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Please forgive me if this gets long. I am soon to be bringing home our newest member of the family, a Pomeranian puppy. I am trying to find out everything I could possibly want to know about housetraining now. I have never housetrained a dog before and have many questions. I have heard/read that small dogs are harder to housetrain so I am unsure the best tactic to use.

My house is a 2 story with the Master Suite being upstairs and at the far end of the hall. This is where the puppy will be 'living'. Or at least sleeping. My intention was to buy a decent size puppy playpen and set it up in our bathroom, which has plenty of room and is tiled. I had been intending to have a bed, food/water bowls, toys and puppy pads in the playpen. I will be taking about a week and a half off when I first bring the puppy home, but after that I will be returning to work from 8 to 5, although I am close enough that I can go home at lunch for 25 minutes or so.

So... to start... puppy pads or no? All the carpet in the house is light colored and I am afraid the puppy will think it's all pads and go wherever they want once out of the tiled bathroom. However... my fear with trying to train it to go outside is this... I am under the impression that I should not carry the dog to the outdoors.. it should walk on its own so it learns where to go when it needs to go outside. But to get outside, we will be going down a long hall, two flights of stairs, across a large dining/kitchen area, to the door to the back yard. It's a long way for a tiny puppy to go if they have just woken up and need to go. Plus it's a lot of stairs for what will be a little thing for quite awhile.

I thought pads would be the way to go since it is not ever going to be a huge dog. I live in Missouri so we do get a decent amount of cold weather and snow and just figured pads would be a better solution for a small dog. Reading on this forum however has made me begin to second guess that. So do I carry the puppy outside several times at night? Or use pads at night and try the outside thing when we are up during day and downstairs anyway. When I go back to work, the pads would be useful, because even coming home at lunch, I'm sure there are times it will need to go before I can get there.

Which brings me to my next question. Crate or no. I have had a crate trained dog before years ago. He had no problems hanging out in his crate for hours if need be. But he was a much bigger dog and honestly wasn't out loose in the house a lot. I understand using a crate is not cruel... but for a tiny Pomeranian, I am afraid it will be unrealistic for them to hold it until I get home at lunch and then a longer stretch until I get home around 5:30. I was hoping the playpen and pads would be sufficient. But I don't want to shoot myself in the foot. My intention is for someday this little puppy to be a happy member of our house who can run around where they want (far far in the future) :)

I did also read some about litter boxes for dogs... that's great if it works, but does it?

So please help, any and all advice would be great. I am hoping to have a plan in place before bringing my baby home.
 

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I like having dogs go to the bathroom outside. It's too easy for dogs to get used to just going wherever inside and not paying attention to the pads at all - and even if they go on the pads, you've still got that stuff sitting in the open all day long which isn't much better.

At night, yes, carry her down. It will be faster and easier. Don't worry about her not knowing the way to the door - she'll figure that out in no time.

During the day, while you are at home, I'd set up somewhere else she can be. Either block of a room or get another pen you can move around based on where you want her to be. That way, you can interact with her near the door (for fast trips outside!) without letting her sneak off and have an accident.

I think crate training would be good, at least to start. The basic principle is: when you are watching her and interacting, make sure to take her out frequently and look for signs she needs to go. When you can't watch her, you crate her so that she's less likely to have an accident and certainly not somewhere in the house.

As she gets older, she'll be able to have more freedom - but play that by ear.

I have a small dog too, not a Pomeranian, but a little terrier mix that is about 14 lbs. She can hold her bladder easily for the amount of time you've mentioned. It will be harder for a puppy, but once she gets older and develops some bladder control, she'll be able to do that no problem.

Congrats on your new addition, by the way!! And pictures, when you get them, please!
 

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How many weeks old will your puppy be when you bring her home?
If you are working 8 to 5 plus travel time, I dont think one break in the day is enough potty breaks . Is it possible someone could call in as well and take her out for you. It would make house training a lot easier for you in the long run.
 

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9 or 10 weeks old when I bring her home. I don't really have anyone that could come in and take her out when I'm not there, at least in the morning. In the afternoon, I have a 14 year old who would be home about 3pm that could take her out before I get home at 5:30pm.
 

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My dog is trained to go both inside on the pads and outside. It is just impossible for us to take him out throughout the day because we have jobs. So what we did was put newspapers/potty pads infront of the door that he goes out to potty - this might have been easier for us because of the way our house is structured. Our main floor is the second floor - has living room, kitchen, etc, and our downstairs is the gym area and leads to our backyard (where he poops/pees primarily). So whenever we take him downstairs, he's conditioned and knows that it's time to potty. It took him a while to get him to use the pads (~1-2 weeks), praising him whenever he goes potty on the pads and scolding him when he doesn't. He's now fully potty trained and I recommend you try both. People say training dogs to go potty on the pads makes your dog to think its OK to go inside, but this is certainly not the case, they can be trained in both
 
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