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Puppy Potty Training Questions & Answers

Housebreaking a puppy shouldn't be a huge challenge, but it doesn't always turn out that way.

If you're potty training your puppy and have questions, chances are you'll find the answers on this page.

There are a few simple 'rules' that can make the difference between success and failure (but even if you fail at first, you can turn it around with the right approach).

I've put together a collection of the most common potty training questions I get asked by new owners, and the answers that I've given.

If you have a question, chances are good that someone else has already asked it (and been answered). Scroll down to view them all.

At the bottom of the page you'll also find links to pages on my site that discuss different house-training topics in detail, you'll find loads of extra help there.

15 Week Old Puppy House Training Problems

by Mike, (Oswego, IL)

I really like your site.

We just picked up a yorkie westy girl from a local independent pet store. The people are great and they were highly recommended. We fell for our older puppy who was born on June 9, brought her home Sep 21.

She was group kenneled with other pups, and they have several 12x30 foot wood chip yards for playing outside.

Daisy doesn't bite at all, though she loves to chew on toys, and large wood chips,leaves, plants. She is ok with being in her crate in view of others, but cried a while when first sleeping alone in dark for a while last night.

Seemed normal, then slept till early morning. She had defecated in her small partitioned crate

I know we are in for a lot of hard work training at this stage but wonder if at this age we should start with a professional?

Potty training is essential and she obviously has had none.

We have not gotten her to poop outside yet with long stays outside with her in our wood chip areas. She did poop in the wood chip area yesterday at kennel before bringing her home.

Any thoughts appreciated.


Mike White, Oswego, IL

My Answer:

Hi Mike

Congratulations on your new puppy! Yes, you are in for some work here, but she's really not very old, still a baby, so that's a positive.

It sounds as if, so far, she's doing pretty well. Crying in her crate for the first few nights is absolutely normal, and the fact that she's not a big 'biter' (yet!) is also good.

The negative is that she has had no housebreaking, but if she's used to eliminating in an outdoor area with woodchips and you provide the same for her (sounds as though you have) that is a good start.

The problems really arise when puppies (and I'm afraid to say this is often true of pet shop puppies as well as puppy mill pups) have been kept in crates for long periods where they've been forced to eliminate because they couldn't 'hold it'. This really sets you back.

However, I'm not sure yet that's what's happening with your pup. She's new to your home and family, and although she's 15 weeks old, she may well need at least one potty break during the night.

At this age 3 - 4 hours in the crate may be all she can handle without needing to 'go'.

Even if she doesn't cry to go out, I would suggest setting your alarm for 3 hours after bedtime and getting up to take her out at that time. If she's not messed in her crate, she should go then. Hopefully she'll be able to last until morning after that, but if not, a second potty break around 5am may be necessary.

This sounds like hard work I know, but it's really worth the effort and you won't have to do it for long. Using the crate properly will help her develop bladder and bowel control, it just takes time. 

I'd really doubt at this stage that you need to bring in professional help. She's still a baby and with love, attention, consistency and discipline she should learn just fine.

I've personally brought puppies home that are quite a bit older than your little girl and they've bonded, settled in and done just fine.

If, later on down the road, you run into behavioral issues etc. that you think you need help with, at that point you can look for professional input. Hopefully that won't be the case.

Do make sure she's had her shots and start her off in an puppy obedience class as soon as they're all taken care of. 

Best of luck with your little girl. Have fun!

Potty Training My 9 Week Old Pitbull Puppy


I need help with training, it is my first puppy and I'm so lost.

I have the crate, pee pads, area to play and I just can't figure out the right order to do things.

I know he is a puppy and it will take but I want to start in the right direction for him growing up!

My Answer:


It can be confusing at first I know, there's a lot of things to get sorted out when you bring your puppy home - especially if you're new to dog ownership.

However, I strongly suggest that you read these two pages very carefully as they have all the information and advice that you need...

Potty Train A Puppy

Crate Training A Puppy

I personally don't recommend using pee pads as they make the whole process more confusing for a puppy.

If you teach him that it's okay to pee/poop indoors (even if it's on the puppy pee pads) then eventually you'll have to RE-train him again later on to only go outdoors. That can be difficult.

Pitbulls are very intelligent and eager to please, so as long as you show him what's expected and are consistent and loving in your training, he should pick up pretty quickly.

However, it's important to realize that even with the best training, it usually takes at least 6 months for a pup to be fairly reliable with housebreaking.

