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Thread: Struggling to toilet train

  1. #1

    Default Struggling to toilet train

    Hi, we have a 3 month old Maltese x Toy Poodle. We have had him for just over a month and we cannot get him to go to the toilet outside! He just prefers to go inside. I take him outside when I think he needs to go wees or pops and I will wait and wait and then just give up and we'll go back inside..but as soon as we go inside he will run and wee somewhere straight away.

    He will also go and hide and poo. I can't even catch him in the act!! I have never caught him pooping and I try..I feel like I'm going crazy. I try to leave him outside for a longer period of time as well by himself but he just cries and barks non stop until I let him in..I really don't know what to do.

    He also cries all the time..when I leave the house and return I can still hear him crying inside and it seems like he has barked and cried the whole time I was out. We have a crate however I am unable to leave him in that with the door closed either as he just cries. He just uses it as his bed but the door is always open. Any suggestions as to what I could try? I would love some help!

    Last edited by Hyacinth; 09-12-2015 at 04:33 PM. Reason: spaced the paragraphs out for cross eyed people like me

  2. #2


    Hi, I understand your frustration - Nothing worse than accidents inside or a puppy that is intent on doing business in the wrong spot.

    Firstly (and this is something we did) is never let your puppy go where he wants while inside. Put him on a lead and he can only go where you direct him. This will make him learn that when in the house he has "his" spot (we taught our puppy that "on your mat" means that she must go to her mat on the floor and nowhere else - apart from when we picked up the lead and asked her to follow us) EDIT: We say "On your Mat" for a blanket/mat that we use anywhere we want her to sit/lay down. We can move it anywhere in the house (not that we need to anymore, she is 80% toilet trained and gets a little more freedom in the house now, without a lead) Her "mat" is a blanket that we brought her home in and we will take it when we go to other people's houses etc. It's her spot to sit when we don't want her wandering. Her crate command is "Bed Time" (we separated these as they are different things for different purposes and the 2 separate commands work brilliantly)

    Secondly, For Asha, the ideal time for a toilet break (wees or poos) is 10-20 minutes after food and drink, it's like the body tells her "oh, you just drank, must wee out the previous drink" and the same with poo) we have found that when we feed 11-12 hours apart, poos tend to be the same - So after a drink or meal - Be ready.

    Like humans, as soon as your pup has woken up from a nap, take them straight out (Go with him, have him on a lead) and take him to a boring area. Repeat "go wees" or "go poos" whatever verbal cue you'd like to give it. Just repeat until something happens. You think you sound ridiculous, but it definitely works.

    Toilet training is something you have to physically do with him - If you pop him outside without taking him for a walk outside, he will just want to come back inside to you and then you can create a monstor with him going to the toilet right near the door - But if you go for a lead walk to the same area every time, he will soon realise that when he goes on a lead outside and goes to the toilet, bingo, he gets to go back inside. Wee or poo outside = good things!

    Pups wee and poo A LOT. so toilet training, if consistent can be put in place really quickly - But if your puppy can be lazy, he will be. My brother is struggling with his 19 week old GSP X Vizsla only going to the toilet on the concrete - as they have another dog, she didn't do the inside/outside toilet training thing, she has pretty much been outside the whole time and is just being a little lazy, but it's a hard thing to undo.

    EDIT: One thing I've always disliked is going to someone's house, walking on the lawn, only to dodge poop landmines. One thing we tried to do with Asha was take her onto the garden beds. Now she wee's on the lawn and since we have had her (7 weeks) she has NOT DONE 1 SINGLE POO on the lawn. She did do one on the pavers near a gate (6 weeks ago) but I just removed it as soon as I saw it and thankfully no other poos on the pavers, they are all on the garden beds (we have a good sized garden, but only half is lawn, the rest are larged chip-barked garden beds, so it's perfect. Success!
    Last edited by Schnecke; 09-14-2015 at 08:49 AM. Reason: Added Extra Info as original reply was typed fast
    Asha - 22/05/15 Wolfhound cross a Dogue De Bordeaux X American Bulldog.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012


    Sorry but I did giggle as I imagined you with you pint sized tyrant. I watched a friend with the same mix have exactly the same struggle. Her bright and very intelligent little pup had her suckered with his tiny size and cuteness.
    It is important to limit completely your pups opportunity to sneak away to poop or pee. There are quite a few posts on crate training here and many swear by it, sound like it may be a possibility for you.

  4. #4


    Perseverance, patience, good humour and consistency are needed to toilet train a puppy. With your little one – you will need to start from scratch again !

    Just remember the size and age of your pup – he is very small and can’t hold much for very long – so timing is important.

    What I have found to work for me and my pups over the years:

    1. Use a code/command word for toileting.
    2. Never acknowledge/yell/correct the pup for a mistake inside. Just ignore it. Take the pup out and then clean up the mess. Your pup is a baby and you don’t want it to be scared about this toileting exercise. Otherwise, they can get downright sneaky about it all.
    3. Be patient and kind like ‘Mother Teresa’ for the middle of the night toilet times. It can be difficult – but it is doable !
    4. Always take the pup out after it first wakes up, after food and after a drink – then at regular intervals at other times. Always take the pup out just before bed time.
    5. Always acknowledge correct toileting outside. This is not only when you take the pup out, but if you are in the yard and you see the pup going to the toilet during the day. Even my 9 year old boy and my 16 month old girl get a random ‘Good Boy/Girl’ when they toilet outside.

