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How to Potty Train a Dog: 3 Methods for House Training Puppies

Pam loves animals and has done her fair share of puppy potty training.

Potty training dogs is tough work—here are a few techniques that will help you housetrain your pup!

Potty training dogs is tough work—here are a few techniques that will help you housetrain your pup!

3 Different Ways to Potty Train a Puppy

I adore animals—especially dogs—so I've done my share of potty training. Housebreaking a puppy isn't as difficult as you might think, but it does take patience, consistency, and understanding. Puppies are like toddlers—their bladders are small, their attention spans are short, and teaching them anything requires diligence and consistency.

Your first step is to research and choose a solid potty training method that fits your lifestyle and capacity. When choosing a method, be prepared to stick with it and be consistent; otherwise, you will only confuse your pet.

3 Potty Training Methods

  1. Use Housebreaking Pads
  2. Use a Crate
  3. Try Clicker Training

Can you mix these potty training methods?

You may find that several methods work well together, such as using a combination of crate training, clicker training, and using housebreaking pads which are three very popular training methods that will be discussed below in this article.

Pads are one method you can use to housetrain your dog.

Pads are one method you can use to housetrain your dog.

1. Use Housebreaking Pads

Housebreaking means teaching a dog to relieve himself either outside or in a specific location within the house. First, consider the breed you're getting, and decide where you want him to relieve himself. Small breeds do very well with an outdoor or indoor program using pads.

  • A housebreaking pad (or puppy pad, piddle pad, wee pad, pee pad, pooch pad) is a rectangular absorbent pad with a plastic backing that you can put anywhere in your home.
  • You can buy disposable or washable pads that can be reused or even make your own. For example, a vinyl tablecloth works great as long as you cover it with something absorbent like newspaper. You can cut the tablecloth into any size you want and cover it with several layers of newspaper. After it's soiled, throw the newspaper away, clean the pad off, and lay out new layers of clean newspaper. Disposable pads are by far the most convenient, and you can generally buy them for a reasonable price.
  • Pads are normally used for training purposes or for elderly incontinent dogs. However, if your new pet is a small breed, like a Chihuahua or a Pomeranian, then you can train him to use a pad and continue to use one throughout his adult life.
  • This is probably the easiest method:
  1. Choose a location in your house to place the pad.
  2. When you see signs that he needs to go relieve himself, like sniffing and walking around in a circle, then pick him up and place him on the pad.
  3. When he's finished, reward him. He'll get the idea very quickly to go to the pad to do his business, then you can start moving the pad closer to an exit door leading to the outside area where you want him to eventually end up relieving himself.
  4. Once the pad has been moved to your exit door, watch for times when he goes in that direction and follow him. Instead of letting him go on the pad, open the door and take him outside and praise him for doing his business outside. Soon, he will have the idea and start barking for you to open the door so he can go out.

The only problem sometimes associated with using pads is that the dog is trained to know that it's okay to relieve himself in the house, so you might end up with accidents in unwanted locations, like on throw rugs or anything that resembles a piddle pad.

However, I suspect that this is only true if you prolong the use of pads before making the switch to outdoors exclusively. Most puppies are very easy to train. Once they understand how to use a pad, then they are ready to start learning how to relieve themselves outside, and this can happen within a matter of days.

Crate training is a technique you can use to potty train your puppy.

Crate training is a technique you can use to potty train your puppy.

2. Use a Crate

Crate training involves purchasing a crate and putting your pup in it when you can not supervise him and at night when you sleep.

  • This method works well because a dog generally will not soil the area where he sleeps.
  • A crate will also prevent them from getting into trouble and possibly injuring themselves when you're not available to watch over them.
  • What's also great is that the puppy will quickly pick up on the fact that he can hold his bladder and that it's not necessary to go every single time the urge hits.

Some things to keep in mind if you're opting for this method:

  • The crate should be large enough for the puppy to be comfortable sleeping, but not so large that he can soil one end and go sleep on the other end. This defeats the whole purpose. In fact, if by some rare chance he soils it, that might actually indicate you've left him in there too long. This could become a habit, so don't leave him in there for long periods of time until he can gain better control of the urge to relieve himself.
  • Put something soft, like a small blanket, in the crate for the pop to sleep on. You can put a chew toy in there as well, for times during the day when you can't supervise him.
  • The crate is never used for punishment. The idea is to use it when you're not around. It should represent a safe place where the puppy wants to go.
Clicker training can be a useful potty-training method.

Clicker training can be a useful potty-training method.

