Where do I start with house training my puppy?
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Thread: Where do I start with house training my puppy?

  1. #1
    Shell Price is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010

    DefaultWhere do I start with house training my puppy?


    Our puppy Dexter will be coming home to us in 4 weeks time and I dont know where to start with the house training. I have read so much different advice on it and would like anyone to share their advice or experience on this.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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  3. #2
    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Lawrence (ex-Topeka), KS


    What will be the best way depends a great deal on the individual situation -- layout and materials in the home, how constantly a person accompanies the pup, etc. What works well in one situation won't be workable in all others.

    The following is a copy of a post I've often made:

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~

    If it was me, I'd train my puppy to use an indoor potty tray. (Whenever I've posted this before, there's always a chorus of JL members who scream "No!" that grass is the only place to teach a pup to potty.)

    I disagree.

    What about the millions of city dwelling dog owners who live in high rises 5-10 minutes away from sidewalks and where it's illegal to use grass? Should they give up their dogs?

    I faced this problem when Puff (@ 9 weeks old) came home. I puppygated her mainly to the kitchen since it had an easily cleaned tile floor. While there was a sliding door to the back yard, it had some problems that needed fixing and was unusable. The other door was across carpeted halls and living room, out the front door. Much too long a distance to take a pooping or peeing pup.

    I bought the largest size of Purina's Second Nature Dog Litter 22"W X 28"L X 9"D and kept it in the kitchen within just a few seconds distance from Puff. I lined the bottom with layers of newspapers.

    Whenever I noticed Puff beginning to assume her peeing posture (hind quarters squatting, tail lifted) I'd whisk her to the tray (only a few feet away) and always praise her and treat her for making her deposit IN the tray.

    Likewise for her Poop posture (arched back, rear paws placed farther forward than her front paws).

    I was careful to clean up any dribbles, using Nature's Miracle or OTC 3% Hydrogren Peroxide to nullify any odors being broadcast to a dog's nose, "here's a great spot to pee or potty."

    Puff learned quickly.

    It helped that I noted on the side of the fridge the time of day she peed or pottied. I found that she'd be fairly consistent in when she went -- UNTIL she changed her old rut for a new one.

    IIRC, within 2 weeks we had a 90-95% success rate. Within 3 or 4 weeks, it was essentially complete.

    And she had not the slightest difficulty making the transition to peeing or pottying on grass.

    This may have been helped by reciting a mantra to her in her training of either "Puff, Pee-pee!" or "Puff, Potty!" whichever one she was doing. That probably also helped make the transition to outside.

    ("Puff, pee-pee!" results in almost immediate compliance. "Puff, potty" always has to be given several times with some excercise in between recitations to be effective. My supposition is that my first few recitations of "potty" are needed in order to get the peristalsic movement going to move the deposit through her intestinal tract until it's at last in firing and depositing position.

    I was motivated to teach Puff to use the tray not only because of our back door problem but also because I needed her to have a good way of getting elimination relief when she was sailing with me, say overnight, and grass was out of reach.

    Previously I helped a friend, Miriam, who lived in an apartment above the Episcopal student center at the U of Fla. solve a similar problem. She had a dachshund puppy, "Reinhie" (after Reinhold Niebuhr) that she'd trained to use paper. It was at least a 5 minute trip from her apartment to grass, over to and out her door, down the stairs, across the great hall, out the door, across the porch, down to the brick courtyard between the SC and the chapel, and then across the courtyard to either front or back grass.

    Reinhie became so used to going on paper that he wouldn't pee or poop outside. So I suggested Miriam take newspapers with her and gradually provide smaller and smaller areas. Within 7-10 days, Reinhie was peeing and pottying outside. IF I'd suggested that she use a mantra (such as "Reinhie, pee-pee" or "Reinhie, potty") it would probably have made for an even quicker and smoother transition.

    BTW, once Puff finished using her 2nd Nature potty tray, after thoroughly cleaning it and putting a bed pillow in the bottom, it serves as her often preferred bed.

    We've not yet had any long sails where a tray was needed to serve as her auxillary "head".

    I'm sorry Purina stopped making this largest size tray but there are many inexpensive large plastic trays at hardware & home improvement stores, and Wal-Marts that could be easily modified to serve the same purpose.

