Author Topic: Potty training accidents  (Read 1879 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline emybemy

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 23
  • Location: California
  • Mood: Exhausted
  • SDC interest: owner-trainer
Potty training accidents
« on: September 29, 2016, 03:34:20 PM »
I thought my pup was some kind of prodigy when I first got her because she was about 60% potty trained after a day or two.  And she was only 8 weeks old at the time!

Now she's 11 weeks old and is still at about 60% in potty training.  She's great (100%!) when we visit other people's houses, but at home she has accidents still. 

Here's what I've been doing:
-She is potty pad trained now and will continue to be.  No plans to transition her to outside potty only.
-She is crate trained and has 100% success in her crate from day one.
-She get's lots of praise every time I "catch" her going on her potty pad.  No treat, but lots of praise.
-If I catch her mid accident, I pick her up and put her on the potty pad.
-I clean up the accidents with white vinegar.  I leave the pee/poo smelling paper towels on her potty pad for a while after I clean up.
-I do not reprimand her for accidents.
-I would say my eyes are on her most of the time.  My parents who help with her care are vigilant, but less than I am.
-She has access to a place to potty any time she is down on the ground. She has never had any accidents on furniture or when being carried. (I only carry her because she doesn't have all her shots yet.)
-I change her potty pad often enough that there is always plenty of clean space.  (she doesn't like to use a stinky pad.  don't blame her!)  She is tiny so she gets about 3 - 4 uses out of one pad.

Here's the issues/questions:
-Is it even reasonable to expect 100% success at this age?  (I think it's reasonable to expect accidents still, my parents think my pup should be perfect already.)
-Most of the accidents happen within a few inches of the potty pad.  Any ideas of how to make sure she goes on the potty pad instead of near it?  This is really the big issue.
-Most of her accidents happen in the early morning or around dinner time.  Maybe that gives a clue of why this happens?
-Most of her accidents happen in the same place.  I use white vinegar as an enzymatic cleaner.  Is there a better cleaning solution to use?
-Do I change the potty pad often enough?

Thanks so much!  I know this is a common question, and I have done research, but I still had some remaining questions. 
The team:
Zoey, born 7/3/16.  SD candidate - allergy allert.  Likes chewing on things and chasing after toys.
Emily, 27, occupational therapist.  Likes traveling, art, and throwing things for Zoey to chase.

Offline Ariel

  • Scruffmaster Extraordinaire
  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Posts: 4435
  • Location: North Carolina, USA
  • Mood: Cynical
  • SDC interest: SD partner
Re: Potty training accidents
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2016, 04:24:27 PM »
The bladder of an 11 week old puppy is not fully developed, she physically is not able to hold it for extended periods of time. However, it's possible to have 100% no accidents and the deciding factor in that is you. You say your eyes are on her most of the time. If your eyes are on her any time she's out and when you're not watching, she's crated, then you will see whenever she has to go, better learn and anticipate her need and get her to the potty patch faster. Now I'm curious why you're doing pads and have no plans to have her go outside to potty?
Jubilee - Service Dog - German Wirehaired Pointer
Jubi's FB page!
In Loving Memory of Service Dog Saxon (6/5/13-12/2/15)

Offline emybemy

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 23
  • Location: California
  • Mood: Exhausted
  • SDC interest: owner-trainer
Re: Potty training accidents
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2016, 09:15:24 PM »
Thanks for the advice/questions!  I do agree that the accidents are on me!  I just don't know what I need to do to change things. 


She always has access to a potty pad.  She just chooses not to use it sometimes or to go near but not on the pad.  She also usually has accidents when she has gone within the past half hour or so.  She usually holds her bladder for over two hours (by choice as she has access to her pad) so going twice in an hour is unusual unless she had an accident.  If she really has to go, it's a beeline to her potty pad.   No amount of fun playing or treats distracts her.  She's a puppy on a mission!   

I do watch her most of the time (like 90%+, sometimes dinner is burning or I get a phone call so I look away for 10-60 seconds), I just don't always get to her in time when she starts going.  I have mobility issues, so I don't move quite as fast as other people.  I also haven't been able to figure out her pre-potty behaviors.  She sniffs around constantly, so I don't know when she's sniffing because she wants to potty.  I'm working on it thought.  :0)

My parents unfortunately don't watch her as closely as I do and they experience more accidents.  I even wonder if it's an attention seeking behavior because she tends to have accidents when she's not getting as much attention (aka I'm not in the room because I'm asleep haha).  The exception is when she goes near, but not on her potty pad. 

