Litterbox Training for your Puppy
I am always amused by the responses I get when I tell potential puppy buyers that the pup they are looking at is litterbox trained, LOL. Reactions range from astonishment, amazement to disbelief and most often the "Why didn't I think of that!" response :o).
I hope you realize and appreciate the fact that a pup that already knows where to go to go potty, is halfways there with housebreaking!!!
Litterbox training works beautifully with young puppies, older puppies/teenagers and even smaller adults - you just need to adjust the size of the litterbox to the size of the dog. It works for me because I can leave puppies out to play and run about, and not have to worry about multiple poop piles and puddles to clean up every time I take my eye of them.
This photo above shows a 4 and almost 6 month old PekePoo using the litterbox, these are by no way small babies and they still continue to go there faithfully. Instead of a sweaterbox - for community puppy potty areas - I like to use "under the bed" storage boxes, as they are larger and can accommodate several pups going at the same time. If you know anything about multiple puppies - if one has to go, more likely than not - another one will need to go to!
How to set up your Litterbox -
Make it an easy Transition from My Place to Yours!
Make it an easy Transition from My Place to Yours!
My preferred litter to use is Feline Pine. It smells great, comes in various size bags and is less dusty than traditional clay or scooping litters. If a pup plays in it, it won't have loads of weird materials stuck in itscoat, and it is kind to their tummies in case one has to eat a pellet or two. There are a number of other litter alternatives out there, but for starters stick with the Feline Pine, as this is what your puppy is already used to.
Do not use clumping cat litters - this stuff gets stuck in the coats and swells up and ruins the fur and is a nightmare to brush or god forbid - wash out! Don't use crystal type of litters either - there is no telling what can happen if the pup eats some, as they will sometimes play with the litter too.
You'll be able to get Feline Pine at Walmart and most major grocery stores carry it in their pet sections as well. And of course in petstores too. Be sure to get the non-clumping variety that looks like rabbit food pellets, not the loose type [it is more dusty and messy]. Click on the photo above and it will take you to their website - they often have coupons and rebates for their products available.
Read my Yesterday's News Product Review!
Even though your pup from us has been exposed to litterbox training, it does not know your house yet and or how to get to the litterbox when it needs to go. New to you or younger puppies are often distracted by the going ons, snuggling with your or playing with you, the kids or other pets and don't think ahead - when they need to go, they need to go - and the litterbox better be in reach!
Make it easy for him/her and reduce the potential for confusion, accidents and mishaps and provide 2 or more litterboxes.
Place the first one in its enclosed safe area such as a playpen, play yard, large wire crate or a small area such as a gated laundry room or half bathroom. This should be the area the pup spends time in when you are not home, over night or when you are busy and can't pay attention to the pup.
Place the other litterbox next to the door you use to go take the puppy
outside [wether you go outside to teach "outside pottying" or because
that is simply the door you most frequently use to go outside with the
puppy. If you have a larger than normal house, or a two story home - be
sure to provide a 3rd box somewhere convenient for the little one...
As your puppy grows, gets older and more reliable with pottying and also becomes comfortable with the layout of your home, and gets settled in - it will tend to go to the litterbox on its own. But for starters - you will need to know when puppies are more likely needing to go, and be sure to take it there frequently and encorage it to go. Whenever you put it in the litterbox - praise, praise, praise when it goes, even if it is just a tiny little tinkle!!!
When & How Often does my Puppy need to go???
Seriously - the younger your puppy, the more frequently it needs to go potty. 8-10 week old puppies go as often as every 30-40 minutes or more frequently if they are full. At this age they don't much think of it - when they have to go - they have to go - and you better be paying attention to their body language and activities if they are away from their litterbox and rush them to it.
Between 10-16 weeks, they start paying better attention and they have learned to stop doing what they are doing, and get themselves to the litterbox in time. Watch the video to the right to see that quick pit stop thrown in during play and roughhousing - it went so quick, you might miss it. I almost did and I know to look for the signs, LOL!
- First thing in the morning upon waking up
- After waking up from a nap during the day
- Before being put back into the playpen for rest or a nap
- After coming out of the crate after resting or sleeping
- After having a drink of water
- After eating kibbles or having several snack pieces [going #2]
- After being out playing or tagging along for 20-30 minutes
- After a good while of sleeping on you, or quietly snuggling with you
- When you get up from the couch, chair or bed to go somewhere and leave the pup behind asleep
- When it is getting restless and wants down from your arms or lap
- When it is changing its activity level and begins to walk around in circles or sniffing on the ground
- When it barks and looks at you for no particular reason that you can tell [not inviting to play]
- Around 3-5 in the morning for a very young puppy [8-9 weeks]
Once your pup is in the 12-18 week range, it can hold it better and longer, and they tend to anticipate when they have to go potty. And so will you - until then, you need to be vigilant and pay attention when they have the run of the house. These two boys here are doing very well with using the litterboxes, but I also make sure that they have ready access to them. Would I trust them from one end of the house all the way to the litterbox at the other end of the house with several doors in between that may or may not be open? No, of course not. The secret is either no doors or obstacles, or having several litterboxes in strategic locations.
I find poodle and poodle hybrid puppies to very easy to housebreak using the litterbox system. It lends itself naturally to either as a fulltime potty means, or as a transitional way of going outside to go potty. Not all dog breeds catch on to potty training equally well, but our kids here that have been started this way when they were still on mom or during weaning, are usually pretty solid - in consideration of their ages, and well on their way of being housebroken...