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👋 Hi. I have a 12-week-old poodle who keeps going potty/poop in the house. We take him outside once an hour and during the day we leave the glass sliding doors to our yard wide open. Oftentimes, we take him out and he'll just lay on grass and lounge 😎 but won't go. Then a few minutes after coming back inside, I'll see a puddle of urine on my floors. Am I doing something wrong? Any tips? I do praise and offer him a treat when he does go outside.

My husband thinks the dogs owns the house and doesn't spend enough time outside. Please help!

Jessica
 

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My 9 week old seemingly has no connection between her brain and bladder, but it will come one day. My only tip is to not let puppy lounge. I walk and puppy walks with me, which eventually triggers the “oh I DO have to pee”.
 
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That happened like 5-8 times to us LOL. Your not doing anything wrong. We don't expect babies to pop out of the womb to have bowl control... Same idea with puppies. Your fluff ball is still trying to connect the dots.

It's easy to forget that poodles are people pleasers. So, you need to bump up your level of enthusiasm a notch. Sometimes we let off the gas when it comes to praise and we need to press down harder. Like, if you had a human child who scored their first goal or you were front seat to an acdc concert. Be that excited.

Secondly, treats. 5 pennies are more valuable then 1 nickel. What's that mean. Instead of giving one higher value treats, give 3-5 lower value treats back to back to back when Mom or Dad is REALLY happy. Whatever training treats your using would suffice.

Note: too many treats can lead to a stomach ache or diarrhea, so remember to ease into any sudden dietary changes.

Restart there.... Fundamental stuff.

It'll get easier I promise around 24 weeks old, if not sooner. You should still buy a family pack of paper towels from Costco and carpet pee spray.
 

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If you haven't got it yet, grab a copy of Before and After You Get Your Puppy by Ian Dunbar. You can download it for free from the Sirius Dog Star Daily web site. It gives lots of useful information about potty training and a lot of other puppy topics. Your boy will only be a puppy for a short while, and some of the key training and socialization windows are passing rapidly. The habits formed now will govern the next decade with your dog. I think your husband is dead wrong about the puppy needing more yard time if you are already putting the puppy out every hour. Confining a highly intelligent, highly sociable breed like a poodle to the yard is just going to cause you troubles in the future. Your dog will turn into a bored behavioral mess, your neighbors will probably complain at the reactive barking, and nobody will be happy. So, stand firm and don't let your husband tell you that you need to keep the puppy in the yard.

Addressing the potty training topic itself, I suspect you are giving him too much freedom for his developmental stage. Some dogs get the hang of potty training faster than others. It's just the way it is. My old boy Pogo was a prodigy and was housebroken at four months; his brother Snarky was trying but not in control at five months; my current dog Galen was to all indications completely clueless until over six months. I find that housebreaking tends to coincide with when the puppy starts lifting his leg to pee. That's when he is physically mature enough to understand the sensations and control his bladder.

So, for now, don't let your puppy wander loose in the house. Keep him barricaded in an X-pen or attached to you via a leash when he's inside. I'm using a Toddleroo Play Yard, because I really like the sturdy metal bars and the step through gate, but other people have other preferences. For my current puppy, Ritter, I'm using a waterproof picnic blanket to protect the floors under the X-pen. They are available on Amazon for around $25. He doesn't shred the blanket the way he would shred pee pads.

Continue what you are doing, and take him out hourly with praise afterwards. Read Ian Dunbar for more details. Additionally, I find it sometimes helps to keep one or two pieces of poop in the designated potty spot, to remind the puppy that the spot is indeed the potty spot. Also, I find that exercise usually encourages the puppy to pee and poop. Whenever I see my puppy going into play or zoomies mode indoors, I hustle him outside. The exercise is almost guaranteed to result in a puddle a few minutes later. Immediately after eating and immediately after waking from a nap are other times when puppies tend to pee and poop.

Finally, avoid scolding or punishing the puppy for peeing and pooping inside at this age. Twelve weeks is still much too young for the puppy to control himself. Punishment at this age won't teach the puppy to wait until he can go outside to pee, but you might teach the puppy to hide out of view behind the couch. That's not a habit you want to start!

