(Closed) Housebreaking HELP desperately needed !!

posted 9 years ago in Pets
Post # 3
8353 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2011

We used to have two shi-tzus. The way that I potty trained them was just to keep a very close eye on them and when I noticed they were in “the position”, I would rush them outside to the spot where they were to go. At the same time, I would say “Go potty”. After they were done, I would praise them by telling them they were a good girl or good boy (we had one of each). I would not give them treats. Their treat was the praise. If one of you could be home all the time and make a concerted effort; not saying that you aren’t already, to keep watch for when the puppy has to go, that would work the best. I also took them outside every hour to begin with and made sure they went potty. We didn’t come in, until they went and I would not praise them until they went. I just pointed to the spot and said go potty. I don’t remember it taking too long to train them, but I was home all the time with them. They are very smart dogs. It just seems like your puppy is stressed and maybe needs more of a schedule. Oh, I didn’t use any of the things that you tried and I never kept my dogs in a cage. My female was a very stressful young lady. If I tried to put her in a room by herself or a crate, she would go crazy and work herself into a frenzy. Both dogs got free reign of our home.

Post # 4
1940 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

We brought our puppy home when she was 8 weeks, so she was a bit younger.  During potty training, I would definitely recommend taking your puppy out basically every hour.  With my puppy, if I knew that she puppy should need to go (i.e. recently ate, woke up, etc), I wouldn’t come inside until she had went potty, even if it was a really long time outside.  


I would practice with her on a leash when you are not expecting her to go potty – make it fun – play with a toy, learn how to go for walks, etc.  I’m not sure how much you play with her outside, but I would take a special effort to play with her in the grass outside so she associates it with something good instead of bad.  


Regarding in the house, until she is potty trained, you may want to consider blocking the rooms so she can only be in the room you are in.  We used a crate training method – if there was a time we couldn’t watch her for whatever reason, she would go in her crate (which was where she had food and water and toys – she very rarely barked after she was familiar with the process – we did not use the crate for punishment) and she was fine (it was short periods of time).  As she got older, we started to allow her more freedom – first she was able to go in one or two rooms without constant supervision, and then it increased as she proved she wasn’t having accidents, chewing the furniture etc.  


Finally, I read somewhere that some dogs like watching people clean up after them and will continue to make messes inside because they feel more in-charge (or something to that effect).  Maybe make sure she is in a different room when you are cleaning up any accidents.  Just a thought… not sure how effective it will be.


Good luck!!

Post # 5
3575 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I agree with @EvaBoston.  You have to keep her outside until she goes.  Is this a pain in the butt?  Oh yes, but the pup should get it eventually.  Even, now with my two, ages 2 and 3, if they aren’t doing a thing on our walk, I will continue to walk them until they go.  And I also agree with taking her out every hour whether she has to go or not.

Praise, praise, praise when the pup goes outside!  Make a huge party.  Even though you might feel funny, make it a big deal.  Another thing I did was when the dog was actually peeing or pooping outside, I would repeat, “Poopie Milo, Milo Poopie” etc, etc.  So now that they are older, if they are taking a while I will start to say that and attempt to get the message across to them.  But now they know what pee pee means and get rather excited when I ask if they need to for a pee pee.

I’ve also read that showing the dog the spot/area where they made the mess if inside the house, does nothing.  If it’s not an immediate discipline, they’ll have no clue why you’re upset with them.

Good luck. 

Post # 6
3526 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

When she came she was suppose to be paper trained …. well that was a lie … she has no clue what to do to a puppy pad or newspaper other than destroy it.

If I am reading this correctly you are letting her go potty inside? Whether it’s in her crate or a designated area? I think this is a big no no. She needs to associate that potty is outside. I agree with others that when you are trying to potty train you need to take them outside every hour on the hour. Whether you think they want to go or not. Like you have done, immediately after they have gone potty when they are still outside praise them immensely and we gave treats immediately. We always had it in our pockets so that immediately when she went potty we gave her the treat. The couple times she had an accident in the house we literally stuck her nose in it, took her out, brought her in, stuck her nose back in it, told her bad girl, smacked her butt and put her in her crate for 15 minutes. We made real big deals out of it. She definitely knew that she did something bad because usually after then she always avoided the spot like the plague.

If all else fails I would consider getting professional help (from local SPCA?) before returning her to the shelter or making her a outside dog. 🙁

Good Luck!

Post # 7
2025 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I always think crate training is the way to go, but I know a lot of people are wierd about it. Just as EvaBoston mentioned, if you can’t keep your eyes on her, put her in the crate. And I have always been told that a puppy should only be left in a crate as old as they are +1, so if your puppy is about 4 months, you shouldn’t keep her crated for more than 5 hours (this means walking her in the middle of the night for a while).

And if you do have her running around the house, I would definetly take her out at least every hour like the pp’s explained and make a huge stink about what a wonderful job she did AS SOON as she goes potty. And my dogs both go on command, because I taught them “potty,” so that is an option to teach her.

While in the house, if she makes a mistake, only punish her if you acutally catch her in the act. She is too young to understand what you are punishing her for if time has passed at all. Most small dogs are pretty sensitive, so just saying “NO!” sternly should be enough punishment. Also, if you do catch her in the act, bring her outside immediatly and let her walk. It’s just another way to show her that if she’s going potty, she needs to be outside.

I also agree with Gerbera that letting her go inside at all (unless you want her to do it forever), is a terrible idea. Think how confusing it may be for her that sometimes is okay to go inside, but sometimes its not.

Just remember that smaller dogs often take longer to housetrain than larger ones, and some are never 100% potty trained. It’s just their nature (and their teeny bladders).

