Potty Training Adult Dog?

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!


The Guardian
Barked: Tue Sep 18, '07 5:41pm PST 
Okay... So, Steele had been trained to use the "paper" inside for about the first 16 months of his life. He's currently 19 months old. I began training him to go outside b/c the paper thing was getting... a little out of hand. So I bought him a crate and began the training. Of course I knew there'd be accidents for a while, so at first when he would make an accident, I'd say in a calm but serious voice, "No.", and bring him straight out. It got to where he knew he was supposed to go outside. I know that he knows b/c for about a week, he started trying to tell us. He'd go to the door, and walk back to us and stare at us. I'd bring him out, and sure enough he'd go take his "number 2". He even WHINED one time. To the door, back to me, stared at me. Back to door, back to me and whined. Took him out, he did his stuff. I thought, GREAT! I can't believe how quickly he learned! It had only been a week since we started. BUT that only lasted a few days to a week, and then he started going inside again, and continues to do so no matter how much I correct him. I catch him in the act nearly EVERY SINGLE TIME. Since we've bagan, I've only missed him about 2-3 times. I don't know what his problem is. -_- He KNOWS to go out, but won't or doesn't know how to tell us. But he /should/ know how since he's done it before with the whining thing. And sometimes he'll try to tell us, but the sign is so light that it's nearly impossible to tell. All he does (somtimes) is go to the door and walk away from it, then he'll "go" inside. How is anyone supposed to notice that? Especially when I'm in my room or pretty much any other room besides the living room. The only reason I know this is b/c after he'd go inside, I'd realize that right before he went, I saw him go to the door out the glance of my eye. But he goes to the door so much during the day like if he hears a sound outside or if only the screen door is closed, he'll sit at the door looking outside forever just to see what's going on. So when he does go to the door b/c he needs to "go", even if you do see him, you don't think anything of it. I've even tried teaching him to scratch on the door. Every time I'm about to go outside with him, I'll say "Outside?". And he's learned to scratch on the door when I say that. But he hasn't connected the two and doesn't know to scratch on the door to go outside. He just knows it as a command. Soooo, I'm wondering, would this work?
Here it is:
I'll crate him all the time. I'll take him out at very specific times during the day, everyday so he'll learn when he's gonna get to go out. So that way, if he's in his crate all day, then he won't want to do his stuff in there and won't do his stuff until I take him out. Will that teach him that he needs to wait to go outside an not go inside? B/c apparently, he's not gonna learn to scratch on the door. How can you teach a dog to scratch on the door to go out anyway? I would think you'd have to know EXACTLY when the dog has to pee and poo to do that. And Steele has no schedule. He just goes randomly. Unlike my other dog, Nighque, who is really predictable, and does number 2 after her afternoon meal and, well, she just waits to go outside to pee. But Steele... Ugh, I'm getting annoyed. So would the crate thing work? I know it sounds "cruel", but before you say that, keep in mind that I'll be exercising him and he sleeps all day anyway, so what's the difference if he sleeps in the livng room or in his crate? shrug Sooooo, any ideas? And congrats if you actually read all of this. applause

P.S. Oh, and the being in the crate thing everyday would only last for about no more than a week, and hopefully by then he'll understand to wait to go outside. Of course I'm not going to leave him in there every day for the rest of his life. xP Just thought I'd clear that up incase anyone got confused. =P

Edited by author Tue Sep 18, '07 5:46pm PST


we will dance in- the ring without- words
Barked: Tue Sep 18, '07 5:55pm PST 
First of all, a dog can not be considered housebroken unless he has gone ~ 6 months without an accident.

Second, it is not a good idea to correct a dog for going in the house. It can lead to other issues, like eating feces. Certainly, a loud noise to startle/stop him and then right outside with no reaction is acceptible.

Thirdly, it is always a good idea to praise and treat and basically act like a crazy, happy person when a dog does go in the correct place.

Crating is fine. You could also keep a log (sounds weird, I know) to try to figure out if there is a pattern you are missing. When he is out of the crate, keep him tethered to you so you can constantly supervise. When he does go outside, leave him out an additional 10 minutes to be sure he is empty.

Good luck!
Goofball - CGC, CL1

Just Goofy.
Barked: Tue Sep 18, '07 6:33pm PST 
If accidents are happening, go back to square one (that you would for any non-housebroken pup). Supervise your dog when walking freely about (use leash to tether if dog tends to wander or hide when going potty). Be prepared to make a startle sound (be sure the sound is gauged to your dogs sensitivity level). An adult dog does not need to go potty outside as often as a pup, so catching when they need to go can be difficult. Especially if your dog holds it until you forget to watch him for a few seconds. (My dog held pee for 24 hours and poop for 3 days. She normally peed 3-4 times and pooped once every day or two.)

Another tip is, if your dog is used to going on a potty pad when allowed to go indoors, take that outside to the spot you want your dog to go.