You might also find this page useful... New Puppy Care.

Hope this helps, I wish you the very best of luck with your pup.

3 Month Old Yorkie Refuses To Go On Training Pad

by Gina, (Ohio)


I recently brought home a new Yorkshire terrier puppy. She is only three months old, so I knew already that training could be a little difficult because she is so young. I took 2 weeks off of work to train her and help her get used to me and my place.

I live in an apartment and I usually work 8 hours a day, so I wanted to paper train her so that she doesn't have to be locked up in a crate all day (since I put her in her crate at night as well).

She already understands to "go potty" command from all the walks we took during my vacation time. But paper training has been almost impossible.

I have tried minimizing the inappropriate space to pee in, but that doesn't work. She'll pee in the 4 inches of space that isn't covered in puppy pads.

I have tried putting her on the pad when I know she has to pee. This last time I kept putting her on the pad, giving her the "go potty" command, and she kept on walking off.

This went on for over 30 minutes (I timed it). Then she started tearing and biting at the pad. I tried to stop her, but she ripped it up. I took her off the pad so I could replace it with a non-ripped one, and the second I did, she peed in the carpet.

I am not sure what to do. If I could just get her to go once on the pad, I would praise her so much and give her so many treats that I sure she would do it again. But I can't get her to pee on the pad even once.

I could really use some suggestions.

My Answer:

Hi Gina

This is one of the main problem with puppy pads - they seem to be regarded as toys more than as a legitimate 'potty spot'! Have you tried using the sprays you can buy that attract the pup to a particular spot? These can help.

Personally I'd recommend trying a doggie litter box or one of the doggie potties with 'grass' as these are more likely to be successful. You can find some of these on my Potty Training page.

If this doesn't work, then you will need to use the crate but find someone to give your little one a mid-day break, to potty and get a little exercise. A friend, relative or neighbor perhaps, or even a petsitter. Given some time she will be able to go all day in her crate without needing to 'go'.

However, as she is crated at night too, you'll need to give her plenty of one-on-one TLC time when you're home in the evenings and on weekends. She'll need enough exercise and mental stimulation (games and training) too.

Hope this helps, best of luck with your puppy.

Transitioning Puppy From Pee Pads to Outside

by Jessica, (New York, NY)

We adopted our puppy about 3 months ago and she is roughly 5 months old. She is now crate trained and wee wee pad trained as well. We are ready to make the transition to outside. We don't know where to begin.

She has not eliminated in the house on a wee wee in the night for about two weeks now, so we know she can wait until morning. She is also very new to a leash. We live in a city apartment and our vet insisted that we paper train her until she had all her shots as the city is full of dogs and she didn't want her to contract disease.

Most of what we have read talks about how paper training isn't good and all it does is teach your dog that it is okay to eliminate in the home. That being said we don't know where to start.

We have tried removing all pads from indoors and taking her outside with a pad. She isn't accustomed to us being right next to her when she eliminates so I feel like she doesn't do it partly because the leash prevents her from having any privacy. We don't want to give her too many new things at once (ie no wee wee pads in house, crate overnight, as well as leashing her).

We have taken her out several times a day (right after meals and nap times) we have also taken her out when she has started eliminating in the house with a firm no no to doing it inside and bringing her outdoors and she just looks up at me. (ps it's like 6 below zero outside which doesn't help)

Ugh what do we do where do we start?!?!?

My Answer:

Hi Jessica

This is exactly why I'm not in favor of using pee-pee pads for puppies because it definitely confuses the whole issue and means you have to train a pup twice, and that can make for lots of problems!

Of course, there are times when it's essential to use the pads, and in your situation it probably was the 'lesser of two evils' as protecting your puppy's health is obviously the most important part. However, that leaves you with some hard work to do, and your little girl is obviously confused by the whole process which is normal.

At this age she should definitely be able to make it through the night without needing to pee/poop, so you've eliminated one problem. Also, the fact that she's so reliable about pottying on the pads means that she understands there are places she CAN go, and places she CAN'T - that's good.

Many puppies at 5 months old are still very unreliable, especially with the pee pads.

It's a pity that she's still new to the leash as well as having to learn to potty outside, but she will adjust it's all a matter of time and patience... and repetition. Taking the pee pad outside to her new designated spot is good as it gives her some familiarity, I'd also suggest leaving behind a couple of her stools so that it is 'scent marked' as it were.