3. Try Clicker Training

Clicker training is used for many different purposes, such as housebreaking, stopping excessive barking, controlling aggression, and promoting positive behavior in general. The clicker is a small device that makes a distinctive clicking sound when you press the button. The sound followed by positive reinforcement lets them know they've done something good.

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This method is different from using verbal commands because it always makes the same exact sound and has the same meaning each time you use it, unlike your voice, which can vary in tone and have different meanings.

  • You can use the clicker during the housebreaking process to let your puppy know when he's done his business in the right place.
  • Make sure you follow up immediately with positive reinforcement—your choice of either a small treat or affection.

If you're consistent in using a clicker to indicate all good things, then housebreaking should be a snap.

Using a Clicker for Potty Training

Puppy Potty Training Tips

  • One of the most important aspects of potty training is making sure that you or someone in your family has time to spend training the new pup. This can simply mean having a long weekend at home to get things started.
  • Know that a puppy will not have the ability to hold its bladder for extended periods of time. Supposedly, at about 8 to 9 weeks old, most can hold out for 7 to 8 hours. However, I've seen it take a little longer for one to control the bladder for that long. No adult dog should have to hold their bladder for over 10 hours—ever.
  • Understand predictable pee times. There are specific times when a puppy will need to go: after waking from a nap, about 30 minutes after eating, and after playing. So train yourself to automatically take the puppy where you want him to relieve himself at those times.
  • Establish a schedule for times to take them out (from morning to night) and follow it relentlessly until they are house-trained.
  • Always praise him for doing his business in the right place.
  • Never punish a dog over an accident—that will only make him afraid of you. Clean it up and watch him more closely. If you catch him having an accident, gently pick him up (I usually take the accident with me if I can) and put him (and the accident) where you want him to relieve himself.

Potty Training Puppies Requires Patience

Puppies need love, understanding, and patience. They should never be left unsupervised, and if you don't want to use a crate, then puppy-proof one room or area of your house so that there will be a safe place for him to be left alone when you can't watch after him. Put a housebreaking pad in the area with him if you'll be away for a long period of time.

If you find that all of your housebreaking efforts aren't working, and your puppy can't seem to hold his bladder or bowel movements for increasingly longer periods of time, then take him to the vet because there could be a medical problem.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.


Mamabolo on June 08, 2018:


I have a pitbull puppy for about a month now, he is 2 months old. I am doing the pee pad training and try to catch him as much as I can, especially on the weekends. I work on week days, and he is in a confined space during the day bathroom, but he pees and poops everywhere... any advise?

joana on January 29, 2013:

i just got a new puppy about 2 1/2 months...

want to train him with pads since i live in an apt.

How do i start?

i have had dogs before but were trained when i adopted them so had no problem this is my first PUPPY


Pomeranian Pup on August 09, 2012:


I've had my Pomeranian for about a month now, he's 2.5 months old. I'm doing the pee pad training, and try to catch him as much as I can, especially on the weekends. I work on week days, and he is in a confined space during the day (bathroom), but he pees and poops EVERYWHERE! He gets treats every time he actually uses the pads and all that, it's just seems like it's taking an awful long time to train. He also knows it's wrong to do it elsewhere, as every time he pees on the floor he runs to the pad AFTERWARDS.. gaahhh.. any advice? He's tiny and we live in an apartment so outside training wouldn't work too well.

porkiemom on March 22, 2012:

Hi,I have a few questions. Have a 5 month old porkie and this potty training thing is either very slow or I am doing something wrong. Working parents, she stays in a 4 x 4 playpen during the day folded back so there is an area for her potty pad and a small area for food and water and her toys. I Have had her for 2 months and been trying to train her on outside and the pads because she too small to expect her to hold it for long periods when we are away. Still having constant accidents in the house, I have to bring her to pad to get her to go there, sometimes (quite rare) I see that she has gone on her own, but been enforcing this for 2 months tirelessly and most of these posts say she should have the most of it by now. Shes far from trained and I am not sure what next. One small problem is that there is always food and water down, I have another dog and 2 cats whom are older and their food is always down. I don't want to upset their schedule to make the pup listen, I keep a close eye on her and try to only let her eat in certain times spans throughout the day, could this be the problem? She still urinates every 15 to 20 minutes, do they eventually just learn to hold it? I timed getting a puppy because I had plans to replace the flooring and assumed potty training would be well under control in a few months, getting ready for the floors please help.