    These links may help !

    Search Results | McConnell Publishing Inc.

    Search | Dog Star Daily

    Good Luck !

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    I will wait and wait and then just give up
    Your clever puppy is training you. Oops.

    he just cries and barks non stop until I let him in
    This too - all he's learning is the longer he cries the more likely you are to give in and let him have what he wants. My dog tries this on with my dinner. She wants my dinner - she yells at me.

    If I'm stupid - I give her some. Ie reward her for yelling at me - even if I only hand over some food when she's quiet. I'm also rewarding her for watching me eat my dinner - bad work on my part.

    So if I'm smart - I will put her in the crate or the other room and shut the door so there is a consequence for yelling at me. And I certainly shouldn't give her any food.

    With the toilet training - you need to keep your puppy on lead in the house and outside it for now when you want your puppy to toilet. If you ever plan to go on holidays or compete in a dog sport (yes there are small poodle cross doing agility and rally o and etc) it's really helpful if your dog will go on command where you say when you say. But this doesn't happen instantly - you need to train it.

    So I would as the others have said - take the dog where you want it to go outside, and you watch the dog but not directly, and you wait and you act boring. Even if it's cold and horrible out there - usually the puppy will go inside 30 minutes unless it has learned that you will cave in eventually and then it might take longer the first couple of times. So plan to be out there for 30 minutes at least.

    Take a couple of bits of treat with you - little bit of roast chicken, or cheese or steak - the size of your little finger nail... and when he goes say "good dog" and give him a treat. If you need him to do a wee and a poop and he only did one - keep waiting for the second event to happen... and give him the praise and treats then. While you're out there - keep repeating your cue word.

    The main reward for this kind of dog - is to go back inside so do not hand over this treasured reward until you have what you want. But as soon as you get what you want, pats praise treat, and go inside. Your puppy will soon connect the dots... and the time you have to wait will get shorter. But every time you give in and let him pee inside - it will set your training back - and it will take longer before he gives in and does what you want where you want it.

    As for the barking and yelling - I failed with my puppy when it came to her sleeping in her crate in the laundry. Well duh - I wanted to sleep and not have accidents inside. Fail. She SCREAMED her head off - continuously for hours until I finally relented and after a pitstop outside, I put her in a cardboard box with old towels (safe for puppies to chew), next to my bed.

    I kept her on lead and tied the lead under me across my bed so if she got up and moved out of her bed - I would wake up and be able to take her out. I also set my alarm for two sleep time pit stops cos a 10 week old puppy that hasn't been toilet trained by the breeder, cannot hang on all night. So we had zero accidents in the bedroom.

    The only time we had accidents is if I let her roam the house while I was doing something else like cooking or on the phone or washing up etc.

    Training your puppy that good things happen in crates is a good idea. Start with that with the door open, then shut the door for a very short time - before the yelling starts and open it, reward and let your puppy go play for a bit (or go out for another pit stop). And very gradually increase the time you leave the door shut.

    If the yelling starts - you lose the game and the puppy wins if you let the puppy out. So what I do is cover the crate up so the puppy can't see out (but can still hear me). If I can get to the crate with no yelling and it might take a while to wear the puppy out... reward quiet by approaching and discourage noise by "oops, leaving now" and walk away. But do put something like a kong stuffed with frozen dog food in the crate first - ie if the puppy is willing to check that out the puppy is not that stressed.

    3 months old is such a baby. he probably can't hang on all night. And you need to be willing to outlast and outwit him.

  6. #6


    Hi, thanks so much for all your suggestions. I really did let him have free reign of the house..I think I wanted him to really feel like part of the family so let him go wherever he wanted and follow us everywhere, that I was a bit silly to do that. So as of yesterday I am trying to do what you said. It was really good that it was Saturday yesterday actually because we put him outside but we came in and out all day and the kids played out side with him while also doing they're own thing so he really got comfortable with being out there. He did most of his wee and poos outside because he had no choice. There was one incident where he accidentally got inside when one of the kids came in and he came straight in and did a cheaky....It has made a big difference already though I think...a few times I have put him out today by himself and he has been fine and not cried as well. Also when he comes in now I say 'in your bed' and at first he didn't like it but it seems to be working well now.

    Yep I have been slack with the getting up in the night so I will try tonight to make sure I get up and take him outside. I think maybe I should set an alarm..I haven't been waking up because I don't hear him.

    But thanks again. I will persevere with it. I feel like I have a plan now..I was really frustrated!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    melbourne australia



    how frustrating your super intelligent dog is.
    I have nothing to add to keep it on leash tied to you indoors, 100% of the time it is indoors. As your pup is sneaky! lmao

    Crate plus dog does not equal crate trained. And your dog is not crate trained, as described by its behaviour in the crate. So i'd go back to square one with this too and start again.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    melbourne australia


    and thought id look out the crate training articles on here for you, and cant find them?
    Mods, can we find a crate training link, as id like a read of how its trained by humans, as my dogs do the crate training of pups here. But perhaps i could get involved next time lol

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    I've made the beginnings of an intro to crate training:

    Feel free to add your own links and suggestions in there.

  10. #10


    'Teddythemoodle' - How are things going with the toilet training ?

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