couch or any carpeted area unless she has just peed. Then only let her stay there for 20 minutes. More time than that, and her baby bladder will be starting to fill again. If you want to keep playing with her, move into an area with an easily cleaned floor until it's time for the next outing. If you are too busy to watch her, put her into her crate or playpen. Eventually you'll start to get an idea of how frequently she really needs to pee, and you can give her more couch time.

The other thing to watch out for is submissive or excited peeing. It's not the same as a housebreaking failure. My boy Pogo was pretty reliable in the house by 4 months. However, he would piddle whenever a stranger greeted him until he was 9 months or so. We just made sure to introduce him to new people outside. We also asked our houseguests not to play with him inside.
 

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You can purchase dog potties that look and feel like grass. I wonder if that would be a better option when you don't have a convenient outdoor toilet spot?

Example:

 

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May I gently suggest not immediately changing the pee pads? A lot of what dogs do is based on smell. I'm in an aparmtent as well, and litter box trained my spoo until she was 5 months or so. Very quickly, she only really made mistakes when her litter was fresh.

If there's a clean house, and only urine smell on pee pads, then the pee pads will smell like the "correct" place to go. I'd also highly recommend not putting her pee pads in the crate - you don't really want to set that up to be a long term habit! Confine her in her crate (no blankets/mattress pad needed, as it will just confuse her), and then let her use the playpen for her potty.
We pad trained our pup by leaving a lightly soiled pad for him to sniff. He smells it, then circles and does his business. Sprays that claimed to be urine scented did not work as well as his own scent.

He's 18 weeks now and has adapted to peeing outside with no problems. We still use the pads on rainy/snowy days. He has no problems using both.
 

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I agree with what Lillycd has said. Whenever I begin housebreaking a pup I usually crate train & have a pen in which the crate sits. I for the most part take them outside to potty and if for some reason I would use pee pads they would be on the opposite side of the open as a puppy will not want to potty in its bed. I also have them on a schedule. example feeding time:6am/12 noon/4 pm, during these first few week puppy spends a lot of time in crate when I am not holding or hugging it. LOL I learn the puppy schedule and I learn to anticipate when puppy will need to potty and I take them outside. When your puppy is sniffing around or circling she is saying I have to potty. Pick her up quickly and say outside potty. Then take her to the same spot each time and when she potties praise her or give her a treat or both. (I also take my pups on a collar n lead outside to potty, the seem to anticipate that means potty time and not play time). When you bring her in play with her let her have a drink but by 20 minutes know she will have to potty again. At that young age she really does not have control so its going to take a lot of time but first she needs to learn what potty even means. Our last small dog has a 8x11 piece of paper taped to our back door, we wrote down what she did each time she went out to potty and time. For example 6am p&poo, 8am p, 11 am, p 12, p & poo, she she ate at noon too and like a clock she went potty 15 minutes later. I alway giavethem some play time or holding after potty time before I returned them to the crate/pen area. Before long we didn't need those p pads as we had a good schedule. With a small dog they need to go out more frequently as their bladders are small, your pup is pretty young. There are several on this forum with toys and they can give you a better idea of how often you should be taking her out. I do find a schedule is an important tool in learning when your pup will need to go. And we love pictures.
 

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I still write out Peggy's schedule. Am I nuts? Probably. ? But I find it especially helpful when there are two or more humans in the household. Otherwise puppy might go out double or not at all! Same goes for feedings.

It's also been useful for connecting the dots with allergies or food intolerances. And marking Peggy's accidents down on the schedule immediately revealed a pattern, which was easy to correct.
 

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I agree with what Lillycd has said. Whenever I begin housebreaking a pup I usually crate train & have a pen in which the crate sits. I for the most part take them outside to potty and if for some reason I would use pee pads they would be on the opposite side of the open as a puppy will not want to potty in its bed. I also have them on a schedule. example feeding time:6am/12 noon/4 pm, during these first few week puppy spends a lot of time in crate when I am not holding or hugging it. LOL I learn the puppy schedule and I learn to anticipate when puppy will need to potty and I take them outside. When your puppy is sniffing around or circling she is saying I have to potty. Pick her up quickly and say outside potty. Then take her to the same spot each time and when she potties praise her or give her a treat or both. (I also take my pups on a collar n lead outside to potty, the seem to anticipate that means potty time and not play time). When you bring her in play with her let her have a drink but by 20 minutes know she will have to potty again. At that young age she really does not have control so its going to take a lot of time but first she needs to learn what potty even means. Our last small dog has a 8x11 piece of paper taped to our back door, we wrote down what she did each time she went out to potty and time. For example 6am p&poo, 8am p, 11 am, p 12, p & poo, she she ate at noon too and like a clock she went potty 15 minutes later. I alway giavethem some play time or holding after potty time before I returned them to the crate/pen area. Before long we didn't need those p pads as we had a good schedule. With a small dog they need to go out more frequently as their bladders are small, your pup is pretty young. There are several on this forum with toys and they can give you a better idea of how often you should be taking her out. I do find a schedule is an important tool in learning when your pup will need to go. And we love pictures.
 

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I still write out Peggy's schedule. Am I nuts? Probably. ? But I find it especially helpful when there are two or more humans in the household. Otherwise puppy might go out double or not at all! Same goes for feedings.

It's also been useful for connecting the dots with allergies or food intolerances. And marking Peggy's accidents down on the schedule immediately revealed a pattern, which was easy to correct.
This gave me a chuckle...we still have a paper hanging on the back door for our terrier. She is 8 years old now and fully trained but its really helpful since my husband wants to stay involved with her care (she is his dog). Otherwise he never knows if one of us has had her out or not as she will joyfully go out each time to run about!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
May I gently suggest not immediately changing the pee pads? A lot of what dogs do is based on smell. I'm in an aparmtent as well, and litter box trained my spoo until she was 5 months or so. Very quickly, she only really made mistakes when her litter was fresh.

If there's a clean house, and only urine smell on pee pads, then the pee pads will smell like the "correct" place to go. I'd also highly recommend not putting her pee pads in the crate - you don't really want to set that up to be a long term habit! Confine her in her crate (no blankets/mattress pad needed, as it will just confuse her), and then let her use the playpen for her potty.
Thank you. Our fussy little thing doesn't want to pee there if there is pee already on the potty pads. Sometimes we leave it especially if she only peed little bit. We do have the spray to aid peeing but she doesn't normally need it. She's been very good but somethimg changed in the last few days but today no mistakes. She doesn't stay in the crate because it's only used as her toilet now. She seems to like her play pen now. So I think she will mostly use her playpen and not much of the rest of the house unless she is getting trained or during play time and we'll see if she still makes mistakes. Luckily we have wooden floors, no rugs. And we stopped letting her on the sofa.
 

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Enjoy! I've read it cover-to-cover with each puppy, but also refer back to it occasionally when I have specific questions or concerns.

Our only challenge housebreaking Peggy was with soft things on the floor, like blankets. I suspect her breeder used pee pads at some point, so it was an understandable hiccup.

It's also very important that the crate is only large enough for them to comfortably stand up and turn around. Any larger invites toileting on one side and sleeping on the other, but you'll learn all about that in the book.

Good luck and keep us posted! We love stories and pictures, too :)

I'm presently muddling through the chaos of adolescence with Peggy and love reflecting back on the puppy days, challenging though they were.
Thank you for your kind help. Our breeder did not use pads, just let them do it in the small play pen and I think she was eating her poo when she was there. We clear up straight away now. Don't want to encourage her. Here are pictures of our little girl.
 

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