Jordanbrooke on March 20, 2012:

Hi I am in need of some help , I have bought a 8 week old choc lab puppy well he will be 10 weeks tomorrow , we are crate training him at the moment how ever he is going toilet (urine ) on his bed pretty much every night and still barking and crying to go out first thing so I get up when I hear him to let him go toilet but he has already been through the nIght on his bed , his crate is xl as I know that he will need a big crate but ppl on here say he needs a smaller crate but I thought if its larger then at least of he has an accident it's not where he sleeps !

Please help me because I don't know where I'm going wrong and hate the thought of my new puppy having to sleep in urine :-(


Maree Michael Martin from Northwest Washington on an Island on March 12, 2012:

great answers to the question I was asking, thanks!

mandaweaver on March 05, 2012:

Hi there. I have a 2 1/2 year old mix. Bearded collie and golden doodle. I adopted him when he was 5 1/2 months old. He was crate trained and stayed in a crate during his "chewing" stage of life. He no longer chews and no longer has to stay in a crate while home alone. I get up with him in the morning and let him out first thing and let him run about in the yard and explore. He then is in the house for 9 to 10 hours while I am at work. Then when I come home he immediately goes out and potty's then plays a little. I have dinner and then he has my attention for the evening. We play with literally every toy in his basket. His choice. He does great with his schedule. He plays while home alone. I come home and find all of his toys out. He does great. I would like to train him to use a pee pad while I am not home if he needs to go. I'm not sure how to do this since he is already set in stone on going outside. Any suggestions and tips are greatly appreciated!

Christi on January 22, 2012:

Hi, ive had tootie for almost a month now. She is almost 5 month old shorkie (shitzu/yorkie). I know she is gettin the concept that she is suppose to go outside. i keep her on a long leash when inside so she cant get out of my sight and when i take her outside i use the commands and when she does her business i give her a treat. She comes runnin for it! But i give her a lil freedom she messes up. Also when i keep her in crate i know she can hold it for 5-6 night i take her out before bed and i set my alarm to take her out but i wake up to a surprise! But after i take her out in the middle of night and go back to bed she holds it till i get up in the morning. Any suggestions? What am i doin right? Wrong?

Cake on January 18, 2011:

I will update you on his health as well as myself with him. Thanks so much for your kindness. I truly appreciated =)

Pam Roberson (author) from Virginia on January 17, 2011:

Cake, when you take the puppy to get his shots, ask the vet what he/she thinks about your situation. Also, I should have made myself more clear when I suggested talking to a breeder...ask a different one than the one you got the puppy from. ;)

You are indeed a kind person to take on such a task. The puppy has been very fortunate to have you looking after him.

Good luck to you.

Cake on January 17, 2011:

Your are very kind person I recognized. The breeder is pretty much irresponsible because they do not want any puppies. The least I can think is they can put them in basket with all his 8 sis n bro. Like I said one cant make it =(. I got very sick bc of many sleepless night and I finally knocked out. he is now 5 weeks old, I made a pee padd house for him, and he pees on pee pad but as long as i let him out, he pee little on carpet and everywhere. he is a big eater and cant control himself when it comes to eating or goats milk. he looks alot bigger and healthier . I get some sleep now and there but he whines at night when he hungry. I will get him his shots tomorrow and we'll see from there. I might give up but he is precious.

Pam Roberson (author) from Virginia on January 14, 2011:

Cake, I'm very sorry to hear of your distress, and I understand how trying it can be to not get any sleep. You're obviously putting forth tremendous effort.

My experience doesn't include puppies of this age, and it sounds like he's way too young to train. Have you tried talking to a breeder to find out what they do to maintain litters before they are ready to leave? All puppies have to be house trained when you get them from a breeder, so the breeder does 'something' to maintain this situation and keep it under control which doesn't involve getting up and down all night and losing sleep. Find out what that is. You may need to simply make the bedding out of something disposable (not a blanket--maybe shredded newspaper) until the puppy is old enough to potty train. This way you can scoop it out and throw it away every morning and replace it.

I'll also ask around and see what I can find out, but I think your best answers will come from a breeder who deals with this situation all the time.

I wish you the very best.

Cake on January 13, 2011:

Hi, I have a 4 weeks old Maltipoo (not really the Maltese + Poodle) Dad and Mom are mixture themselves. I know it is too early to take home a pup. The reason is the liter has 9 and one have passed on, so breeders need to get rid of them asap.