I only start correcting puppies for inappropriate peeing when they are much older, 8 months at minimum, and have firmly grasped the concept of housebreaking. At that point it is reasonable to start explaining to the puppy that he's not allowed to pee on a display in Petco. I do it with a simple "eh eh" and a tug of the leash when I see him sniffing and shifting his weight; I do not wait until his hind leg goes up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you haven't got it yet, grab a copy of Before and After You Get Your Puppy by Ian Dunbar. You can download it for free from the Sirius Dog Star Daily web site. It gives lots of useful information about potty training and a lot of other puppy topics. Your boy will only be a puppy for a short while, and some of the key training and socialization windows are passing rapidly. The habits formed now will govern the next decade with your dog. I think your husband is dead wrong about the puppy needing more yard time if you are already putting the puppy out every hour. Confining a highly intelligent, highly sociable breed like a poodle to the yard is just going to cause you troubles in the future. Your dog will turn into a bored behavioral mess, your neighbors will probably complain at the reactive barking, and nobody will be happy. So, stand firm and don't let your husband tell you that you need to keep the puppy in the yard.

Addressing the potty training topic itself, I suspect you are giving him too much freedom for his developmental stage. Some dogs get the hang of potty training faster than others. It's just the way it is. My old boy Pogo was a prodigy and was housebroken at four months; his brother Snarky was trying but not in control at five months; my current dog Galen was to all indications completely clueless until over six months. I find that housebreaking tends to coincide with when the puppy starts lifting his leg to pee. That's when he is physically mature enough to understand the sensations and control his bladder.

So, for now, don't let your puppy wander loose in the house. Keep him barricaded in an X-pen or attached to you via a leash when he's inside. I'm using a Toddleroo Play Yard, because I really like the sturdy metal bars and the step through gate, but other people have other preferences. For my current puppy, Ritter, I'm using a waterproof picnic blanket to protect the floors under the X-pen. They are available on Amazon for around $25. He doesn't shred the blanket the way he would shred pee pads.

Continue what you are doing, and take him out hourly with praise afterwards. Read Ian Dunbar for more details. Additionally, I find it sometimes helps to keep one or two pieces of poop in the designated potty spot, to remind the puppy that the spot is indeed the potty spot. Also, I find that exercise usually encourages the puppy to pee and poop. Whenever I see my puppy going into play or zoomies mode indoors, I hustle him outside. The exercise is almost guaranteed to result in a puddle a few minutes later. Immediately after eating and immediately after waking from a nap are other times when puppies tend to pee and poop.

Finally, avoid scolding or punishing the puppy for peeing and pooping inside at this age. Twelve weeks is still much too young for the puppy to control himself. Punishment at this age won't teach the puppy to wait until he can go outside to pee, but you might teach the puppy to hide out of view behind the couch. That's not a habit you want to start!

I only start correcting puppies for inappropriate peeing when they are much older, 8 months at minimum, and have firmly grasped the concept of housebreaking. At that point it is reasonable to start explaining to the puppy that he's not allowed to pee on a display in Petco. I do it with a simple "eh eh" and a tug of the leash when I see him sniffing and shifting his weight; I do not wait until his hind leg goes up.
Wow, thank you for all this information! Very valueable. Maybe I'm expecting too much, too soon. My husband and I definitely disagree on how to raise our poodle and he is more of the type who tells me not to forget that he is a dog and thinks I'm babying him too much. I have already read the book but perhaps I need a refresher. I am following most of the tips in the book other than I messed up and gave my dog free run of the house instead of allowing him access to rooms as he is more trust worthy. That and my 14-year old keeps sneaking him into his room at night and cuddling with him on his bed!!! I'm going to be a bit more enthusiastic when I praise and remember to treat him when he goes as I don't always do so if it's late at night or early in the morning. Thank you for the tips everyone!
 

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I am following most of the tips in the book other than I messed up and gave my dog free run of the house instead of allowing him access to rooms as he is more trust worthy.
This will significantly hinder housetraining. Your puppy doesn’t yet recognize the whole house as his “home” and therefore will have no issue with pottying indoors. Granting access slowly will help him to understand: “Okay, this small area is my home; no soiling here.” Then you slowly grow that small area, making sure he understands the new boundaries before you grow it again.

It’s also important that your whole household get on the same page, especially with a clever breed like a poodle who is constantly learning whether you think you’re training him or not.