Every pup is different so you'll have to just be patient and work with her and try to figure out what part she understands etc. Some puppies figure it out faster if the pads are simply removed from the home and they go outside every single time, others need a more gradual approach.

However, in general I'd recommend trying to go 'cold turkey' as it were so that she builds the new associations in her brain quickly. Puppies are creatures of habit though and it takes time for them to forget old habits and learn new ones.

I'd also recommend using her crate and close supervision to prevent her from having the opportunity to eliminate indoors and combine that with very regular trips outside to her potty spot.

Don't scold her too much if she messes indoors, after all that what she thinks she's supposed to do, but do tell her 'no' and take her outside immediately. Conversely, make sure she gets TONS of praise and a tasty reward or two when she 'performs' outdoors.

You've done a great job with her so far it seems, so it's really just a matter of being very patient and consistent with her and giving her time to re-learn what you expect. It may be frustrating and time-consuming for a while, but will be worth it in the end.

I wish you the best of luck with your pup and hope this has helped some.

Puppy Eliminating Inside Right After Being Outdoors

I have a 3 month old yorkie poo (Bear) that has begun to eliminate after returning inside after successfully eliminating outside. One evening he eliminated (urine) about 10:30 pm outside only to eliminate (urine)inside 3 times before 11pm. This was his first mistake of the day.

The following morning I took him outside and he elimnated. I assumed since he eliminated feces then he eliminated urine also. Upon coming back in he eliminated (urine) within 10 minutes.

Both from the night before and the following morning I brought him back in within a minute after eliminating and giving treat.

But the same method was used during the day with no issues.

Thank you, Jay Parker

My Answer:

Hi Jay

It's quite common for a puppy to need to pee (and poop) more than once during a potty break. Especially last thing at night and first thing in the morning, when his bladder/bowels are pretty full.

I'd make sure that you are giving him plenty of opportunity to 'go' as often as he needs before bringing him inside. Don't assume that just because he urinated once, that he's done!

To prevent this from becoming a habit, I'd recommend that you put him into his crate as soon as you bring him inside, and then take him back outside again in about 10 - 15 minutes for a 'second try'.

He will be unlikely to eliminate in his crate and will 'hold it' until you get him back outside again (within reason of course, he's still a baby). By doing this you will reinforce the habit of only eliminating outdoors. Check out my Crate Training A Puppy for more tips and advice.

Best of luck.

How To Get My Dog To Tell Me He Needs To Go Out?

How do I get my 2yr. old dog to cry when he has to go outside?

I have had this dog since he was a puppy. He has never cried to go outside or scratched at the back door. If I do not see him at the back door he urinates on the floor.

Is there anyway you can train the dog to cry or bark to let you know he has to go out. I have a very busy life and there are times I don't see him go to the door.

My Answer:


Some dogs never learn (or feel the need) to bark/cry when they want to go outside. I've known some personally! However, a house-trained, adult dog should be able to 'hold it' until you notice them, rather than urinate indoors.

Although I really can't say if you could get your dog to bark to go outside, you may be able to teach him to ring a bell to alert you to his presence at your door.

Although it will likely take longer than trying to train a puppy to do this, if you're persistent and patient your dog should 'get it'.

To do this, tie a bell (cow bell or large, craft-type bell) to a piece of ribbon or string, and loop it over the handle of the door your dog normally uses to go outside.

EVERY TIME you take him out, 'help' him to ring the bell with his nose, while saying "let's go outside" or something similar. Given time he will associate the ringing of the bell with going outside to pee/poop.

You can help this process along by rubbing a little peanut butter on the bell a couple of times a day and showing it to your dog. When he licks the bell it will ring, and then you open the door and say "let's go outside".

Dogs learn through association and you just need to give him the time to build up the association between the bell ringing and the door opening. Best of luck!

Training A Puppy To 'Go' Outside (She Poops A LOT!)

by Martha, (Connecticut)

We got a papillion puppy in September. She is still not house broken.

We were using the crate method and I think we stopped too soon. When she is in the crate for a long period of time, she is fine. But she will still have accidents in the house every day!

We have three other dogs that we had no trouble with. She also has 3-5 bowel movements a day. This seems like a lot. Could it be from rawhide. She loves to chew and I give her a rawhide treat every day.

She seems really smart. I would think she would get it simply from seeing that the other dogs only do their business outside. Help!

My Answer:

Hi Martha

All puppies are different, and some take longer than others to truly 'get it' when it comes to housebreaking.