Now, I am fulltime babysitter , I am sleepless every night since he arrived. I have formula milk, warm blanket,crate,dry food ( soak in water before feed him). I make a big box with little entrance for potty train him. Then I put pee pad in it with newspapter on top. 1st day&night , he makes noise when he want to go pee. 2nd day&night, he still pee when I put him in but when he walks out , he sniff carpet n start pee in drops n all over if he continue walking. 3 day& night, he pee on his bed in his crate and yet all over carpet. I am clueless with sleepless now. I have read and seek for help all over the net and it doesn't help.He will bite (teething)he wil rip of blanket if I dont watch him closely.

when he has accident , I pick him up n say no. Again, I pick him up and put him in bucket for punishment. He cries so much and I cant handle the noise. So I pick him up (bad reward) but I dont have a choice.

It he too young to train or I have to wait till he is 6 weeks old n will have his first shot. he is on on his 5 weeks ( he seems to be a healthy one n active). I am become clueless everyday and thinking about giving him up when he reaches his 8 weeks. I never sleep for 2 hrs bc I have to take him out from his bed to go pee pee bc he is too young.

I really like to have a well train dog but I have headache everyday so I am frustrating. I search on net for puppy train place and willing to spend money to train him but now I need serious help. I don't know how long I will last. Please help asap. Thanks

Pam Roberson (author) from Virginia on December 20, 2010:

arizonataylor, I wish you the best with your new puppy! Thank you so much for coming in to read and for the kind comment.

arizonataylor from Arizona on December 19, 2010:

Thank you for the hub. I just purchased a puppy, and this hub was helpful. I kept hearing people talk about housebreaking pads, but I didn't really know what they were. Great hub. Thumbs up. I vote awesome.

Pam Roberson (author) from Virginia on August 03, 2010:

Parker, thank you so much for taking the time to leave such helpful advice for Mandy. I hope she comes back to read it. It will definitely be very helpful for anyone else who comes here to read. Thank you! If you don't mind, I'll incorporate what you've shared into the article when I have time. :)

parkercoleman on August 02, 2010:

I admire Pam for taking on such a complex topic with so many variables. Every dog is different and each response is as different as is each dog.

To Mandy, you might want to do some research on the breed. Cockers can be difficult sometimes and react emotionally about change in their environment. They also tend to have bladder issues. One thing that may help you out is to get the spray meant to cause a dog to urinate. The idea is to move the venue for the behavior. When dogs scent another dog's or their own(or sometimes human) urine, they automatically "let down" and have to eliminate. If you use this spray outside where you want her to pee, this will work for the peeing.It really does make them go immediately.

The crating theory is rooted in the fact that dogs hate to foul their beds. Make sure her crate is only big enough for her to stand up, turn around and curl up in. This prevents the tried-and-true canine monkey business-- the old push the bed as far toward the front as possible and pretend this 3" area in the rear of the crate is in a different universe from my bed, thereby making it an approved spot for pooping, or what not.

If she sees you as competition for her Alpha Bitch position, you will need to work on establishing dominance. First, is she spayed? I believe I would start there. If that doesn't help, Cesar has some great ways to establish "calm and submissive" behavior.

Good Luck, my thoughts are with you. I had a Cocker once with the same issues. I never was able to resolve them. Her issue was spinal damage from arthritis.

Pam Roberson (author) from Virginia on June 28, 2010:

Thanks cjmo, and best of luck with your puppy next week!

puppy576--I think that's why puppies are born so darned we'll have the patience of saints. ;)

cjmo75 from Tempe, Arizona on June 27, 2010:

Very informative and well written Hub. Looks like you've covered all the basics here-an then some! Great info for when I get my puppy next week.

puppy576 on May 21, 2010:

Patience, yes! Cute shot there with specs ;)

Romaida on February 06, 2010:

I have a 6 month old chihuahua/pomeranian/poodle mix pup that I'm having trouble housebreaking. I started using wee wee pads and now I want him to go outside. How should I go about the transition since I don't have a fenced in backyard? I'm scared he may run off.

Pam Roberson (author) from Virginia on November 08, 2009:

Hi akirchner, sorry the clicker didn't work for your malamute. They are too smart for their own good! I had a black lab who didn't need any type of housebreaking at all, but she was so stubborn about everything else. lol! Anyway, thanks for coming in to read and for the wonderful comment! :)

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on November 07, 2009:

Great hub - only wish the clicker worked for malamutes - ha ha - I think they look at it and go "yeah right" - but all GREAT info!