The reason I'm training her on a potty pad is my mobility issues that make it hard for me to accommodate the frequent in/out she'd need.  I think it will also make things easier if say, we go on a long outing and she only has access to a potty pad because there is no opportunity to go outside.  (Like on a plane or at a full day conference.)  She's so tiny that she doesn't make that big of a mess.

She does go outside regularly to play and will sometimes go potty during play breaks.  I praise her so she knows that it is ok to go outside as well as inside on her potty pad. 

I think the main issues are:
1. I need to train my parents, not my pup!  haha
2. How do I show my pup that going near the potty pad isn't the goal?  The goal is to go ON the potty pad.   
The team:
Zoey, born 7/3/16.  SD candidate - allergy allert.  Likes chewing on things and chasing after toys.
Emily, 27, occupational therapist.  Likes traveling, art, and throwing things for Zoey to chase.

Online Azariah

  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2431
  • Location: Midwest United States
  • Mood: Tired
  • SDC interest: owner-trainer
Re: Potty training accidents
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2016, 10:08:50 PM »
A few thoughts:

1) At 11 weeks a puppy usually doesn't have full bladder control. So there could still be accidents. For example my 11 week old puppy knows to go outside for the most part. But there are times that she  cannot hold it from our bedroom upstairs to outside.

2) I tend to tether my dog to me or in a spot where I can see them in the same room when I am potty training. Just makes it easier for me to keep an eye on them. It also can avoid the escaping to pee in a corner issue. I do a little bit of tether training before I put them on a tether just so it isn't seen as a bad thing.

3) My puppy tends to pee anytime after she is playing. Even if she just went 5 mins ago. So you might keep an eye on the "when" she is having accidents and maybe take her out more frequently then. Just a thought.

Invisible physical and mental disabilities.
Advanced experience training obedience dogs. Very new to training service dogs.
Current Samoyeds: Rio (11), Cosmo (3), Serenity (SDiT)

Offline Ariel

  • Scruffmaster Extraordinaire
  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Posts: 4435
  • Location: North Carolina, USA
  • Mood: Cynical
  • SDC interest: SD partner
Re: Potty training accidents
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2016, 02:47:20 AM »
Azariah brings up several great points. When Jubilee was much younger I put a 6' nylon leash on her and that was her drag line. I didn't tether her to me, but that leash was always in my hand or within instant reach of my hand any time she was outside of her crate. There were times I didn't feel like watching her or wanted to sleep or rest and I'd just crate her. She has never had a crate accident, like your pup. She only ever had 7 accidents in any sort of puppy bladder stage. She had two accidents with a UTI at about 6 months, but those were not housebreaking issues. Some of those 7 times were what Azariah described, where she'd woken up and let me know she needed to go outside but I did not carry her out or she made it right to the door because I didn't get up fast enough. She often needed to pee directly after waking, before meals, and then about 5-10 minutes after meals and 10-15 minutes after the start of play and then often 20-30 minutes after play. Excitement stimulates the bladder, so things like being let out of the crate, you coming to play with her, chasing toys, eating, training, it's very exciting, so that needs to be factored into planning around her puppy bladder.
Jubilee - Service Dog - German Wirehaired Pointer
Jubi's FB page!
In Loving Memory of Service Dog Saxon (6/5/13-12/2/15)

Offline Kirsten

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 39463
  • Have a flufftastic day!
  • Location: Missouri, USA
  • Mood: Okay
  • SDC interest: owner-trainer
Re: Potty training accidents
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2016, 10:09:08 PM »
Yes it's reasonable to expect 100% but from the supervisor, not the puppy.  Puppies do not begin to get actual sphincter control until about three months and it's not solid control until around five months.  So even if the spirit is willing they may not physically have sufficient control of their own bodies to do what know you prefer.

Tardis did zero fault toilet training as a pup.  He is four now.  From the time I brought him home as a little puppy he never had an accident in my home.  So yes, if you supervise sufficiently it is possible and in fact desirable to have zero accidents because they aren't actually accidents but missed opportunities for training and insufficient supervision.

You can control when pup needs to toilet to a large extent by scheduling when pup eats, drinks, sleeps, plays and toilets.  Pups on a schedule for the other things on the list will tend to start toileting on a schedule as well.

You can also predict pup will need to toilet upon waking up (first thing in the morning and after naps), about half an hour after meals (exact time may vary by pup), and a few minutes into vigorous exercise or play.  His body is pre-programmed to dump waste products upon experiencing these specific triggers.