Think of it like you’re trying to teach your puppy a new language. If one person tells him “this means this” and another person tells him “this actually means THAT,” that’s stressful for your puppy and frustrating for the humans who don’t understand why he’s not catching on fast enough. Clarity and consistency are key. Taking a puppy class together can be a big help. But at the very least, everyone in the household should read the puppy manual you’ve decided to follow. (Ian Dunbar’s is overwhelmingly the best, in my opinion.)
 

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All of the above:

Restrict access when not directly engaging with Puppy, either by tethering, crating, ex-pen or baby gates until your little one is able to understand and recognize they have the urge to go.
(This also keeps him safe and out of trouble when not under immediate supervision. Regular separate, quiet time will not only help him to get the rest he needs at this young age, but might help reduce the possibility of separation anxiety if it's part of the daily routine.)
It's around 4 months old when they really start to connect those dots, "oh my person wants me to do potty outside!".
It's around 6 months that they'll not only recognize the need but have the neuromuscular control to be able to hold it until their need is recognized by the humans.

Routine to catch Puppy before the accident happens is
Out hourly from wake up to bedtime for a little while yet.
Also, after eating, drinking, napping, playing, training, exercising, basically after anything :)
If you can recognize their "tell", that's very helpful. Does Puppy circle and sniff? head off somewhere?
Human infants were mentioned above as the perfect example. Puppies just catch on sooner since they mature faster.

Rather than free access to the yard, take Puppy out on a leash and stay with him til business is done. Walk around, trot around, but get him moving. Help him learn what's expected, don't wait for him to catch on.
If you've been out a while and nothing has happened, you could take him back in but keep the leash on and go right back out in a few minutes. A member suggested counting how many seconds it takes for Puppy to fully empty his bladder. If you're outside and he doesn't go the full second count, stay out a bit longer, walk or jog around again.
If you want to keep business to a dedicated area, now is the time to start that by taking him to that area. A simple Good Boy when he starts voiding and Party with Treats after finishing.
If you want to train him to signal that he needs to go out by ringing bells hanging from the door, now's the time. There are several ways to do that. There's a recent thread on this.
If you want to train potty on command (very useful) now's the time. When he starts voiding say a Go Potty phrase of your choice along with a Good Boy. Party with Treats comes after finishing.
The exception to Party Time is middle of the night outings. A quiet "good boy" and a quick treat is in order but keep this time very low key.

It might take a while for your husband to come on board but poodles aren't just a dog. They're considered the second smartest breed of dog and their behavior can seem very human-like. If your husband doesn't succumb at some point, he's in the minority :).

It's not a question of spending more time outside, it's spending time being engaged and being shown what his humans want or need him to do. Leaving him to figure it out for himself and not teach him what's expected just isn't fair :).

If you're looking for some additional, structured ideas on how to spend a few minutes several times a day, consider teaching the requirements for a Canine Good Citizen award (nope, not too young to learn). Of course, one at a time and over a period of time, unless you have a star learner :).
This is great bonding time.

Canine Good Citizen (CGC) – American Kennel Club (akc.org)
Take the Test – American Kennel Club (akc.org)

another option is Trick Dog
AKC Trick Dog – American Kennel Club
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
All of the above:

Restrict access when not directly engaging with Puppy, either by tethering, crating, ex-pen or baby gates until your little one is able to understand and recognize they have the urge to go.
(This also keeps him safe and out of trouble when not under immediate supervision. Regular separate, quiet time will not only help him to get the rest he needs at this young age, but might help reduce the possibility of separation anxiety if it's part of the daily routine.)
It's around 4 months old when they really start to connect those dots, "oh my person wants me to do potty outside!".
It's around 6 months that they'll not only recognize the need but have the neuromuscular control to be able to hold it until their need is recognized by the humans.

Routine to catch Puppy before the accident happens is
Out hourly from wake up to bedtime for a little while yet.
Also, after eating, drinking, napping, playing, training, exercising, basically after anything :)
If you can recognize their "tell", that's very helpful. Does Puppy circle and sniff? head off somewhere?
Human infants were mentioned above as the perfect example. Puppies just catch on sooner since they mature faster.