Small/toy breeds are often a little later being fully trained due to the size of their bladders, and the need to eat more often.

As she can do fine in the crate for long periods, and is (I'm estimating) around 5 months old, then she should have reasonable control. It may be that eliminating in the house has simply become a habit.

Puppies are creatures of habit and once they learn to do something, you have to work hard to get them to un-learn it! It may well be that you stopped being vigilant enough and using the crate enough, too early on..... before she had totally committed to the habit of only doing her business outside.

The best thing to do here would be to go back to Step 1, and be as vigilant as you were to begin with. In order for her to forget the old (bad) habits, and relearn the new (correct) ones, you need to prevent her from having the opportunity to make a mistake indoors. So use the crate consistently, and watch her like a hawk when she's not crated! Continue with this until you're sure she's got the picture.

As for the excessive pooping - it could be the rawhides, they give my dogs loose stools if digested regularly, and if she's having one a day, this could be the problem. I would try other, non-edible toys like Kongs (fill with Peanut Butter and freeze for extended play value). You can find some great examples of durable chew-toys on my Indestructible Dog Toys page.

It could also be the food though. Some pups and dogs are sensitive to one or more ingredients in a particular food. The less they are able to digest the food, the more comes out the other end! Obviously this also means that poorer quality foods with a lot of additives and fillers tend to make a dog produce more stools.

I'd recommend that you take a look at my Dog Food Allergies page, it has info. on some foods that are recommended for dogs with allergies or sensitivities.

Best of luck with her, hope you're on the right track soon.

Is It OK To Train Outdoors & With Pee Pads?

by Catherine, (Pittsburgh)


My husband and I just got a toy poodle a few days ago. She will be 8 weeks tomorrow and she is overall doing better every day.

We have a play pen for her with toys and a pee pad and we have her crate at the door of the pen so she can go in and out as she pleases. We are training her to go outside and take her out frequently but she does also use the pad (especially at night).

Are we being counter productive by doing this?

My Answer:

Hi Catherine

It can be confusing for a puppy to be able to eliminate on the pads and outside because using the pads lets them think that eliminating indoors is okay. They don't always make the correct connection/association with the pads being the only 'allowed pee pee spot' in the house.

In extreme cases, for example it's freezing cold and 3 ft of snow outside for weeks, or you live in a high-rise on the 10th floor, etc., then this is sometimes necessary. But overall I personally think it makes the whole housebreaking process that bit more difficult, and it takes a bit longer.

However, all puppies are different, and some seem to do okay with this sort of arrangement. If she's being successful so far, it may be alright in the short term, but I wouldn't recommend it for longer than necessary.

But I would really recommend that you use her crate for house training, especially at night. Although she may need at least one potty break during the night at first, as her bladder/bowels mature, she should be able to 'hold it' for a reasonable length of time.

Best of luck with her.

How To Paper Train My 9 Week Old YorkiePoo

by Nancy, (central Illinois)

We have a 9 week yorkipoo that we have had about a week.

We started training him outside and he would pee but not poop outside. Since it is getting cold outside he cries when I take him outside and still will not poop.

I cannot be out in the cold for very long so I thought about trying to train him on puppy pads.

I do not know how to get him to use the pads.

My Answer:

Hi Nancy

Although your pup doesn't like being out in the cold, it's much better to train him to eliminate outdoors from the beginning, rather than trying to use puppy pads etc.

I'd suggest crate training because it really is the quickest and most effective method. It just takes time, consistency and patience.

However, if it's impossible for you to do this, I would suggest using a doggie litter box rather than pee pee pads. Pups tend to use the pads as toys and rip them up etc., a litterbox is less likely to be used in this way and so more effective.

Whether you use pee pads or a litter box, you'll need to follow the normal guidelines for potty training/crate training. Just substitute the pads/box for the trip outdoors.

You will still want to use a crate to prevent accidents indoors and to keep your pup safe when you are out.

Best of luck.

1 Year Old Pup Won't Do #2 Outside!

by Laura, (Australia, NSW)

My 1 year old puppy, Nemo, will not do number 2 outside. He has done it a few times in the past but pooing in the house is starting to become a pain.

He has a routine and also ask's to be let out. He spends ages outside, sniffing, eating grass, chasing bugs, chasing birds and following our older dog around. He does pee while outside.

He comes to the door and we let him in, he goes straight to the spare bedroom or into our lounge room and does a poo. We have had this problem with other dogs we have had but they came good before they were even 1 year old.