Donna on October 16, 2009:

Hi everyone,

I just wondered if any of you had any tips on getting my 9 month labrador from pooing and weeing during the night. Sometimes she is really good and doesn't make a mess other morning i get up to a lot of mess! Please Help!!!

Pam Roberson (author) from Virginia on March 10, 2009:

Oh Mandy, I can't tell you how sorry I am to hear this. :( I understand how horribly frustrating this must be for you, and I also understand that some difficult decisions have to be made. At this point, the only other thing you can try is obedience training with a professional. Although, for many of us, this can be an expense that isn't possible. But perhaps there is a trainer in your area who would be willing to at least talk to you about this? Maybe someone would be willing to barter their services in some way if expense is an issue?

Thank you for keeping me posted, and, again, I feel badly for you and your family. You've given this so much effort.

Mandy on March 10, 2009:

Hi Pam,

Well we are three weeks into crate training and no closer to getting Minx house trained. When first crated Minx would cry and scratch to be set free, she damaged one of her nails in the process. But we did not give up! After the first week of crating she would and still does fall asleep in the crate quite content. The only plus side of taking Minx for continuous walks was that I lost some weight, other than that no elimination from Minx. Minx continues to use the house and now as she is growing bigger and can jump onto our beds she is doing her business on the beds as well, makes no difference whose bed she uses. She has started attacking our cat, first in a playful way and then she gets rough and tries to grab him by the throat. Minx also seems to be developing a jealous trait which is not acceptable. Nobody is allowed to hug each other or show our cat affection as she flies into a frenzy and starts growling and biting anyone or anything in the vicinty. It is almost as if she looses control and does not know what she is doing. As for catching her doing her business; that is no problem as she will come and relieve herself in which ever room she finds someone. She will wee or defecate once she is sure she has that persons attention, raising your voice does not make her stop and if you pick her up she will continue to wee, to her it makes no difference.

Some good news: She has learnt to walk on the lead without being carried back home, to sit on command and leave it alone - three very important words as far as the cat is concerned.

I have been away again and this time it made no difference to Minx's behaviour. Now we sadly need to make that heartbreaking decisions.

justmesuzanne from Texas on February 24, 2009:

Excellent intormation! :D Thank you!

Pam Roberson (author) from Virginia on February 17, 2009:

Thanks for keeping me posted Mandy. That is a very interesting observation you shared, and she's evidently viewing your husband as the leader of the pack and respecting his wishes. Dogs are so smart...sometimes too smart! I wish you the best Mandy, I know you can take control of this situation. Please do keep me posted. :)

Mandy on February 17, 2009:

Dear Pam,

Thank you so much for this advice, I will keep you updated as to what is happening. Just a short observation: I have been away for a couple of days and in that time my husband & daughter reported Minx did not mess in the house at all but went outside on every occasion. When I arrived back Minx started messing in the house again. I'm off to buy a crate...

Thanks once again, really is appreciated

Pam Roberson (author) from Virginia on February 14, 2009:

Mandy, I want to paste the reply I got from the person who is an obedience trainer. Perhaps there are others who can benefit from her advice as well. She read your comment and replied with this...

"The answer to this is take the dog outside for the walk and if there is no elimination, the dog is crated.  Take the dog out again in 15 minutes.  If there is elimination, celebrate as usual and then the dog comes into the home.  No elimination back to the crate.  This doesn't give the dog a chance to use the house as a toilet. 

If you catch the dog going to the bathroom in your home then you can reprimand with a vocal correction.  If it happened even a second before you caught the dog then your timing is amiss and you can no longer hold the dog responsible.  That's the truth.  If you don't watch the dog then the mistake is yours.  Furthermore even after an elimination in the house the dog needs to go outside immediately. 

The portion of the comment explaining the dog crying and howling demonstrates the dog being in charge of the humans in that household.  If you let a dog free after bad behavior you have just put the gold seal of approval on that behavior. 

Minx seems "untrainable" because she is more of a dominant dog and the other dogs were more willing to be followers or there was a stronger leader in the family at that time.  If a dog sits one day they are rewarded.  If they don't sit the next day you don't move a muscle until that dog is sitting.  You make the dog sit.

No, this dog should not be sent to a home with a more dominant dog (very bad idea).  Although having the dog around another well behaved dog helps as a role model."

Cris A from Manila, Philippines on February 11, 2009:

go here quick! but i must warn you've been called many names...oh you will find out!

Pam Roberson (author) from Virginia on February 11, 2009:

Mandy, I'm so sorry you're having this problem, and I wish I could have seen your message sooner, but I'm experiencing some serious internet problems.

