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Discussion Starter #1
Hello!
Thanks for taking the time to read about my little angel.

My family has had a multipoo puppy since early November 2019. Maggie is now 8 months old and out family absolutely adores her, however, my wife and I are going nuts with her potty training.
We used the crate training method for about 3-4 months and thought we were on the right track. We followed the same procedure we used with our labs in the past. It worked well with them, we thought it would do the same with Maggie.

Well it hasn't, we take Maggie out regularly. We taught her to ring a bell when she had to visit the backyard. She will ring it and on occassion when we bring her out she will eliminate. We have a schedule we use to keep track of when she has to be taken out and in-between we either crate her or keep her right beside us.

We've been working at this for about 6 months and STILL, if she get a few moments away from us she will wither do #1 or #2 on the floor. Not necessarily a sneaky elimination but an elimination in the house nonetheless. It feels like she still has NO IDEA we don't want her to do this in the house. She's a very intelligent dog, our children have taught her many tricks in a short time but the potty training feels like a complete failure.

Any critique or advise would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Hi,

I'm asking since it's not mentioned. Has she been vet checked to make sure there's no underlying physical issue? It seems unlikely given that she is still doing both in the house.

In the absence of physical issues, the starting recommendation is to start the training over again as if she's a brand new puppy to you. By 6 months, most pups elimination systems have matured enough to physically comply, so she needs help understanding what's expected. It doesn't sound like you've been scolding and that's good. Poodle personalities are very sensitive. Scolding often backfires.

With my mini boys, it was outside every 2 hours on leash plus outside after waking, after every meal, after napping, after playing or exercising, after drinking, basically it seems like after just about anything for a few months, til they make the connection that their bathroom is outside. As they would start (finally) whichever elimination was needed, I'd sing out "go pee" or "go poop" for the verbal association and give then a treat immediately as they finished, telling them how wonderful they are and I'd do a small happy dance with clapping hands. That's called throwing a potty party :).

I didn't tether in the house since that wasn't practical with two, but they were confined to the two puppy proofed rooms that we spent most of out time in. If I left the room, they either came with me, or they went into their crate.

Ian Dunbar is a well respected trainer. Here's a link to one of his free e-books

and the whole site:

Are you using enzyme cleaners on the spots she's eliminated on? What size is she? When is she fed and how much? How much water is she drinking daily?
If you could describe in more detail what the crate training method is that you used, please? It sounds like you have an outside area so that helps. FYI, the bell training did eventually connect with my boys, but it wasn't til after they were housetrained.

This is fixable, and since she's a bit older, it should go faster. And just for fun, what's the "multi" in your Maggie?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My spell check changed Maltipoo to multipoo! She's part Maltese and part miniture poodle.
We absolutely use an enzyme cleaner to clean up her messes.
She is fed at about 8.30 an and 5 pm, 1/4 cup of door at each feeding. She's brought out when she wakes up at about 8 am and usually does both pieces of business.
She's doesn't drink very much, my guess would be about a cup a day. We've started taking her water away at about 8-9 ppm.

We would take her out every few hrs and if she didn't do her business she would sit with us for 30 mins then in the crate for 30 and back outside. We increased the time between taking her out by about an hour each month. Currently we take her about about every 4 hrs however she holds it at nite for about 8-9 hrs.l so holding it is not an issue. She has been to the vet about 4 times since November including a spay with no issues at all. She has a large area to play in the backyard but we do restrict her potty outings to a small area. She's doesn't seem away to do it in the house which makes me a little crazy, she doesn't understand that the house is off limits. We never get upset at her for doing it in the house and she is always praised for doing things outside.
 

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Our mini Normie is now 7 months. When he was about 5 months old, he would go into the breakfast room in the early mornings and defecate. (My husband was up with him but reading online.).

We talked about it and decided that it was more our problem than Normie's. So my husband started keeping a more careful watch on Norm. Problem solved.

Could you see that Maggie goes out far more often than every 4 hours? Go out with her and use whatever potty words you choose to encourage action. I can now say 'tinkle' to Normie when he's outside and he performs. He then comes in for a treat.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
We absolutely could take her out more often it's just frustrating that she can hold it for long periods at night but during the day it's so short. I believe she has no idea that the house if off limits for her business. We keep an eye out for her and we don't let her wonder off on her own in the house, at times she will do it right in front of us... We pick her up and bring her outside to finish and praise her.
 

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Holding it at night when asleep and holding it during the day are as different as, well, night and day. Humans work much the same, tho I'm a few years past sleeping thru the night uninterrupted :).
For now, your expectations aren't matching the reality of her elimination needs. Her system may just be slower to mature.
Try something different. Take her out on leash at least every 3 hours and after napping, playing or training or exercise, and after meals. Use your chosen go potty phrases as she starts each elimination and treat and happily praise.
As you take her to the door to go out, tell her why she's going out, and have her ring the bell each time, even if it it's your hand guiding her paw to do it. She needs consistency in the approach and to be set up for success. I'm sure she's not happy disappointing you.
 