Post # 8
3526 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2010


That +1 rule is the same rule the trainers at my local SPCA told us about and we followed. It worked beautifully with our dog. And yes it did mean waking up in the middle of the night to take her potty. Let me tell you, she was not happy about waking up in the middle of the night in winter! 😀 And it meant having to go home in the middle of the work day to take her out for months before she was old enough to go the whole day.

We have been extremely lucky that our pup is a champ when it comes to holding her bladder. She only had like 3 accidents in the house the whole time we’ve had her, coming up on four years. And she holds her bladder from 7am till about 4pm when the Fiance gets home.

Post # 10
1569 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 1996

I agree with everyone that puppy pads are a horrible idea. I have never understood why they exist.  They teach puppies exactly the wrong thing.

Crate training, crate training, crate training. Keep the dog in her crate absolutely 24/7 unless she is directly supervised. This will feel awful for you for a while, but the dog is really fine with it especially when she’s so small. You made it sound like she has peed in her crate before, which probably means the crate is too large. Get a puppy divider to keep her in a smaller portion of the cage, which will make her feel more secure and trigger her denning instinct, which will prevent her from wanting to pee in the area where she sleeps. Take her out about once an hour to pee, and stay out there until she does so, and when she does, go NUTS praising her and give her the best treats in the whole world – say, pieces of fresh deli meat or whatever she goes crazy for. Our dog trainer says “Why would your dog pee inside for free when they can get paid to do it outside?”

Also very important: don’t bring her back inside immediately after she pees/poops, or else she will learn that peeing and pooping means the end of outside time. After you go crazy praising and giving her treats, then let her have a few minutes to enjoy being outside. She’ll start doing it sooner that way.

I don’t have a small breed dog (mine is 29 lbs at 6 months) but this is based on copious reading and the advice of our trainer that we paid a fair bit of money to teach the puppy kindergarten class we attended for 6 weeks with the little rascal. Ours certainly isn’t perfect, and had a serious relapse around the 6 month mark when he suddenly decided that peeing on the carpet was preferable to going out in the cold and rain, but with every “accident” we restricted his freedom for a while and we’re making progress. Good luck, and please don’t give your dog back! There is hope!

Post # 11
512 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I agree wholeheartedly with EvaBoston and LittlestBirds — you need to be very diligent with your dog about going outside.  She probably hasn’t had it click yet that she needs to go out every time – especially if she’s ever been crate trained.  Definitely go out with her and wait until she does her business – but don’t rush her back inside, or she’ll never rush to do her business.  Make sure to give her treats when she goes outside. 

We crate trained and it worked out great.  Dogs will not do their business in their crate, so long as the crate isn’t too big for the dog.

Don’t punish your dog once she’s done her business inside the house.  There are two issues with this: one, your dog doesn’t understand that the accident is the issue, but thinks that the puddle/pile is the issue (they don’t understand the action being their problam); second issue is that you’re giving your dog negative attention.  Some dogs, if they feel that they’re not getting enough attention, will do something bad just to get attention. They’re like kids this way: if you’re ignoring your kid, they miught grab a marker and draw on the wall, dogs do the same thing.  Kind of. 😉

When you see your dog squatting, make a LOUD noise – we used a can filled with coins. You can also clap. This scares the dog enough that they stop doing what they’re doing, so you can run her outside so she can finish her business.


Hope it helps!

Post # 12
1288 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010 - Indiana Memorial Union

Crate training will help a lot, but do you have any friends with dogs? Dogs can learn from other dogs how to be housebroken. You would want your friend to come over for several hours over the course of a few days and every time your friend’s dog goes outside, your dog should want to go outside too.

But if that’s not possible, definitely use the crate whenever you can’t watch your dog like a hawk and keep trying the treats when she pees outside!

Post # 14
2214 posts
Buzzing bee

You can go to a pet store and buy crate dividers.  The crate I bought for me dog actually came with a divider. It’s Icrate brand, I believe.

My parents had a real hard time housebreaking their dog because with work they just couldn’t bring the dog out every hour like he needed.  After a few months they ended up hiring a dog walker/trainer to come to the house while they were at work to help with the housebreaking.  After that, it only took a few weeks for him to be housetrained, and they gradually got rid of the trainer until he could stay home for 7-8 hours without peeing in the house.  It was pretty expensive, but it worked.

I agree with everyone else’s advice too.  Praise is huge and so is not using the crate as punishment.  Keeping her in the crate whenever your not home is the way to go until she can be trusted not to have an accident in the house.  Puppy pads are a big no-no.

Post # 15
420 posts
Helper bee

They need a strong leader, if they see you as weak they will try to put there rules on you. They are also more of a stubborn breed as i’ve heard.

potty training really feels hopeless sometimes. we would just pay close attention to there movements then take them outside right away. also in the beggining we were taking them out every 2 hours. i know thats more difficult with a work schedule. my newest dog i felt would never learn, we got him 2 weeks before christmas also.. he still poops in the house occasionally as his poop schedule is still like 4x a day lol! but he’s picking up standing in front of the door. What about trying bells hanging from the door? Jingle when shes gotta pee?

I know these are things you have probably already tried, but she will get it!

& i hate potty pads!! they are a joke.

Post # 16
273 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2010

We have a 3 month old puppy that we are trying to house break right now….. and I was just getting to my wits end, when today I FINALLY didn’t have to clean up ANY accidents!!! yay!! We use the crate at night and when we can’t be watching her, but we also keep her on a leash even in the house and clip her to my belt so that she’s never out of sight doing rudeness.  Also we had to take her out every hour at first, gradually increase the time as she learns.  Also pick up her water bowl at 6:30 and no more water until morning.  I learned that from Victoria on animal planet.  Any whenever she is doing it outside make sure you say “potty, go potty potty potty” till she’s done then she’ll learn what it means and do it on command.

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