If you will send me a message through the "contact" link in the top right portion of this page, then I can put you in direct contact with a woman who is a professional in obedience training. Just make sure to include an email address that you feel comfortable with giving out.

Meanwhile, I will email her (internet service allowing) and see what she thinks.

I understand how frustrating this must be for you, and I hope to be able to help in some way.

Mandy on February 10, 2009:

Please help any advise will be appreciated.

We have a 4 month old cocker spaniel called Minx. We had trained Minx using the housebreaking pads and moving the pads closer to the door until Minx was going outside to do her potty. Two weeks after Minx was potty trained she started doing her potty in the house. She would be outside and come back in to use the house as her toilet. We once again introduced the pads but Minx does not use them. She does her potty where and when she pleases. If she is reprimanded with a stern voice (we do not shout) she growls and barks. We then ignore her and she doesn't seemed bothered in the least. If she does on occasion use the outside we praise her and give her a doggy treat. I am at home with Minx during the day and we have a cat who loves to play chasing games with her. She gets taken for three walks a day and never relieves herself during the walks, she will wait until she is back at home and then uses the house. We have tried confining her to one section of the house but she cries, howls and scratches on the door until she has the run of the house.

We do not know what more to do... we have had dogs previously and they were trained with no problems, Minx seems untrainable. She will respond to the sit command one day and the next she ignores you. She will walk perfectly on her lead enjoying her walk, then with the next walk which is 4 hrs later, she will bite the lead, run ahead even though the lead is held short and she ends up choking herself, at times she will sit and refuse to walk further, a 30 minute walk ends up to be an hour as I need to encourage and praise her every couple of steps.

It has suggested she be given to a home where there is a dominant male dog... is this going to be our solution?

Pam Roberson (author) from Virginia on January 29, 2009:

Hi Shalini, thanks, I named him Falstaff, but after more of his personality started becoming more clear, his name ended up being Bubba. lol!

Muttador...I love that! :D If he already has a history of liking pups, then you're right, he'll do just fine. :) I'd be curious to know if you've been able to identify small traits of other dogs in your muttador.

I also have a dog that is half golden retriever and half shepherd. The golden side of her takes over everything. So much so that we call her Halo. :)

Thanks for sharing!

Shalini Kagal from India on January 28, 2009:

Loved that bit about your American Eskimo dog and the visitor Pam :D

They are such beautiful dogs!

We have a Muttador who's a year old - half Lab, half mutt - and we're hoping he gets along with the new cocker spaniel pup. He's awfully good with pups though - still, I've got my fingers crossed!

Pam Roberson (author) from Virginia on January 28, 2009:

How cute that there's a cartoon bear named that. I do think Humphrey is a neat name, and Humpty is really cute. Gosh, I think all my dogs ended up with a nickname that had little to do with their real names. But I think that happens when they get older and you see more of their personality. ;)

Thanks for sharing your experience and deductions about potty training large vs. small dogs and females vs. males. I think you're on to something about large dogs being easier, and I wonder if it's because their bladders and other things are larger and easier to hold. Hmm.

ajcor from NSW. Australia on January 27, 2009:

Thanks for your lovely words Pam - hubber buddy - and I wish you all best particularly for 2009! - To answer your question: I have, pre Harriett , always had big dogs and I have found- with our "Humphrey'' being the exception- girl dogs were easier to train but now I have had to re-adjust that view to bigger dogs regardless of sex, are easier to train than smaller dogs.

Humphrey is sometimes known as Humph, Humpty or even Humphrey D.Dog - we have here in Australia a life size walking talking cartoon bear (wears a tartan waistcoat) on television who is called Humphrey B. Bear - so a bit of fun for our Humph.. cheers

Pam Roberson (author) from Virginia on January 27, 2009:

Harriet is such a sweet name. :) As for Humphrey, now that is interesting! I can't help but wonder if you ever call him Hump for short. ;) Mine is a black lab too, her name is Shadow, but we call her Moose. lol!

You're welcome ajcor, you are such a good hub buddy, and I wish you the very best always.

I forgot to mention before that if anyone has any idea if females are easier to train than males, please let us know. :)

ajcor from NSW. Australia on January 27, 2009:

Yes that is Harriett who really is the dearest little dog in all the world! (despite her personal problems) and our big black lab who is  known as "the dear boy" is called Humphrey; meet the fur kids - cheers and thanks for your help - 

Pam Roberson (author) from Virginia on January 27, 2009:

ajcor, that could have something to do with it, but I'm not sure. It seems to me like any dog who knows where to "go" and doesn't at certain times, then there must be something else going on. My first impression was that maybe she is experiencing something physical that makes some bowel movements too urgent to make it outside. If it's not physical, then there's the emotional thing. Dogs are smart, and that makes for a number of possibilities! ;) Good luck, and if your sweet girl has to have an operation, then I pray it goes well. Keep me posted. This is the dog in your avatar picture right?