Plz I need some advice! Our house is starting to stink!

My Answer:

Hi Laura

Puppies are creatures of habit and it sounds as though this has become a habit for Nemo. Plus, dogs are attracted back to the same spot to urinate or defecate by their own scent, so it's important to clean the area thoroughly with an enzymatic-type cleaner that will remove all traces of odor.

The most important thing to do in this situation is to prevent Nemo from being able to poop indoors, and that means using a crate to confine him for a while after he comes indoors (if he hasn't 'performed' while outside).

Don't give him free run of the house until he has pooped outdoors.... even if it means crating him and then letting him outside for 10 mins, then back into the crate and then outside again etc. several times.

Because dogs learn by repetition and build habits quickly, you will need to be very consistent about preventing the unwanted behavior. Also be very patient, it's taken him a year to learn this habit and it will take him some time to un-learn it too!

Once he understands what's expected of him and it becomes an instinctive behavior things should improve quickly.

Hope this helps, best of luck with Nemo.

Housebreaking ADULT dogs??

by Natalie, (Mt Prospect, IL)

Is it even possible to housetrain adult dogs?

As our puppy Cocoa is developing into a fine little lady, we're already trying to instill good potty behavior.

Whenever she wakes from her frequent naps, we'll put her on the potty pad and she usually goes. She gets tons of praise and then she goes on to play.

We've only seen her poop twice in her 5 week existence, so I assume Lexie is still taking care of "that" part of her pup's care.

On several occasions, Cocoa has woken up and we've seen her run to the pad and pee. She is not completely consistent, but at this age I'm excited for the great start.

So, this brings me back to her parents.......

Lexie generally uses potty pads or will also go outside. She will take any opportunity to pee in a carpeted area, which is usually off limits. The living areas and kitchen have no carpets.

She is about 95% reliable to stick to the pads. As she's only 4 1/2lbs, I suspect that any of her previous 3 owners never felt the need to train her to only go outside.

Same with Mr. Harley, only with him I suspect a kennel environment and no real training. He will use the pads to poop mostly, but will also go into my Weimaraner's crate and poop there. He also marks everywhere. It's earned him the need for belly bands, which he HATES.

He paces and paces all day with them on. I make sure they don't rub in the wrong places and don't chafe and I change the pads regularly to keep him dry, but he just hates them.

My house is starting to smell and I've had pets most of my adult life - one time the count was 1 rescued greyhound, 9 cats and 2 ferrets - but my house NEVER smelled. Harley is a challenge, but I promised that he's in his forever home and I want to try and work this out.

Is it even possible to train these two 3 year old Chihuahuas? And if they show Cocoa their bad habits, will she pick them up from her parents?

Oreo, my first chi and almost 2, is completely housetrained and 99% reliable. I don't think any dog is 100% when they're this small, but she hasn't disapointed me. I so hoped to have them all trained as well as Oreo.

Any ideas? Or am I up for a challenge destined for failure?

Thanks for any insight!

My Answer:

Hi Natalie

Little Cocoa is certainly growing up fast isn't she? Great idea to get her started on her potty training early on, setting up the right habits to begin with makes the whole process so much easier!

Tiny and toy dogs are often a challenge to housebreak. They have tiny bladders and need to go a LOT.

It is definitely possible to housetrain adult dogs, but because you've usually got very ingrained bad habits, it sometimes takes a lot of time and patience. It may not be 100% even then, but generally you can be effective if you are consistent and patient.

You obviously are very familiar with raising dogs and other pets, so I would guess that you have the knowledge, experience and patience to do this. Just be aware that it will be a long-term, ongoing project. Probably a 'work in progress' for many months.

I'm not sure if you've used crates for you smaller dogs, but that is really the only way to do this effectively. Although Harley poops in your Weimeraners' crate, he is unlikely to do that in his own crate if it is small enough. 

Dogs are creatures of habit and they need to un-learn the bad habits (by not having the opportunity to follow them) while re-learning the new, correct habits. This is why a crate works so well. It gives you the ability to prevent 99% of accidents if you use it properly and consistently, and monitor the dogs closely when they're not crated.

It may be that you want to concentrate on one dog at a time, or just 'jump in' and try to work with all of the ones that need help with this together. Depends on your stamina and patience I think :o)

I feel for Harley with the belly bands, but again his habit of spraying is probably very ingrained by now and will be extremely difficult to break. You can work on that, but I'd get the potty training squared away first, then think about that. For now he will just have to live with the belly bands in order to protect your home.

