We brought Payton home at 5 months old and she was pretty much potty trained. She had a couple accidents when she first arrived, but we attributed that to nervousness and not knowing how to let us know when she needed to go outside and do her business. We started working on potty training with her on day one and she seemed to do just fine. For us potty training is a very proactive situation. You have to keep an eye on your pup at all times and close off any areas of the house where they could quietly sneak off and do their business. You also have to be proactive about taking them out after they have woken up from a nap, had a meal, been playing vigorously, got startled by something, or it's just been a little while since they've gone. For little puppies we take them out every half hour that they are awake, or after any of the above mentioned activites. For teenage dogs with well developed bladders they can be awake in the house and only need a potty break every 3 to 4 hours. When sleeping, puppy's can only go about 2 hours without releiving themselves, so you need to get up and take them out throughout the night. Eventually as they get older and their bladders develop they can go longer and longer without having to go outside. Soon they will be able to make it all night without having to drag you out of bed into the harsh elements of the cold night (remind me again Mark why we bring home our puppies during the winter months?). Crate training really helps with this process because they do not want to soil their "den" and will alert you when they need to go. All of our dogs LOVE the crate because from day one we made the crate a really positive experience (i.e. treats and praise every time they enter the crate whether voluntarily or after being asked to "go to your crate".)
All that being said we thought that Payton was fully potty trained after being with us for almost three months. Uh Oh! We are not quite out of the woods yet. Monday afternoon Mark warned me that Payton was a "hold out" and didn't poop after lunch. I needed to keep an eye on her because she was due. So we went on a walk, no poop. Let her play in the backyard, still no poop. I had her inside with me when Kylie got really frisky, picked up our big squeaky Air Kong football, and started zooming inside the house. I was laughing my you know what off as I watched Kylie get her sisters just as excited about the football as she was. I watched as they all flew by me to chase Kylie down the stairs into our finished basement when it dawned on me "this is a lot of stimulus for a young Payton who hasn't pooed yet!" I ran down the stairs maybe two seconds behind them but it was too late! There it was, right by the pool table..... fresh poop and Payton looking really guilty off in the corner of the basement. Well, my bad, and now a training opportunity. So I go over to the poop and ask Payton "What's this? Did you do this? Nooooo, we go outside!" I pick up the poop and take Payton outside to set it out in the yard so that she can see where poop goes. Well, situation dealt with and we move on right? Nope. At the end of the day I am getting ready to go to bed when I step into something wet and yellow on our bedroom carpet. Pee! What is going on here? I thought we were past all of this. Anyway we realized that Payton is not fully potty trained and we need to back up a little bit. She is always in her crate when no one is home, but we are back to keeping an eye on her at all times, being more proactive about taking her outside before she has an accident, and closing off hiding places in the house. She still sleeps in our room with us at night. We have a baby gate to keep them all in our room with us but Payton could still wander off to the corner of her room to do her business. Since Monday if she wakes up in the morning and doesn't go right back to sleep I get up and put her in her crate knowing she can stay in there for a few minutes until I am ready to fully get up and take all the girls out. You're probably asking yourself "Why don't you just open up the back door and let her go out and do her thing?" Well, we don't have a back door. Yep, three dogs and no back door. So for one of us to take the dogs out in the morning, namely me, we have to get dressed first. A back door is definately on my wish list. Someday maybe!
I know I have blogged alot about poop and pee this morning, but I think it's OK considering my sister in law recently blogged about one of her boys barfing and she included a picture as evidence (Hi Christi!). At least I spared you any pictures of the subject matter! : - )