Hi Shalini! Thank you and I wish you the best with your cocker spaniel next month. :) What pretty dogs they are. I hope you'll share pictures with us. As far as females being easier to train than males, that's a very interesting observation! I've only had one male dog and all the others have been females, so I can't say. But I'm thinking that if this is true, then maybe it has something to do with a male dog having that natural and strong urge to "mark" his territory. It's like they can't help but to pee on everything they want to make their own. lol!

I had a beautiful American Eskimo dog, and when he was a pup he relieved himself on the foot of a male visitor. lol! I think that was a bold statement for the fellow to not get too comfortable in the pup's palace. ;)

"Thanks for coming in!

Shalini Kagal from India on January 26, 2009:

Love the idea of the pads - I've always used just newspaper - the plastic/vinyl backing sounds so practical - can't think why it didn't occur to me!! :) With a cocker spaniel pup coming in next month, that's a great tip at just the right time.

Just an aside - I've found that female dogs are easier to potty train than males - anyone else feels the same?

ajcor from NSW. Australia on January 26, 2009:

Thanks for the vet tip Pam - I just thought she does have an anal gland problem that requires a monthly trip to her vet and we have thinking of her having the op as it has become quite an uncomfortable & ongoing problem for her - so now I am wondering if there could be a connection with this and the other ....duh!   I have never spoken to the vet about her accident issues...

Pam Roberson (author) from Virginia on January 26, 2009:

Hey Mellas! Thanks for telling me about the electronic trainer remote. I'll have to check that out. I appreciate you sharing! It's always helpful when others share what works for them. Thanks again! :)

Hey ajcor! Long time no see. ;) Isn't that amazing about labs? Our 2 year old girl has never ever had an accident in the house since the day we brought her in. Glad to hear yours has been very good that way too. :)

About your little miniature fox terrier/Jack russel, she's a real cutie! Thank goodness it's not a problem with the urine. That is the worst to try and clean up. I would definitely try the pads. It's not hard for them to get the idea about where to go.

At 2 years old, you wouldn't think she'd have any control problems, so you might want to have her checked out by the vet too to rule out any other types of problems associated with the intestines. Especially if she continues to do it after introducing the pads. Now I'm not suggesting you aren't a very good mom, I know you are, but sometimes there can be problems that aren't easily recognized and the only tip we may have is behavior that seems a little odd. Know what I mean?

Thank you both for coming in for a read. :)

ajcor from NSW. Australia on January 26, 2009:

Hi Pam - we have a black lab. who is 7 years old and has never had an accident inside - TG is all I can say as he does have huge grogans and it is bad enough going on the treasure hunt to clean all that up! - but we have a little miniature fox terrier/Jack russel who despite doors being left open for her still manages at 2 years of age to have the odd accident inside ( not urine ) which is driving me to despair - love her lots - she is very smart in all other areas but this - however my husband won't let me smack her so my question is do you think these pads would work at her age....suppose i can try - great hub - thanks ..cheers

ps I have always had big dogs (2 labs and a ridgeback) and I come have to the conclusion that big dogs are so much easier to train than little ones!

MellasViews from Earth on January 26, 2009:

The wee wee pads have worked best for us. These are all great ideas though, the pads though, like you said seem to be the easiest method. Funny because we tried the clicker, and it works when it comes to getting them to hush up when we have visitors. We got a new electronic trainer remote though, that works like a charrrrmmmmm!!!!! For barking... I know off topic, thought Id share though. lol.

Great tips Pam. : )

Pam Roberson (author) from Virginia on January 01, 2009:

Hi Amy,

Maltipoos are so adorable! Yes, I do believe that you can train him to use a pad in the pen when you're gone, then to go outside when you're home. I think that will work quite well. Having the pad inside the pen will also let him know that doing his business outside of that area isn't acceptable. You're establishing boundries.

I commend you on being such a responsible and caring dog owner. Nine hours is a very long time, especially for a small dog. You've come up with a very reasonable solution. Having a pen for him is also wonderful. :) I wish you the very best with your maltipoo!