    I never did use Purina's 2nd Nature litter -- we found newspapers quite satisfactory and free.

    The first link below is for Purina's Second Nature system:


    The following review was written when Purina still made the larger tray which was used by the owner of a 50 lb. Lab mix:


    I thought the following lengthy review by a person living on the 23rd floor of a condo was very useful:

    Review of the Purina Second Nature Dog Litter Box System

    Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]

    Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":

  4. #3
    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009


    Respectfully disagree with Bob. I would never teach a puppy to pee indooors. I don't use paper on the floor, wee-wee pads or the like. Just make a schedule, take the puppy out regularly (read very frequently) and make a very big celebration when he/she pees/poops outdoors. They will associate quickly.

    And be sure to clean up any accidents with an enzyme cleaner like Nature's Miracle. You need to remove the scent that is left behind even with the strongest household clearners. If the scent remains it tells the puppy to keep peeing there.

    And - may I suggest you get yourself a puppy book. This is a good one > The Puppy Primer-Puppy Training Books at Patricia McConnell
    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

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  6. #4
    Dani's Avatar
    Dani is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Mt. Pleasant, MI


    I would never teach a dog to pee inside either. Sorry. You supervise. Whenever you end something...eating, sleeping, playing...outside with the pup. Then praise like crazy! You get used to their signals. You can't' supervise? Crate. I don't use Nature's Miracle either...I used plain ol' Hydrogen Peroxide to clean up accidents. Cheap and works just as well as NM.
    Dani, Rider & Rookie
    SHR Watson's Safari Rider, JH, WC, CL1-R, RA, CGC, TDI
    SHR Endeavor Put Me In Coach, RN, WC, CGC

    Member Since 6/2003

  7. #5
    HarveysMum's Avatar
    HarveysMum is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010


    Congratulations on your new pup!! I agree that, if possible, you should train them to use outside only, but that isn’t always possible, as Bob states. I work from home but couldn't be at Harvey’s beck and call all the time as I am often tied up on the phone, and my office is in the loft (but I would check him every hour and offer him the opportunity to go out). When we got Harvey he was 8 weeks old, we restricted him to one room, which (rather conveniently) has the access to the back garden. He had a crate to sleep in; the door was never closed on it. There was a blanket up one end for sleep time and a puppy pad at the other end for 'toileting' on. There was also a puppy pad right by the patio door. He never used the puppy pad in the crate; from day one he used the pad by the door. In the evenings and at the weekend we put the pad just outside the patio door and before we knew it he would go outside to 'potty'. Within 8 days he was house broken; now he will only go on grass. He has never had an accident since. Good luck with the training, I have no doubt you will get lots of advice, some of it conflicting. Keep in mind that we all have different ways of doing things, and all our dogs are different, you will find what works for you when Dexter arrives. Cant wait to see those cute puppy pics!!!

  8. #6
    MnMsMom9902's Avatar
    MnMsMom9902 is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Saratoga, CA


    We successfully used hydrogen peroxide to removed the smell whenever Miko had accidents inside the house when we were house training her. Now that Miko is fully house trained, we still have a lot of the hydrogen peroxide left. But we don't feel bad as it is not wasted, we use it to disinfect general cuts and scrapes.

    Miko (April 6, 2009), CGC

  9. #7
    mdcrain is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010


    One word CRATE!! Both my dogs are crate trained. I tell them "in your rooms" and they immediatly run in their crates. Bandit never once pood in the house and only peed once or twice and that was our fault because we were not reading the signs that he needed to go. Another good thing to teach them is to potty on command. Its actually very simple. When they are going just praise them by saying "Good Potty". They will learn what this phrase means. Its a great tool to use if its raining, or cold outside, or if you are traveling. If I think its about time for the dogs to go out I will ask them "potty"? and if they have to go they will charge to the door. We adopted maddie and at first she would not go when we took her out, but 30 minutes later she would whine that she had to go. It teaches them to always go when they have the oppurtunity.
    Last edited by mdcrain; 03-31-2010 at 08:20 PM.

  10. #8
    jjdurrant is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010


    We have tried crating with Moose and he wants no part of it.. he whines\barks non-stop with any kind of lockdown.

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