Rather than free access to the yard, take Puppy out on a leash and stay with him til business is done. Walk around, trot around, but get him moving. Help him learn what's expected, don't wait for him to catch on.
If you've been out a while and nothing has happened, you could take him back in but keep the leash on and go right back out in a few minutes. A member suggested counting how many seconds it takes for Puppy to fully empty his bladder. If you're outside and he doesn't go the full second count, stay out a bit longer, walk or jog around again.
If you want to keep business to a dedicated area, now is the time to start that by taking him to that area. A simple Good Boy when he starts voiding and Party with Treats after finishing.
If you want to train him to signal that he needs to go out by ringing bells hanging from the door, now's the time. There are several ways to do that. There's a recent thread on this.
If you want to train potty on command (very useful) now's the time. When he starts voiding say a Go Potty phrase of your choice along with a Good Boy. Party with Treats comes after finishing.
The exception to Party Time is middle of the night outings. A quiet "good boy" and a quick treat is in order but keep this time very low key.

It might take a while for your husband to come on board but poodles aren't just a dog. They're considered the second smartest breed of dog and their behavior can seem very human-like. If your husband doesn't succumb at some point, he's in the minority :).

It's not a question of spending more time outside, it's spending time being engaged and being shown what his humans want or need him to do. Leaving him to figure it out for himself and not teach him what's expected just isn't fair :).

If you're looking for some additional, structured ideas on how to spend a few minutes several times a day, consider teaching the requirements for a Canine Good Citizen award (nope, not too young to learn). Of course, one at a time and over a period of time, unless you have a star learner :).
This is great bonding time.

Canine Good Citizen (CGC) – American Kennel Club (akc.org)
Take the Test – American Kennel Club (akc.org)

another option is Trick Dog
AKC Trick Dog – American Kennel Club
Wow, thank you for all this. I looked at the requirements For the canine good citizen and it made me realize quite a few things. First and foremost I still have some things I need to do is an owner for my pup, such as get him a name tag 🤦‍♀️ I can't believe I haven't done that yet. With 3 kids and just recently having moved it's really easy to get off track with the training and keeping up with the mental stimulation of the pup.
Yesterday I started limiting his access to the house and keeping him in the cage more and although he cries a lot, it is making my life easier in terms of him not trying take my toddler's food away. He is also napping more, Now I just have to teach my toddlers to stop opening His cage and taunting him!!


I took him out 3 times last night with no luck however I did use a leash and get him to stop lounging on the grass and kept him moving around. I have my treats ready in my pocket I'm just waiting for him to "go potty."

Thank you so much for all of the helpful tips!
 

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Do you have the option of attending a puppy training class with your 14 year old? I'm thinking it might help solve several problems at once. First, it will help get you and the 14 year old on the same page regarding expectations. (Sell it to the kid as "wouldn't it be really cool if you could bring this puppy all the way to a trick dog title and make some amazing TikTok videos.") Second, having the 14 year old backing you up might help you get your husband in line: "The dog trainer said we have to do it this way." (Sell it to your husband as, "isn't it lovely the kid is responsibly training the dog instead of getting into trouble.) And finally, of course, your puppy gets more handling and training.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Do you have the option of attending a puppy training class with your 14 year old? I'm thinking it might help solve several problems at once. First, it will help get you and the 14 year old on the same page regarding expectations. (Sell it to the kid as "wouldn't it be really cool if you could bring this puppy all the way to a trick dog title and make some amazing TikTok videos.") Second, having the 14 year old backing you up might help you get your husband in line: "The dog trainer said we have to do it this way." (Sell it to your husband as, "isn't it lovely the kid is responsibly training the dog instead of getting into trouble.) And finally, of course, your puppy gets more handling and training.
I know my 14-year old would love that and be all for it. I am going to look into it this week.

Any tips on dog grooming? I tried to unsuccessfully today. My pup wouldn't let me get near his face. I kept holding his mouth shut and and trying but he wasn't having it. I offered treats but no luck!
 

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Any tips on dog grooming? I tried to unsuccessfully today. My pup wouldn't let me get near his face. I kept holding his mouth shut and and trying but he wasn't having it. I offered treats but no luck!
Set the bar lower.

Restart from square one - reward for just touching his face with the trimmer treat.

Initially, I found the lips and below the nose the most ticklish/sensitive for Basil. So, I tried that last.

Try starting with the cheek area and between the ears & eye. Treat

Try the snoot and between the eyes Treat

Maybe take a break and come back to it later.

Small steps with more breaks. Remember they have small attention spans.

It's totally normal for your pup to look like Mom took a weed whacker to his face. Everyone's first few times look like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Set the bar lower.

Restart from square one - reward for just touching his face with the trimmer treat.

Initially, I found the lips and below the nose the most ticklish/sensitive for Basil. So, I tried that last.