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Thanks for the tips. We do everything you listed except for the timing. I will shorten her time between take outs.
She is great at ringing the bell and I suspect sometimes she doesn't just to go outside. We treat those bell rings as "no fun time" meaning we take her out, stand in one spot and give her 6' to do her business, no play. If she does it she gets lots of praise.
She has a habit of not doing anything when we take from out (usually for 10 mins at a time) and when she gets back inside she does it on the floor in front of us....those are the most frustrating times.
 

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That does sound frustrating.

I second what Rose n Poos said about day vs night. Very different holding one's urine while fast asleep vs while up and active. And the bowels don't typically move at night.

Some dogs tend to urgently potty after a burst of activity, so be mindful of this. If you're standing in one spot with her, she might not be getting the proper physical cues. This especially applies to pooping. Many dogs need a little physical activity to stimulate a bowel movement, and will finally be ready to go at the exact moment they're brought back inside. So start jogging out to her potty area to get things moving.

Since you said she's very smart, just a few mishandled accidents might have been enough to "teach" her to potty in the wrong spot. So let's work with that intelligence and really drive the point home: Pottying outside is AMAZING!!!! It's time to up the rewards!

Every outdoor potty gets her a favourite treat. This treat will be reserved entirely for outdoor potty, and she'll get it the moment she goes. Not once you're back inside. Not even on the way back inside. You can even place it under her nose while she's mid-squat. Outdoor pottying is THE BEST!!!

And if she doesn't potty, she has no access to the house once you head back inside. She is tethered to you or confined. Half an hour later it's back out. Repeat, repeat, until she earns her big reward.

You're back to basics with this. I know she "can" hold it longer, but that's not the point right now. The point is never giving her a chance, until she's learned the rules, to toilet in the wrong place.

Once she's gone three weeks with no indoor pottying, this system can be relaxed, but don't remove the rewards. I'd keep them up for a few months at least, and then make them random, but never get rid of them completely. They'll be useful in her senior years when these bad puppy habits tend to reemerge.

(I'll also add there's no reason to ever restrict water. She's not even having nighttime accidents. Imagine trying to sleep while thirsty? This just doesn't feel right to me and I'd encourage you to reconsider. It might even work against your potty training efforts, by causing her to overdrink when given the chance.)
 

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Oh! One more thing: Jot down the time of any accidents for the next few weeks. You might see a pattern emerge. This is how we established Peggy's potty schedule.

Many dogs, for example, need two morning toilets. One immediately upon waking, then another after they've been awake for a bit. This pattern is obvious if you track it, but otherwise can be tougher to pin down.
 

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Good points from PTP. I was thinking on your statement of "when she gets back inside she does it on the floor in front of us".

What kind of exercise does she get, when and how much? If you take her on walks, does she potty and/or poop then?

Of my two boys, Remo sometimes requires a prompt to remind him that he needs to go. We haven't leashed them in the backyard since they were pretty young, but I'm always out with them or watching so if he doesn't go pee shortly after going outside, we have what we now call his Pee Ball. Any ball will do, we keep several by the back door. They both go out, Neo will immediately get to the task at hand but Remo is very distracted. Birds, breeze, smells, anything. But, the boy loves chasing a ball! If he doesn't start in on business shortly, we grab a pee ball and throw it out into the yard. He races after it, stops and seems to suddenly remember to pee, as long as he's out there :). Other things follow, once he focuses. After they've both done the expected business, sometimes with a lot of verbal prompting from us, they get some free range time or play time with us and each other outside.

If Maggie is outside but with not much action to get things moving, then maybe a little action is called for. Take her out on leash if that's your preference but if she hasn't done anything in that 10 minute span, let her off leash and spend a few more minutes getting her active then see if that prompts her.
Alternatively, if you bring her in and she promptly goes, change things by carrying her in, wait a minute with her still in your arms, then get her right back outside.

Ultimately, since you're lucky enough to have a yard, being outside will have two meanings, business first and then playtime. The bells can be blessing and curse in the early days, but now that my boys are reliable in the house and get to go out frequently for short times thru the day, the bell ringing now happens only in the evening, to let us know it's time.
 

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I highly recommend reading the book "Culture Clash" - the section on potty training really helped me understand WHY we have potty training issues. It also helped change how I think about training everything else.

The challenge with potty training is to consistently not allow the dog to make mistakes - this is on you, not on the dog. Going out every 2 hours, and restricting access to spaces when indoors, and praising/treating heavily are the best methods I've found to potty train reliably. Yes, it's every two hours for now - not because the dog needs it, but to avoid giving her the opportunity for making a mistake. In a week or two, when she's reliable, you can slowly fade it to every 3-4 hours.

Remind yourself that your puppy is still a puppy - she has a much smaller bladder than your labs did (small breeds are notoriously harder to potty train). Also - think about yourself. I can easily hold my bladder overnight, but I am far more comfortable if I have access to the bathroom more frequently during the day time when I am up, active, and moving!