If you're not already using an enzymatic cleaner such as Nature's Miracle, to clean up any 'accidents', I'd strongly suggest that you do so. It works much better than regular household cleaners.

You can find the best products for cleaning up pet urine etc. on my Dog Urine Cleaning Products page, and the most effective ways to use them on my Dog Urine Cleaning page.

I wish you the best of luck with this. Just take a deep breath and give it a shot, I think you'll be successful in the long run.

8 Week Old Lab Puppy Urinates Constantly!

by Katy Sargent, (Chesapeake, VA)

How much should our lab puppy be urinating?

We take her out constantly and she'll go, but almost immediately after coming back inside, she will urinate again! It's almost like she needs to go every 15 minutes!

She's CONSTANTLY having accidents in the house because she's going so often. I'm just wondering if something may be wrong?

We couldn't possibly take her out that often! We'd be outside ALL day long! Thanks for your help.

My Answer:

Hi Katy

An 8 week old puppy will likely need to urinate every 30 mins or so during the day, and a couple of times during the night. This is normal.

However, if your puppy is urinating much more often than that, and particularly if she only seems to pass a few drops at a time, she may have a urinary tract infection.

These are fairly common in young puppies, and easily treated by your veterinarian. I would recommend that you take her to your vet for a check up to be on the safe side.

If there's a UTI or underlying health issue causing this behavior you need to get it treated.

Crate Training helps to prevent the opportunity for accidents in the house, and also encourages bladder/bowel control. If you're not already using a crate I would also suggest buying one and trying this method of housebreaking.

Best of luck!

How Long To House Train An English Bulldog?

by Tara, (PA)

Well she is 16 weeks old and still having incidents, I do not call them accidents, cause she could just go out, pee, and if you try to put her in her crate, she will go in there and pee right in her dog bed!

I keep on her when she is out, and she is confined to one room. We got her at 8 weeks, still having accidents?

I also get up twice a night to let her out, right?

I have friends that say they trained their dog in 10 days! Help!

My Answer:

Hi Tara

First of all, if your friends really did housetrain their puppies in 10 days they were extremely lucky and definitely in the minority! Most puppies, if properly and consistently trained, will be fairly reliable by 6 months of age - THAT's normal.

Also, every puppy is different and some take longer to develop good potty habits than others.

Whether you call them accidents or incidents, your pup is peeing indoors because she doesn't fully understand yet that she is only supposed to eliminate outside... or because she doesn't have the control to hold it any longer. Sometimes it's a combination of the two.

Puppies who pee in their crate are unusual and often it's because the crate is too big; or because they were initially bred/raised in confined spaces without the opportunity to get away from their sleeping quarter to eliminate; or they have a urinary tract infection or some other physical problem.

If you have soft bedding in her crate she may be more inclined to pee on that, I'd recommend taking bedding and soft toys out of it.

At 16 weeks most puppies don't need two potty breaks during the night, especially if you're limiting her access to water early in the evening. However, in a pup with immature bladder/bowel control, or perhaps with a UTI, this can happen.

Housebreaking a puppy takes a lot of time, patience and consistency. To begin with puppies don't have a clue about our human rules when it comes to potty habits, it's something they need to learn and that takes time.

Consistency and patience are the keys, your little girl wants to please you, she just hasn't quite 'got it' yet.

Can One Month Old Puppy Start Going Outside To Potty?

My puppy is 1 month old when can he start going outside to go potty?

My Answer:


At one month old your pup shouldn't even have left his momma yet, he's too young to be on his own and much too young to be going outside or to have much bladder/bowel control.

At around 8 weeks of age, a pup can leave his 'doggie' family and go to a new, forever home.

At this age he will also begin to have enough bladder/bowel control to be able to 'hold it' for up to an hour at a time.

BUT - just because he's old enough to be able to pee/poop outdoors, it doesn't mean he should be allowed access to any public areas where other, un-vaccinated dogs may have been.

Until he's had all 3 sets of puppy shots (usually by around 12 weeks of age), he will be very vulnerable to the many, contagious dog illnesses around.

I'd recommend that you check out my New Puppy Care page for more tips, advice and information on taking care of your new pup.

Best of luck with him.

12 Week Puppy Peeing Every Hour To Hour-And-A-Half?

by Cindy, (Huntersville, NC)

I have a 12 week old puppy and she seems to have to pee about every 2 hours or less, if I go somewhere for more then 2 hours she will go in the crate.