Try starting with the cheek area and between the ears & eye. Treat

Try the snoot and between the eyes Treat

Maybe take a break and come back to it later.

Small steps with more breaks. Remember they have small attention spans.

It's totally normal for your pup to look like Mom took a weed whacker to his face. Everyone's first few times look like that.
Hahaha good to know! Thanks!! I'll post a pic soon!
 

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Did the breeder do some grooming before you took him home? Most, but not all, do several FFT sessions to help the puppies acclimate before they start to learn to be fearful of unfamiliar things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Did the breeder do some grooming before you took him home? Most, but not all, do several FFT sessions to help the puppies acclimate before they start to learn to be fearful of unfamiliar things.
Yes, the breeder did but his hair has grown quite long since then and I cannot take him to get groomed yet since he is not fully vaccinated. I was successful in giving him a trim but he still wouldn't let me near the face. The body took a long time and my son had to hand feed him chicken...and that is how we got him to stay put. Once the chicken was gone, he stopped letting me buzz his hair.
 

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my son had to hand feed him chicken...and that is how we got him to stay put. Once the chicken was gone, he stopped letting me buzz his hair.
That sounds pretty normal. It's great that you have a teammate and chicken to help him learn to accept grooming :). Little bits at a time to help him adjust.

If you have or can get some scissors with rounded tips, you might be able to scissor some off his face. These are available at Petco. Just something to get you thru for a bit. If you think you might ever do some in-between FFT's then you might invest in some better scissors.

Something like these for short term
477903
 
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Baby steps. :) Call and speak with your chosen groomer to get some tips in advance of your first appintment (which I’d imagine will be quite soon). Ours only wanted us to turn on the clippers for a few seconds, touch the handle gently to Peggy, and then treat. Then go play!

It’s much easier for an experienced groomer to project the gentle confidence needed to make progress with a nervous puppy. You don’t want to do anything to poison the sight of the clippers so focus on keeping things short and sweet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Baby steps. :) Call and speak with your chosen groomer to get some tips in advance of your first appintment (which I’d imagine will be quite soon). Ours only wanted us to turn on the clippers for a few seconds, touch the handle gently to Peggy, and then treat. Then go play!

It’s much easier for an experienced groomer to project the gentle confidence needed to make progress with a nervous puppy. You don’t want to do anything to poison the sight of the clippers so focus on keeping things short and sweet.
Great advice! Thst makes toral sense. He has his last round of vaccinations in 2 more weeks! Eventually, I'd like to do all the grooming...but like you said, baby steps. He is still pooping and peeing right at the door inside the house, even with the door wide open 🙆‍♀️🤦‍♀️
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
That sounds pretty normal. It's great that you have a teammate and chicken to help him learn to accept grooming :). Little bits at a time to help him adjust.

If you have or can get some scissors with rounded tips, you might be able to scissor some off his face. These are available at Petco. Just something to get you thru for a bit. If you think you might ever do some in-between FFT's then you might invest in some better scissors.

Something like these for short term
View attachment 477903
Thanks for sharing these. I'm actually going to Petco today to get him some little shoes. I'll pick them up!
Is that as you are taking him out on leash or as you're bringing him back in on leash?
Most of the time no, I just take him out and walk around with him freely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi all, just an update. I'm still working on the potty training. He'll go with me most of the time, sometimes he just sits and looks at me as though I am asking him to sit and he is waiting for a treat. Other times he will just lay down and then we get up and go back inside. The frustrating part is when he goes potty inside by the door... minutes after I just took him outside!!! However, I am still just working on it and getting really excited when he does go.

Other than that, I am having a hard time with him digging through the trash (he has learned how to open it on his own) and he likes to snatch food from my daughter's (they are ages 2 and 4). When we eat meals, we put him in his cage so that he is not begging at the table. However, sometimes my daughter's are snacking and he lunges up and snatches the entire food they are eating (sandwich, pizza, apple, banana, etc.) then he runs to his cage to "hide".

We try not to give him opportunities to do this but it happens from time to time. My husband said he never had a dog that pee'd/pooped in the house or counter surfed....however, I am being patient and working with him as well as trying to manage more when we are eating. The interesting thing is, he will never try to steal my food or when I walk in the room, he backs away from my daughter.

Silly Canyon! Btw, he jumped in our pool on his own a few days ago. He is so much fun!
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