At birth, newborn puppies are physically incapable of dumping urine and feces by themselves.  Their toileting behavior is 100% under the control of their mother who sort of pushes the button for release of waste only when she is ready to immediately clean it up.  A diligent mother and breeder who keep the puppy area clean make toilet training much easier by instilling in the pup a sense that clean is normal and dirty is abnormal.  Pup will tend to desire what he finds familiar.  This is why crate training works (why pups come preprogrammed with a preference for not toileting where they sleep, which is why they are less likely to toilet in crates than elsewhere in the house and why crates are a good place to park them when you cannot keep eyes on them).

Gradually pups start to get sphincter control.  By the time they go home they are able to release their bladder and bowels, but have very little advanced warning that the need to release is coming so they may be physically incapable of holding it in until they reach the door or communicate the need.  That is not their fault.  And that's why prediction is an important aid to helping them put waste in it's proper place.

Whether you are using a piddle pad or taking pup outside, the routine is the same.  You watch and prevent toileting in an inappropriate place, interrupt attempts to toilet incorrectly and zoom the pup to the designated place and praise when completed in the right place.  Even if you picked them up in a wrong location in mid stream and rushed them to the right place, if pup manages to finish in the right place, he gets reinforcement.  Usually the act of lifting pup during toileting will interrupt toileting briefly, but not always.

Don't allow pup to be in another room unsupervised.

Don't allow or expect pup to toilet alone.  Even if pup takes himself to the designated area you must go with him in order to reinforce and every single correct effort should be reinforced while the stuff is streaming out and immediately upon completion, not minutes or hours later.

Every time pup toilets inappropriately, toilet training is delayed and weakened.  Yes, it is labor intensive, but well worth the effort to stay right on top of it from the start so you can finish training earlier and be done with it.

From ages 3 to 5 months, most of the effort will probably be in increasing the length of time pup can hold it before he has no choice but to release it.  By 5 months most will be able to make it through the night pretty reliably and you can let them start sleeping outside of the crate and off of a tether.  If all the foundation was done correctly.
Kirsten and Tardis
In loving memory of Cole (1/11/99 - 6/26/12)  He gave me back my life.

"The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world -- the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous -- is his dog." -George G. Vest

Offline emybemy

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 23
  • Location: California
  • Mood: Exhausted
  • SDC interest: owner-trainer
Re: Potty training accidents
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2016, 10:37:08 PM »
Wow!  Thanks so much for all the great information and advice! 

Today was a zero accident day!  So that's awesome!  I didn't do anything differently though, so I can't really give myself a pat on the back yet.

In the future, I think I like the idea of the trailing leash.  That will help me get to her in time.  I think I'll also start moving her to the center of the potty pad even when she's only a few inches away so she knows that she should go in the middle, not half on-half off the pad.

I think I'm going to keep a written record of when she goes potty because trying to remember it will explode my poor brain.  haha  That way I can see patterns and start to watch her extra close (as in not just have my eyes on her but be physically within arms reach) when it's a usual potty time.   

I'm not sure what to do about my parents.  I talked to them this morning and they scoffed at the idea of vigilantly watching her whenever she's not in her crate.  Training them will be the hard part!  But until they are on board, I'm sure the accidents will still happen.  I think I'll institute a rule that whoever's watch the accident happened on, is whoever cleans it up.  Currently I clean up everything, so maybe this will help motivate them to get on board! 

One follow up question...sometimes when I interrupt an accident to put her on the pad, she stops going and doesn't resume going.  This morning I interrupted her during her morning poo and she didn't go again until after lunch.  Is this bad for her? 

Thanks again!
The team:
Zoey, born 7/3/16.  SD candidate - allergy allert.  Likes chewing on things and chasing after toys.
Emily, 27, occupational therapist.  Likes traveling, art, and throwing things for Zoey to chase.

Online Azariah

  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2431
  • Location: Midwest United States
  • Mood: Tired
  • SDC interest: owner-trainer
Re: Potty training accidents
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2016, 11:08:53 PM »
Here's some advice that "might" work for your parents. It is what my husband and I agreed to quite awhile ago with puppies. We are on our fourth puppy together so have been through this a few times.

He isn't particularly diligent about the 100% eyes on the puppy rule. He understands you really need to catch a puppy right away while in the potty training stage, chewing, etc... but it just isn't in his personality to watch anything 100%. I can't fault him for that. So when he is in charge of "puppy watching" he tethers the puppy near him. The majority of the time, since the puppy is so close anyway, he can the dog out of the corner of his eye start to chew something or start to pee. It also gives him a reminder that the puppy is there so that he remembers to take her out every 30-60 minutes or when she first gets up from resting.  It works for us. It accomplishes the same thing without telling my husband how to do it and works with the fact he has some attention challenges.

