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Hi all, looking for some advice.

Ted (16-week-old miniature schnauzer) is progressing reasonably well with toilet training.

4 times out of 5, he will go to the toilet any time we bring him out the back yard (which we've been doing every hour/90 minutes, after play sessions, after naps). When we leave him alone in the house (have him fenced off with a baby gate in the kitchen with food, bed, water etc.), he seems to be able to hold it for the last few weeks and there haven't been many accidents - mostly because he sleeps when we're gone, I think.

The problem is, he's not asking to go out. I thought we were making progress last week when he whined a little, I brought him out and he did a number 1 - but he hasn't done that again. If we don't bring him out and don't spot him sniffing around in time, he will go inside.

What should we be doing to encourage him to ask to go out, or does it happen naturally? Crate training not an option right now. I'm ready for this dog to be toilet trained!

Thanks!
 

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Congrats on your mini schnauzer pup. What color is Ted?

It sounds like you are doing a good job at watching him and bringing him outside during regular intervals.

Puppies have very little time in between realizing they need to go and going. Not a lot of time to ask. If you are waiting until the pup is whining, you probably pushing it too far and risking an accident.

Keep taking him outside regularly and give lots of praise and rewards for doing business outside.

May I ask why crate training is not an option? This is a valuable tool for teaching your puppy that they CAN hold it. Plus your dog will likely be put in a crate at some point in its life (vet, boarding, grooming, travel, etc). If you don't teach your puppy that the crate is a safe, comfortable place, then your adult dog will likely not be able to cope when these situations arise. You don't want your dog to be terribly stressed out because it was never crate trained.
 

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Hi Schnauzer Girl,

Thanks for the reply!

He's black and silver.

We do have him in a crate at night and he's very happy there and has been since the day we brought him home at 8 weeks! :) No problems with the crate, it's just a little awkward to constantly carry the crate from upstairs (where he sleeps in the hall) to downstairs (where he spends most of his day) all the time. Also, to be honest, I just don't like the idea of crating him to toilet train him. I know it's not cruel and its his safe space, but I know for a fact he will whine and cry if I'm also in the room and he can't get to me. He hasn't been much of a bad crier so far, so I don't want to get him in the habit, if you get me.

I guess all I'm wondering is if there's a point where it clicks with puppies and they realise they have to ask to go out, or should I be doing something different to encourage him to do that.

Thanks again! :thumbsup:
 

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You might try bell training. I never have, but I know others who have successfully taught their dogs to ring a bell when they want to go out.

The trouble I see with this is that the dog will ring the bell whenever he/she wants to go outside for any reason, not just to potty. And knowing my dogs, they would be ringing that bell all day long because they constantly want outside.

In my experience, just having a good potty schedule is what works best.

Hopefully some others will chime in with other suggestions.
 

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Hi Schnauzer Girl,

Thanks for the reply!

He's black and silver.

We do have him in a crate at night and he's very happy there and has been since the day we brought him home at 8 weeks! :) No problems with the crate, it's just a little awkward to constantly carry the crate from upstairs (where he sleeps in the hall) to downstairs (where he spends most of his day) all the time. Also, to be honest, I just don't like the idea of crating him to toilet train him. I know it's not cruel and its his safe space, but I know for a fact he will whine and cry if I'm also in the room and he can't get to me. He hasn't been much of a bad crier so far, so I don't want to get him in the habit, if you get me.

I guess all I'm wondering is if there's a point where it clicks with puppies and they realise they have to ask to go out, or should I be doing something different to encourage him to do that.

Thanks again! :thumbsup:
Unfortunately some pups will find a way to ask to go out and some won't. What you will get better at is figuring out your pups signals. I have a pup that doesn't "tell me" he needs to go out, if he needs to go out between his normal schedule I can tell by the way he's acting that he needs to go out. That being said his walk/potty schedule is fairly consistent.

Crate training is a huge help to house training. Your schedule with taking him out sounds good. The only way you're going to be getting him in the habit of whining when in his crate is if you encourage it. When he's in his crate he should only be getting attention and praise when he's being quite. It teaches him that being a calm and quiet puppy will bring good things and that whining gets him nothing.
 

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Your puppy might end up giving obvious signals when he needs to go out, or he might end up being really subtle. If you wanted you could teach him to bark (or ring a bell/whine) at the door when he wants out - that's what I did with my puppy. I like this method because it ensures that when he needs to go, he gets to go out promptly. If I relied on a schedule I just know I'd forget sometimes, or there would be times when he needed to go outside of that schedule.

As for barking when they don't actually need to go - I imagine that whether that actually poses a significant problem or not would vary from dog to dog as well as depend on the owners preference/tolerance. My dog does sometimes bark when he doesn't need to go potty, but it's not a big issue to me. Often I can tell when he doesn't need to go (he has just gone, or there's a person/animal outside), and then I just ignore him and he stops pretty quickly.
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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the input, guys. I guess I'll just continue to keep a close eye on him and continue with bringing him out regularly. He hasn't had an accident inside in 2 days, which is progress!