Amy on January 01, 2009:

I have a nine week-old Maltipoo, can I train him to use a potty pad in his pen during the day (I will be gone for nine hours each day at work) AND train him to go outside when I'm home? I only ask because he's so young and won't be able to hold it for so long, or should I wait until he is older and can hold it longer and then move the pad outside? Thanks.

Julianna from SomeWhere Out There on November 19, 2008:

You hit it right on the nose from th enclosed fence to a wide open backyard. I have an empty Folger's can and believe me , I can going to put a handful of coins in it and begin working on this tomorrow. If there are any other ideas, do let me know. I love my cockers and thanks for the comment, they are just a little high strung but spoiled rotten,which also is not good, because you are right they are cute, but overall they are well behaved.:)

I love your babies too as they are absolutely beautiful, but with our son my husband said no large dogs, but if I could have a large dog I definitely would.

Pam Roberson (author) from Virginia on November 19, 2008:

Shiba, I had forgotten how independent minded siberians are! I had a neighbor who couldn't keep his in a fenced yard no matter what he tried. The dog kept figuring out how to undo the latch on the gate, and she refused to be contained. lol!

Right now I have two rescue dogs, one is a black lab mix, and the other is half golden retriever and half belgian shepherd. Both were very easy to train, especially the lab. She has never had an accident in the house from day 1. Before these two I had two American Eskimo dogs who have passed on. I'd have to say that while I think a lab is one of the most happy-go-lucky breeds, they are also the most high energy dogs I've ever seen. I can't keep up with ours. lol! Thanks for asking. :)

shibashake on November 19, 2008:

She is actually pretty easy to train, especially compared to my terror of a Shiba :) Sibes are actually very independent minded, so they are not the most easy to train dogs, but Shania is very food focused, so that helps a lot. Btw. what dogs do you have?

Pam Roberson (author) from Virginia on November 19, 2008:

Hi Shibashake, and thanks for the comment. Siberian's are beautiful dogs and so incredibly smart. I'll bet she was particularly easy to train. :)

shibashake on November 19, 2008:

Love your pictures. The one with the glasses is precious!

Also very good potty training advice. Crate training really helps a lot. Also, when I was training my Siberian puppy, I trained her to go both on pads and to go outside. This was because she had several surgeries, and we could not take her outside when she was recovering. Now that she is older, she only goes outside; probably because she gets rewarded very well when she goes outside :)

Pam Roberson (author) from Virginia on November 19, 2008:

Hi AEvans! Cockers are so cute! You're asking a great question. Are you saying you moved from a place where your backyard was enclosed to everything outside of it and now you've moved to where it's open and your dogs can see what's going on? I'm just trying to understand why the sudden barking is happening.

Regardless of why, the answer would be yes, the clicker should work to improve that. But a more immediate answer is something a dog trainer shared with me not long ago about disruptive barking that is associated with separation anxiety. She said to fill a plastic container with coins (not to the top, but enough to make plenty of noise when you shake it), put a lid on it, and every time your dog starts barking inappropriately, shake the container and say, "No!" very firmly. This type of devise and the noise it makes should get their attention and eventually make them understand that barking at a neighbor or at other times when you don't want it to happen isn't what you want them to do.

Now the reason why I recommended the shaker is because it sounds like you need help with that problem pronto, and this is something you can do while you investigate clicker training further. If you don't mind, I can double check with this trainer to see if she has any other ideas as well.

Julianna from SomeWhere Out There on November 19, 2008:

I love my Cockers and I used puppy pads and gave them big hugs and kisses when they did their no-mo. However since we have relocated to a different environment and our backyard is not brick , my dogs tend to think they can bark at the world. I explained to our new neighbors that they were not barkers as they did not due this before, do you think the bark clicker will work as I have tried everything and it seems to me, that they now want to be heard but mommy is tired of the noise? Can you help me with this? :)

Pam Roberson (author) from Virginia on November 17, 2008:

Thank you for your comment moonlake. It's a great idea to take them to the same area outside, and I'm so glad you pointed that out because most dogs will return to the same spot you trained them to use. I made the mistake of not doing that with a lab I rescued last summer, and she poops all over the yard. It takes forever to clean it all's like an easter egg hunt. lol!

moonlake from America on November 17, 2008:

Good Hub. We always crate trained. When I would take our puppies outside to potty I always took them to the same spot out of the yard into the woods. Once they were trained they never went in the yard they always headed for the woods. Of course not many people have woods near their home but I would think it would also work for a corner of the yard.

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