Potty Training: Troubleshooting
In this post, let's explore what to do if all of your efforts go wrong. Below are some troubleshooting ideas for you if you find yourself cleaning up a mess in the house.
My puppy just peed on the floor, what should I do?
First, quickly move puppy outside. Use your voice in a low, louder voice in quick rhythmic bursts saying, "No, No, No!" Pick puppy up suddenly and rush outside as quickly as you can. When you pick up your puppy, cradle it in your arms, don't hold it out in front of you with its back legs dangling. When you pick it up and cradle it, including its bum, it will clench its body and cease to leak. Then, set puppy down outside. If you have a backyard where puppy can be safe, then you can go back inside to clean. If puppy must be supervised in your backyard, ask for help, or stay with puppy until puppy has completely gone potty.When you can, go back inside to clean. You want puppy to be away when you do this so that puppy isn't in your way, stepping in the mess, or getting in your face. So, either leave puppy outside if you can, or put puppy away in its crate while you clean.If its fresh, you probably know right where to clean. Dilute the urine with water... soak the entire area first then sob up the water with a clean towel. Then, use an bacteria/enzyme-based urine cleaner for this, not just any ordinary cleaning agent. The enzymes break up the urine into more manageable bits and the bacteria consumes it. Bacteria are actually alive and so they eat up the urine, completely eliminating the smell and stain. So, make sure that the urine/stain removing solution you use includes bacteria.Here is a great link to how to use a bacteria/enzyme based urine cleaner.There is no need to rub your puppy's nose in the urine or feces. It spreads disease and is not as effective as if you were just to watch your puppy and create a regular routine as described in this unit. Just simply put puppy away, clean the area thoroughly, and continue the potty training routine as if nothing happened. The sudden, loud sound, quick scoop up, and rush to get outside will usually be enough, anyway, to allow puppy to understand that things aren't right and it wouldn't be fun to do that again. It's quite a shock value if you do the three task quick enough...
- No, No, No!
I let me puppy outside to potty and all it wants to do is play.
No one can force a puppy to potty. But, you can set up the system in your favor so that when you do take puppy outside, you are fairly certain it has to go potty. If you have done this with all the routine in place, then walk around the yard with puppy until puppy piddles... twice. Walking gets the juices flowing and gives the puppy some opportunity to sniff in areas where it has gone potty before, giving it a good hint at what to do. So walk around with your velcro puppy so that it walks, too. Keep walking until it does its job. Then, remember to give it just a bit more time to go a second time or to go poo if it has to.If you walk around with your puppy for a long while and puppy still does not go, then you need to switch up your routine. Puppy will have to go after waking up, eating, drinking, and every hour while it is really young. Then, as it learns, it will be able to hold its urges for more and more time. Make sure you are watching puppy for signs and if puppy is beginning to communicate to you, then reward those efforts by bringing it outside. If you have done that and puppy seems to be telling you it needs to go outside because it is learning to communicate, but it doesn't really have to go potty, it just wants to play... then, once puppy begins to play instead of actively sniffing for a spot to potty, then take it back inside the house, but watch it very closely especially to make sure it doesn't give any real need to go potty signals.
My puppy doesn't care about messing where it sleeps. It just goes anyway, no matter how small of a space.
If this is truly the case and you have made sure to follow all of our other recommendations for creating routine and setting your puppy up for success, then you need to help instill in your puppy a stronger desire to be clean as well as create an artificial routine to help puppy learn. Make sure that you pick up any mess right away and take your puppy out to potty regularly, even if puppy isn't giving you the signal. Just create an artificial routine, along with the other routines we recommend. During the night, wake yourself up on a regular schedule to make sure puppy has several opportunities to go out, since it isn't working to communicate with you. Again, make sure to take puppy out when it wakes and after it eats/drinks. Always have clean towels, blankets, and bedding and make sure to use bacteria/enzyme cleaning formula to really get rid of the urine smells that might be around its living area. Routine will be super important as well as an ultra-clean regimen. Then, over time, you can slowly increase the time you have allowed for scheduled potty breaks so that puppy is holding it longer and longer.
My puppy wakes me up in the middle of the night needing to go out and then it just wants to play.
Puppy needs to learn that when it is night, it is time to sleep. So, always be true to your puppy and respond when it asks, but when you take it out at night there is no play time. Set puppy down, walk around with puppy without speaking to it. Make sure it can't get toys that have been lying around and if it picks up a stick, just take it away. Once puppy potties, pick it back up without a word and walk back to the crate. Put puppy back in the crate and close the door. No words need to be spoken. If puppy remains awake whining at you wanting to play, knock the crate with your hand and say, "No!" in a low, guttural way. You can be a bit forceful with a more stubborn pup. You want the shock value, not physical, but shocking. So, be quick and confident with your movements. Be the pack leader and demand that puppy stop playing now and get serious about going back to sleep. Puppy will soon understand that nobody will give in to its antics so, it will settle down and get sleepy again. You can put a little chew toy, such as a bully stick, in its crate to give it something to do while its eyes begin to droop again into a deep sleep. When puppy is sleeping... you sleep, too. Oh... someone told me recently that they put a ticking clock near the crate for a soothing, rhythmic sound to lull puppy to sleep again. Good idea.