Your parents might change their mind anyway when puppy starts to chew. I don't mind cleaning up tinkle as it can be cleaned up. You can't repair chewed things very easily. The bigger reason why puppy stays in sight for me.
Invisible physical and mental disabilities.
Advanced experience training obedience dogs. Very new to training service dogs.
Current Samoyeds: Rio (11), Cosmo (3), Serenity (SDiT)

Offline Summertime.and.Azkaban

  • Resident Terrier Wrangler
  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Posts: 1961
  • Holli and Azkaban
  • Location: North Carolina USA
  • Mood: Tired
  • SDC interest: owner-trainer
Re: Potty training accidents
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2016, 03:43:08 PM »
Puppies need constant supervision. I would not feel comfortable leaving a SD prospect with someone who refuses to watch the dog or train according to my standards. My dad has a habit of yelling and kicking at dogs when they get underfoot. He's welcome to do this with his own dogs, but I don't allow my dogs to get underfoot because I don't want them to become fearful. He doesn't care for my SD prospect because he can't be trusted to adhere to my standards.

If your parents won't supervise the dog at the level necessary, don't leave the puppy with them. They're going to continue to allow accidents to happen because they don't supervise, so until puppy is reliably trained to toilet in the designated area don't expect them to watch her. The more accidents they allow to happen the longer and harder it's going to be to complete toilet training.
-Azkaban, Rayner, and Chewy-
"I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights" -Desmond Tutu
PM me about being pen pals or receiving a holiday card in the mail!

Online Azariah

  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2431
  • Location: Midwest United States
  • Mood: Tired
  • SDC interest: owner-trainer
Re: Potty training accidents
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2016, 10:09:44 PM »
I get that Summertime...but for once I might press back a little bit. I usually don't. But there is a reality of being disabled where sometimes you don't have the luxury of watching your puppy 100% and need to rely on others. I rely on my husband some and he is not as diligent as me. In an ideal world I'd be able to watch my puppy 100% of the time - but in that same ideal world I wouldn't be disabled too. So the parents might need to watch some (I don't know the situation).
Invisible physical and mental disabilities.
Advanced experience training obedience dogs. Very new to training service dogs.
Current Samoyeds: Rio (11), Cosmo (3), Serenity (SDiT)

Offline Summertime.and.Azkaban

  • Resident Terrier Wrangler
  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Posts: 1961
  • Holli and Azkaban
  • Location: North Carolina USA
  • Mood: Tired
  • SDC interest: owner-trainer
Re: Potty training accidents
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2016, 12:47:29 PM »
I get that Summertime...but for once I might press back a little bit. I usually don't. But there is a reality of being disabled where sometimes you don't have the luxury of watching your puppy 100% and need to rely on others. I rely on my husband some and he is not as diligent as me. In an ideal world I'd be able to watch my puppy 100% of the time - but in that same ideal world I wouldn't be disabled too. So the parents might need to watch some (I don't know the situation).

I understand that and did consider it when replying. But even though your husband is less persistent than you, he doesn't actively damage training like OP's parents are. He makes an effort to uphold potty training and to instill good habits in the pup even though he might not always hit the mark. OP's parents are completely ignoring the pup when it's in their care, which is akin to the dog having no caretaker at all.

Everyone has different limitations and I can understand being physically or emotionally incapable of supervising a puppy at all times, and I can understand leaving a dog in the care of a less than ideal caretaker due to situations out of your control. I'm in that situation myself. I'm really very sorry if I came off insensitively about that. But if OP is at all capable of being the sole supervisor of the puppy, they should consider that until puppy is reliably housebroken. Leaving puppy with parents is going to continue to give puppy inconsistent messages on appropriate toileting and I'm not sure how much overall headway OP is going to be able to make if puppy is allowed to toilet where she pleases half of the time.

I'm going to liken it to childcare. I will most certianlly have a specific way I do things with my son, and his father will have specific ways he does things as well. As much as it may irritate me that things aren't being done my way, I'm going to do my best not to tell my fiance that he's doing things wrong because he's not doing it the way I would. As long as he's changing, feeding, burping and providing whatever other care mini-me may need, I'll consider it a job well done. Your husband is watching Serenity in a different way. He's not doing it the way you would, no, but he is watching her and providing the care a puppy her age needs.

In that situation, OP's parents could be likened to a spouse or grandparent who doesn't burp baby before laying them down, or puts them to bed on their tummy. It's a different way of doing things, but it's just not appropriate for the puppy's level of development at the moment. Their way of doing things will be fine once puppy/baby hits certain milestones, but for now it's non-helpful and possibly damaging.