Is it possible that she has learned that peeing outside = being taken back in? I had that issue for a while, where my dog would postpone going because she didn't want to have to go back inside. I don't have a yard, so what I did was take her outside on leash, and the moment she peed, praise her and take her for a short walk down the street. This "reward" is higher value to her than the treats.
 

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Thanks for the tips! I've adjusted out timer back to 2 hrs... Fingers crossed.
 

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Hello!
Thanks for taking the time to read about my little angel.

My family has had a multipoo puppy since early November 2019. Maggie is now 8 months old and out family absolutely adores her, however, my wife and I are going nuts with her potty training.
We used the crate training method for about 3-4 months and thought we were on the right track. We followed the same procedure we used with our labs in the past. It worked well with them, we thought it would do the same with Maggie.

Well it hasn't, we take Maggie out regularly. We taught her to ring a bell when she had to visit the backyard. She will ring it and on occassion when we bring her out she will eliminate. We have a schedule we use to keep track of when she has to be taken out and in-between we either crate her or keep her right beside us.

We've been working at this for about 6 months and STILL, if she get a few moments away from us she will wither do #1 or #2 on the floor. Not necessarily a sneaky elimination but an elimination in the house nonetheless. It feels like she still has NO IDEA we don't want her to do this in the house. She's a very intelligent dog, our children have taught her many tricks in a short time but the potty training feels like a complete failure.

Any critique or advise would be greatly appreciated.
It is frustrating. I had a similar situation with my mini and so I started putting him back in his crate more. I made a big effort not to give him ANY opportunity to "go" in the house. After just a few days, it seemed to make a big difference. He's 5 months now, and I still have to be diligent about pee breaks and keeping a close eye on him. (During the day, he goes pee/potty very frequently.) But the "accidents" are getting fewer. Interestingly, when I had my German shepherd puppy, she was very easy to housetrain in comparison.
 

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Oh! One more thing: Jot down the time of any accidents for the next few weeks. You might see a pattern emerge. This is how we established Peggy's potty schedule.

Many dogs, for example, need two morning toilets. One immediately upon waking, then another after they've been awake for a bit. This pattern is obvious if you track it, but otherwise can be tougher to pin down.
Such great points. My Oliver has always been a double guy. He really needs some walking to get ready for the first poop, and then later in the same walk will do another poop. Same for piddles. At least two, but he's also a marker so really about twice and then he's empty and pretends 😂.

I can't recommend Culture Clash enough. Her chapter on housetraining is worth the price of the book alone.

Totally with you on the water. 24/7 with clean bowls every day.
 

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he's also a marker so really about twice and then he's empty and pretends 😂.
This made me lol. Gracie was a marker and would "pretend" her way through an entire walk if it was in an unfamiliar place. Gets tedious!

And Peggy will pretend when she doesn't have to go but I'm insisting. And then she looks up at me like, "Satisfied?"
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Update...
We take Maggie our hourly and the number of accidents has dropped off significantly. We also are spending a lot more time outside which also helps.

My concern is that she still has 2-3 accidents a week. If she is inside and has to go sometimes she will ring her bell and we will take her Doug with success, other times she will disappear for 10-15 seconds and BAM, accident.

The frequency we being her outside at has lowered the number of accidents but I still think she doesn't understand that doing business in the house is off limits.
 

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Congratulations on the progress!!!!

It sounds like she is starting to understand. My suggestion, if she is still "sneaking away" would be to institute a week or two of tethering/crating/playpen only inside, then slowly expand privileges, still maintaining "wow, what a clever dog, going outdoors, I am so excited, here is a great treat!!!!" to really reinforce the point. For a small dog, a house is a big place to consider all "home" and therefore not peeable. The idea is to not give opportunities for failure, and get her out of the habit of considering the house as an acceptable location. I also, if I catch a puppy peeing indoors, will pick them up mid pee and calmly move them outside. I dont scare them (so they want to hide the behaviour) just bring them to the correct spot.
 

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I understand your frustration and pain. Small dogs can be a pain to housebreak, to say the least. You can’t compare a small dog’s training to a big dog like a lab, it’s a totally different ball game.

Beckie, my toy poodle, was very hard to housebreak. At 8 months old, like your dog, she was at the same level as a 3-4 months old small breed would be. You could not trust her as she would just sit and go anywhere. She had an immature bladder, as I suspect your dog probably also does.

Don’t rely on her ringing the bell. This process might take many months still. Have realistic expectations, like maybe when she’s around 1 year of age she will be a lot better. Until then take her outside every two hours and make sure she is crated when you can’t watch her. I kept Beckie on a leash inside the house for a very long time.

Be confident you will achieve this if you take the time, and most of all, if you don’t give up. People who have small dogs who soil the house are the ones who have given up.

Also, you need to know that most, if not all, small dogs will use carpet and soft bedding to potty in the house, even when they’re solidly trained. All my dogs have done so and I haven’t found a way around this, except having no carpet, towels, etc. lying around on the floor. I think it’s because that’s what they were taught at a very young age and it stays imprinted in their brain. As where bigger dogs needed to go outside faster because the mess is bigger and it stinks, so they are imprinted on grass more.
 
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