She does hold it at night for about 5 hours before I have to get up with her.

Everything I have read said she should be able to wait 3 to 4 hours during the day. She is a good puppy and has very few accidents in the house since I am home with her and can watch her.

My Answer:

Hi Cindy

It actually sounds as though your puppy is doing pretty well with her crate trainig), and is within the 'normal' limits.

Generally an 8 week old pup can 'hold it' for about an hour, by 12 weeks old many pups can hold it for 3 hours or so, but 1 1/2 to 2 hours isn't unusual.

Smaller breeds tend to need to go more often too. As she can manage to go 5 hours at night, I doubt that she has a physical problem such as a UTI etc.

You could have her checked over by your vet to make sure, but unless she seems to have to go 'urgently' and then only passes a few drops, or her urine is dark or pink streaked, I would imagine she is okay in that department.

Some pups just take a bit longer for their bladder control to improve, and as she seems to understand the concept and is doing her best to 'hold it' when crated (and also seems to be able to let you know when she needs to 'go'), I think you're definitely on the right track and it will just take a little more time and patience.

Best of luck with her.

Pad Trained 1 Year Male Yorkie Peeing Everywhere

by Terry, (Houston, TX)

I have had my Yorkie for one year. He has been using his pads since I brought him home. The only accidents he has had is when he misses the pad.

Now he pees in the dining room, living room, and other rooms. He is not fixed.

Why is he doing this after a year of being so good?

My Answer:

Hi Terry

I can't be certain here, but I'm wondering if what your dog is doing is in fact 'marking or spraying' rather than actually urinating.

Mature male dogs who haven't been neutered are naturally inclined to mark their territory by lifting their leg and spraying urine. In the wild dog this would be against trees, bushes and so on and would warn away other dogs.

In domesticity it results in a dog spraying furniture, doorways, appliances etc. This is NOT a housebreaking issue though.

It's a very deep-seated and subconscious behavior and once it's started it can take some time to retrain the dog not to do it.

Having a pup neutered before 6 months of age can prevent this behavior from ever beginning though.

For now, I would suggest keeping a very close eye on your dog and supervising him whenever he's not crated or outdoors.

Correct him with a verbal 'no' every time you see him start to cock his leg - you may have to do this over and over and over again for some time to come, but as he's young he should eventually get the idea.

There are 'belly bands' or 'wraps' that you can buy for your dog to wear during the training process.

These are sort of like doggie diapers and and will catch and absorb the urine he's spraying and protect your home, furniture, carpets and belongings until he's overcome the desire to spray everything.

However, if your pup is also pooping indoors, or you don't think he's spraying, but actually needs to pee, then I'd recommend having your vet check him out to make sure that there's no urinary tract infection or health problem causing this sudden change in behavior.

If he's healthy and it is a housebreaking problem, then using a crate more and going back to basics with housetraining is the best option.

I hope this helps. Best of luck with your dog.

How Long After Eating Does A Puppy Need To Poop?

by Bobby, (Los Angeles, CA)

My new puppy takes up to two hours or more to poop after eating.

I've read it should take between 5-30 minutes. Is this normal?

My Answer:

Hi Bobby

Generally when you're talking about a young puppy, once something goes in (food or water), something comes out pretty quickly!

However, all puppies are different and your little one may just have a slower digestive system or one that takes more stimulation to get it moving.

I'd recommend that you check out this page.. A Constipated Puppy to make sure that your pup isn't suffering from this. Otherwise I wouldn't worry about it as long as he seems happy and healthy.

7 Month Labradoodle Still Pees At Night!


Here's my problem. I have 7 month old Labradoodle, Charlie, he is house trained, he knocks on the door when he needs to go for a wee or poo - no problem.

My problem is when we leave him in his "room" - which is quite a large room where his basket is during the night he has one wee and one poo (even though he will have gone out at about ten.

During the day he is left at most for three hours in the morning - he will have about three wees and then taken out at lunch for one hour back in for another two hours and wees for England.

He goes on the paper in one spot, this can't surely gone on forever - what can I do to stop this?

My Answer:

Hi Ruth

Charlie is doing very well overall, and I don't think this is an issue of 'control' at all. It sounds as though he simply doesn't see anything wrong with eliminating in his 'room'.

It's become a habit, and although he could 'hold it' until morning, he chooses not to because he doesn't think he has to!

I would suggest that you use either a crate or a small dog play/exercise pen, so that he has a much smaller area to spend the night in.