My dog Goofy was raised for the first year of her life to go potty indoors on a potty pad in a wired cage. I decided to teach her to go potty outside. I had a hard time to start trying to just get her to go potty straight outside. She was obviously confused and made errors in the house. I finally realized how stupid my request was and put her wired cage outside with a potty pad. It only took a few times and she understood I was not insane and what I wanted her to do. I gave her treats every time she needed to go potty. I taught her what "Go Potty" meant. But sometimes she didn't need to go potty and we both stood outside like morons trying to see when the other would figure it out. I taught her how to queue me when she was done or doesn't need to go yet. I had her sit before we would go in. This meant she either is done going or doesn't need to just yet. Better than standing out there for half an hour staring at each other stupidly.

Crates work great for potty training for outdoors. Mine stayed in one when she wasn't supervised when I transitioned her to the outdoors. Only when she went potty did she have freedom (but still supervised) for a period of time.

Daisy - R.I.P.

Good Morning- Beautiful.
Barked: Tue Sep 18, '07 6:43pm PST 
May I ask WHY he was allowed to potty in the house for 16 mths? I have housebroken a 3 yr old in a week but she was NEVER inside a house before mine.

The Guardian
Barked: Tue Sep 18, '07 7:17pm PST 
Thanks, Asher and Goofball. =) Good advice. ^^

Daisy- When we got our first dog, Strider, we had taught him to go on the paper inside. So when we got Steele, that's what we taught him, too. We didn't think anything of it. Personally, I don't see why some people think I'm crazy for teaching my dog to go on the paper. There's more than one way of potty training a dog. Some people paper train them, some people train them to go outside, and some people even litter train their dogs (small dogs). I've simply decided that I would now like to train him to go outside. I understand he's used to going inside, so I wasn't be hard on him at all. Now, though, since he knows he's supposed to go outside, and to try to get the hint across more clearly that it's now BAD to go inside, I correct him with a loud 'NO!", mostly just to startle him from the loud sound and try to get the point across, and bring him straight out. Nighque, though, is paper trained /and/ trained to go out. She was kept outside in a kennel for the first year and a half of her life (from her previous owners) so she automatically knows to go outside. She's also paper trained b/c when I got her and Steele was still using the paper, I let her do that too, and she knew right away to go on the paper b/c Steele was doing it. And now, if you have paper inside and don't bring her out, then she'll go on there. But if you don't have paper down and bring her outside instead, she'll do her stuff outside. Even if you do have paper down, and you still bring her out, she'll go outside and if I wouldn't feel like bringing her out sometimes, then she'll go on the paper. It's pretty cool. I wish Steele was like that. =P

The sweetest- boy!

Barked: Tue Sep 18, '07 7:30pm PST 
"Personally, I don't see why some people think I'm crazy for teaching my dog to go on the paper. There's more than one way of potty training a dog."

I do not think anyone thinks you are crazy, but paper training is usually reserved for little dogs... as you now know, paper training a large dog is... erm... messy.

I agree with the above poster's advice, good luck!

for Rio - CYSTS BE GONE!!
Barked: Wed Sep 19, '07 4:43am PST 
To get a more obvious sign that he needs to go out, try hanging sleigh bells on the door. I used those until my two were a year old or so. That way you won't miss Steele's message. Just ring them every time you go out for a while, saying "outside" - and then try giving it as a command with tons of praise for ringing. And taking him straight out of course!

I'd treat him like a pup too - constant supervision. I had mine leashed to me inside for a while. Our breeder told us the old joke about housebreaking, which is so true. Any time the dog goes inside, roll up a newspaper and hit yourself over the head while you repeat "I should have been watching the puppy!"

The Guardian
Barked: Wed Sep 19, '07 5:53am PST 
Thanks, Vincent. =) But I've tried the command thing already. Just not with bells, but with scratching on the door. But he doesn't connect the two, he only knows it as a command. He now knows that 'outside' means to scratch on the door, but he still doesn't know to scratch if he needs to go out. I assume the bells would end up the same. =P

I dunno, I'll try something. It seems like he had been doing fine and started to let us know he had to go out (the whining thing) up until I started correcting/startling him (a loud NO). Maybe I just shouldn't say anything and take him straight out? And maybe bring treats every time we go out to reward him for doing his stuff outside? I dunno. There's so many ways you can do it, I don't know where to start. xP
Bailey Jade

I am the Cookie- monster
Barked: Wed Sep 19, '07 6:45am PST 
My mommy taught me to jingle the bells with my nose if I need to go out!!!!!!!way to go

Master of water- frisbee!
Barked: Wed Sep 19, '07 9:19am PST 
How did you teach Bailey Jade to jingle the bells when she needs to go out?? That is awesome! We have been using the crate with Bailey and he has figured out not to pee in the kitchen (his crate and food are in there) but I had him with me in my office and he just let it go on the carpet. I think I would've preferred he go on the kitchen floor - easier to clean. Sometimes it seems like he will never get it. I let the dogs stay outside alot of the day for fresh air and play. Should I be keeping Bailey in his crate all day instead, taking him out every couple of hours? It seems so unfair since the other dogs can be free (of course, the other dogs are housetrained). I wonder if I'm not teaching him by letting him be outside during the day. Any feedback would be appreciated. I definitely want to know about the bells, though!