Obviously the stakes aren't as high in the two situations, but it's the only analogy I could come up with.

Once again, I'm sorry if I was insensitive or sounded like I didn't understand why OP would be leaving puppy with their parents. Lot of stuff going on right now and my responses are getting more to-the-point than I intend. I'm not fleshing out my responses and making sure recipients understand that I'm not offering hard or fast solutions to problems or that I may not grasp the entirety of the situation like I usually do, I'm just trying to get out the first and most direct answer I have.
-Azkaban, Rayner, and Chewy-
"I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights" -Desmond Tutu
PM me about being pen pals or receiving a holiday card in the mail!

Online Azariah

  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2431
  • Location: Midwest United States
  • Mood: Tired
  • SDC interest: owner-trainer
Re: Potty training accidents
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2016, 12:52:11 PM »
Summertime you are doing awesome.
Invisible physical and mental disabilities.
Advanced experience training obedience dogs. Very new to training service dogs.
Current Samoyeds: Rio (11), Cosmo (3), Serenity (SDiT)

Offline emybemy

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 23
  • Location: California
  • Mood: Exhausted
  • SDC interest: owner-trainer
Re: Potty training accidents
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2016, 10:45:54 PM »


I understand that and did consider it when replying. But even though your husband is less persistent than you, he doesn't actively damage training like OP's parents are. He makes an effort to uphold potty training and to instill good habits in the pup even though he might not always hit the mark. OP's parents are completely ignoring the pup when it's in their care, which is akin to the dog having no caretaker at all.



My parents are definitely more like Azariah's husband, they just don't have Zoey tethered.  (But maybe they will if I bring it up.  It's a great idea, Azariah!  If I'm doing it, why not them too!)  They are pretty involved, and do make a great effort.  They are both completely smitten by her.  They play with her, snuggle, train, etc. but they aren't watching her 98% of the time like I am.    It's really two or three minutes here or there that they don't have their eyes on her and even then, they are in the same room.  So Zoey isn't being neglected or mistreated.  And my parents only watch her in the morning and night because I sleep more than my parents and I didn't want to keep Zoey crated when the rest of the family was awake. 
But Summertime is very right and those minutes of them getting distracted certainly are hurting potty training efforts.  I'm making it a priority to work with them to figure something out that works for all of us.  Since I posted this thread, things have gotten better (yay), but there's still a ways to go.  I live under their roof, so I do have to respect them and what they can do.  I have to remember that Zoey a part of their world as opposed to her being the center of mine. 

Thanks everyone for their input.  As I said above, things are getting better.  We are down to only 0-2 accidents per day.  :0)
The team:
Zoey, born 7/3/16.  SD candidate - allergy allert.  Likes chewing on things and chasing after toys.
Emily, 27, occupational therapist.  Likes traveling, art, and throwing things for Zoey to chase.

Offline Summertime.and.Azkaban

  • Resident Terrier Wrangler
  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Posts: 1961
  • Holli and Azkaban
  • Location: North Carolina USA
  • Mood: Tired
  • SDC interest: owner-trainer
Re: Potty training accidents
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2016, 11:33:23 AM »
I apologize if I sounded like I believed your parents were neglecting Zoey, I never meant to insinuate that. You had mentioned that they scoffed at the idea of watching her vigilantly when she's uncrated and I based my assessment off of that, which was obviously incorrect.

If toileting is still hit or miss, I'd take a crack at a tether and see if that helps your parents keep tabs on her. I tether my pups until the learn the rules of the house, including my stance on counter surfing and housebreaking. I still have to tether my SDiT on occasion at a year and a half old because he gets excited playing with the other dogs and loses his manners.
-Azkaban, Rayner, and Chewy-
"I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights" -Desmond Tutu
PM me about being pen pals or receiving a holiday card in the mail!

Online Azariah

  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2431
  • Location: Midwest United States
  • Mood: Tired
  • SDC interest: owner-trainer
Re: Potty training accidents
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2016, 02:05:57 PM »
Serenity had a few accidents "behind" my husband this week when she was untethered. I had to gently remind him to tether her or crate her. He always feels bad crating her and I reminded him that she is not crated much in the day (compared to our other dogs as puppies) since I am home right now. If he cannot watch her crate her. Very hard to tell him that but it was going to set me back in potty training.
Invisible physical and mental disabilities.
Advanced experience training obedience dogs. Very new to training service dogs.
Current Samoyeds: Rio (11), Cosmo (3), Serenity (SDiT)