As he is basically housetrained, if you put him in a crate that is the right size, he will likely manage to control his bladder/bowels until you let him out first thing in the morning.

If the playpen or exercise pen is small enough, hopefully it would work the same way.

Don't give him any paper, as that is a 'trigger' for him now, and make sure the crate or pen isn't in the spot he now uses to eliminate.

I think this should work, and once you break this habit of his, he will eventually 'forget' about eliminating during the night/indoors.

Puppies Get Distracted At Potty Time

by Lisa Latiolais, (Shreveport, LA)

I have written to you several times about my two shih tzu puppies. They are seven months old now and I am really having trouble with housebreaking.

When I take them outside to potty, they are so easily distracted by anything and anyone--it can be a bird or squirrel or another dog or a person. No matter how far away the distraction is, it keeps them from pottying.

I try walking away from the distraction, but they are very stubborn and keep fighting to turn back around and watch. I bring them back inside and crate them but they sometimes poop or pee in the crate right after they get back in there.

Their crate is the right size and they are not together in their crates; they each have their own.

Both of them had been doing really well holding it all night, but last night Tessa, the girl, peed in the crate. Usually she lets me know if she needs to go, but she didn't last night. Also, after taking them outside this morning, I left for just two hours. When I returned home, she had peed in her crate again.

I have tried to be very consistent with feeding/water times and when to pick up the water at night. Usually no water after 7:30pm and they go out for the last time around 11:00pm or later. I get up around 6:00am or whenever they start to stir.

Can you help me with this? I really thought we'd be farther along with house breaking than this.

The little boy, Darcy will pee on the floor in the kitchen and he always goes to the same spot even though I have cleaned it with two different types of odor eliminators, including the one you recommend the most. He still continues to go and in the same place.

Thanks for your great help, as always.


My Answer:

Hi Lisa

Sorry to hear you're having difficulties. Small breeds often do take longer to housetrain than the larger ones, and it's an on-going battle sometimes!

The distractability is normal, puppies are always interested in what's going on around them, and they can be stubborn - no doubt about it.

Have you considered fencing off an area of your yard for their 'potty spot'? You could make do it using a puppy play/exercise pen or a chain link pen if you want it to be temporary.

That way you could put them in there until they 'go', you'd still need to watch them at first, to make sure that they do eliminate, but after the novelty wears off I think you'd find they would respond pretty well.

Often puppies go through 'phases', where they may backslide on their potty training, or be stubborn about obedience. It's sort of like adolescence, they're testing their boundaries.

You just need to continue to be consistent and firm, if necessary treat them the way you did when they were just starting out - more frequent breaks, closer supervision etc. A bit more exercise may help too, a tired puppy is less likely to try to 'buck the system' :o)

As for your little male, I would hazard a guess that he's 'marking' rather than just urinating. He's an adolescent now, and as he's going over and over again in the same spot (it's interesting that it's the kitchen, often this is an early dominance tactic, and it's seen in an area where you spend a lot of time), I think that this is likely.

Especially as the odor-removers haven't been successful. Marking is quite different from just urinating. If he isn't neutered I would definitely recommend doing that asap. It can help, it's best if it's done before he starts to lift a leg to 'spray' if possible.

Correct him firmly, when you see him do this and I would most definitely restrict his access to the kitchen. Don't allow him in there when you're not, and if you're in there with him supervise him VERY closely.

You can buy 'belly bands' that male pups/dogs can wear. These basically 'catch' the urine he passes when 'marking', preventing soiling. Obviously they need to be used with the corrections and supervision etc. as they're not the answer, just a form of protection while the training 'sinks in'.

I hope this helps you out, give these things a try and see how it goes. 

Litter Box Training For A Small Puppy

I would like some thoughts and tips on litter training a puppy because we live in an apartment with a large enclosed balcony.

And also how do you train them to not bark constantly. I would appreciate any advice.

My Answer:


If you don't have easy access to a yard, or grassy area that is safe for your pup, then using a litter tray on the balcony should work pretty well, especially if he/she is a small breed puppy.

You will just need to follow the basic instructions for housebreaking that you find on this site, but substitute the litter tray for the yard!

Being consistent and patient with your pup is very important, and so is using a crate to help prevent accidents indoors.

As for the barking... some pups bark more than others, and some breeds (especially the tinier ones) can be very vocal. I'd recommend you check out my Dog Barking page for tips and advice on dealing with this problem.

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