:thumbsup:
 

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It took my pup until about 5.5 months until he stopped having semi regular accidents in the house (every few days - and almost always #1). That was about the time he started marking instead of just going full empty in one go. He has been crate trained from the day I got him (8 weeks) and is crated throughout the day while I'm at work (I have him walked 2x while I'm gone and when he was 2-5 months I also came home for lunch). He never had an accident in his crate but was on a very regular walk / potty / food schedule. Basically as soon as he started marking there were no more accidents. He's now 8 months and hasn't had one since. After no accidents for 3 weeks or so I started letting his nighttime crate open and he hasn't had a problem. Other than playing crate games / crate training, I do not crate him while I'm home. He does have a bell that he rings to go potty... or when he doesn't have to go potty and just wants to go back outside (IMHO the bell wasn't needed and really didn't help because he didn't figure out how to use it until the point where he stopped having accidents). At this point, if I fall asleep on the sofa watching TV at night (and thus perhaps skip a normal post dinner potty break) he'll either lick my face or jump up on the sofa with me to wake me up (honestly I'm amazed how quickly he just went from peeing on the floor to being on-point).

For your little guy:

- Praise the heck out of him when he goes outside (I used freeze dried liver treats and gave him several small pieces each time). Tell him he's awesome... pet him up really good... make it a big deal... people watching you should think you are crazy...

- Associate a command (potty / pee / toilet / etc...) and work it in with your praise. I use potty for #1 and "poop walk" for #2. You'd be surprised how well a puppy can poop on command lol... and sometimes you just know they have to poop but are holding on to it haha...

- If you catch him in the act inside give him your no / ahah / etc... cue but don't be overly hard on him. Usually if you scoop up a pup from behind with your hand under their tail they will immediately stop #1 at which time you can bring them outside and put them in their potty spot to go (at which time you can praise the heck out of them, give them high value treats, and generally tell them how awesome they are).

- Clean up any accidents with enzymatic cleaner. If you have a significant other (or anyone else in the house) it may help to work as a team and have one person clean it up so it's magically "clean" when the pup gets back.

- Set them up for success: you have to watch a little guy like a hawk. As someone above said, at that age, there isn't much time between when he realizes he needs to go... and when he is going to pee on your floor. In addition to taking him out after play / meals / naps, I would also suggest that you take him out 15 or so minutes after he drinks a copious amount of water (this goes with watching him like a hawk). This may mean that you need to take him outside 30 minutes after he was last out (i.e. if you are playing outside and he comes in and drinks like there is no tomorrow). I would also recommend trying to play with an empty puppy (i.e. right after he comes in). There are many guides online regarding time frame to take your puppy out, but it's definitely going to be up to you to modify those to your needs. I can tell you that at 4 months my (small breed) would have accidents if he had to wait 90 minutes and had any sort of stimulation (we also did a lot of obedience training and he was drinking frequently so we were out frequently). I simply had to take him out more frequently (and pretty much all of his accidents at this time were my fault - by that time he knew that he was supposed to go outside). Bottom line, be proactive and don't rely on him telling you he has to go out, success is important.

- Regarding the crate: if carrying it back and fourth is an issue, just buy a second one. I have 2 of them because I didn't want to move it back and fourth between my bedroom and the main room (and I'm in a 2br apartment). You are talking $35 on amazon.

- Stick to a schedule. This doesn't necessarily mean that he needs to eat exactly at 6pm every night (though that's great if you can do it)... but definitely have a set schedule where he eats and then goes outside X min later. Keep those potty times reliable for him. For you that might mean potty, walk, potty, inside for a meal, outside for potty, inside for training, outside for potty, etc... all at relatively consistent intervals.

- Stick to one very specific potty spot where you go immediately after going outside. Play / walk / etc... after he has watered the grass and he knows he's awesome. Walking / play time after successful potty can be a great reward (even if it's only 5-10 minutes).

- Keep him on leash in his spot in the back yard / always be with him when he's doing his business. If you then have fencing and such to keep him contained, you can do as you wish after that. You want to keep the potty spot / rules consistent. After he's potty trained and reliable you can certainly just leave him out.

- Remember to relax... potty training takes a good deal of patience. Biologically, he's a baby and doesn't have the ability to be a good boy 100% of the time even if he knows what to do. He'll soon have the ability to be a good boy all the time (or um... at least the vast majority of the time). When my pup was young we were playing (I was sitting on the floor) and he literally walked up between my legs (which were in a V), looked at me with that happy go lucky grin, and proceeded to potty all over the floor (luckily I had all hard flooring at the time haha). It does get better... but before you get there you need to experience 10 foot ropes of pee on the floor because your pup heard it was outside time... bonus points if it's in an apartment complex and those ropes of pee are in the common areas....
 
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