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Thread: Please help my 4mo puppy toilet trained indoor

  1. #1

    Default Please help my 4mo puppy toilet trained indoor

    I have a 4 months old japanese spitz puppy and I live in a high rise apartment without a backyard. I started off confining her to a corner of the living with a couple sheets of wee wee pads on the floor, which for the majority of time she did her business on the pads. However, at night when she was confined, away from my bedroom door, she would whine and bark continuously. I know the best action is to ignore her, but living in an apartment I just couldnt afford to leave her bark for a long period of time. So I extended her confined area to include the section where my bedroom door is. Now, apart from the little corner where she sleeps next to my bedroom door, she would do her business sometimes on the pads, sometimes just wherever.

    I also notice that she hasnt made a connection with the wee wee pads and potty as sometimes she just goes on the floor right next to the pads. I also praise and reward her with treats everytime I catch her weeing on the pads, but it seems like she relates the reward with going rather than going on the pads. She also has a crate but she even does her business in the crate sometimes (without the door closed of course)

    This morning when I woke up, i noticed she had weed on the pads, and also on the floor close to the pads. I moved around, she followed, then she just weed next to me on the floor. at lunch time i returned home to check on her, and while i am preparing my lunch, she actually went to the pads area and did her business on the pad. So I am so confused whether she actually did learn the idea of doing business on pads or not??

    What should I do to successful potty train her? I am considering of moving the crate next to my door together with the excercise pen, put a wee wee pad in the crate and let her sleep either in the crate or the small confinement I create (i think when she is close to my bedroom door, she is relatively quiet at night). Then confine her inside the crate after meals, wake ups etc till she does her business? Would I confuse her even more if I start over her potting training again?

    I would really appreciate your help. Many thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    hi nini1212 and welcome

    every time your puppy goes somewhere other than the designated spot - she learns that anywhere she feels like doing a pee is ok.

    If this was me - I would have an area I treated as if it was my back yard. Ie the designated spot. I'd probably have a tray or something with clearly defined sides to it like a big cat litter tray. And a colour that is easy for a puppy to recognise ie solid white or solid blue are good or a big pattern of blue and white. And I'd have a clearly defined texture in it eg puppy wee pads with that recycled newspaper cat litter on top - so it feels different to everywhere else in the apartment. And I'd clean the tray with bleach - which a lot of dogs recognise as a signal to pee here - ie never clean up pee with bleach - unless it's the "designated spot".

    And then I would use the umbilical cord system in combination with a crate for when I couldn't be tied to my dog.

    Umbilical cord is - you have a lead or rope that ties you to your puppy any time your puppy is in the apartment and not in the puppy's crate.

    And you pay attention to the puppy.
    after play - take your puppy to the designated spot - and wait for a pee. Be really boring and keep putting your puppy back on the designated spot until you get a pee or a poop or both.
    after waking up - same
    after eating or drinking - same
    every 1 hour - same - you can gradually extend this time but given your puppy has no idea where the designated spot - you might want to start with more often.

    And the second you notice your puppy sniffing the ground - grab and run to the designated spot. And be boring...
    sniffing the ground or floor always happens before a pee. You might have to interrupt a couple of pees - maybe have a big towel handy to catch the mess... and rush your puppy to the designated spot for your puppy to get the message but don't let your puppy start (or finish) a pee anywhere else.

    You need to be as consistent as possible - if you can get this right 4 out of 5 times or better (eg 9 out of 10 times or 99/100) - your puppy will start to figure it out.

    Crate training your dog - should be a fun game. I would probably have the crate in my bedroom until the pup is a bit older and more used to being with and without you. Then you can move it very slowly to the room where you want your puppy to sleep eg move it about 5cm in that direction per night until it's where you want it. Play lots of games with your puppy and the crate - getting treats and dinner in there. Line the crate to start with, something that feels a bit different to the designated spot but is easy to clean up and ok if the puppy rips it to shreds. I used newspaper unfolded flat and old towels (op shops are good for these). I'd also put some stuff in that was ok for puppy to chew on like a kong filled with frozen food and maybe a chew toy.

    There's a lot of info on youtube about "crate training" and "crate games".

    you may also want to look at Ian Dunbar's Dog Star daily article about toilet training for indoors.

    Errorless Housetraining | Dog Star Daily

    you might have to join up but it's worth it for all the dog training especially puppy training info in there.

    kikopup on youtube is also worth looking up.

    Clean up without bleach:
    clean up as much as possible with paper towel
    then sprinkle area with a little bit of bicarb soda and wipe down with a bit of paper towel with vinegar on it.
    I also use a 1 litre spray bottle that has 1 cup vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon lavender oil, and filled up with water.
    this helps break down the pee smells and disinfect and clean without leaving a "pee here" smell that dogs like to top up.

    PS we'd love to see some photos of your puppy. Japanese Spitz are the cutest puppies on the planet.

  3. #3


    Thank you so much for your detailed reply. I have decided to use her crate as her potty spot as she hasnt developed a 'dent' idea with the crate, and it is more black and white for her compared to pads lined on the floor. i would definitely use the umbilical cord method when i am home to supervise her. thanks for the advice.

    here are some photos of her:



    She is a super playful girl and really smart. Always find a way to escape the exercise pen everyday...

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