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Housebreaking my puppy when no one is at home for at least 6

Discussion in 'Dogs - all breeds / types' started by rdyeung, May 2, 2004.

  1. rdyeung

    rdyeung New Member


    I am writing from Down Under in Perth, I am about to bring my 8 week Ridgeback puppy home and I have a real problem. I would like to housebreak my puppy (do her thing outside) but I have a problem. I work from 8.30 to 5 pm and my wife works from 6 to 2.30 pm, so there will be no one at home for a good 6 hours.

    I read countless number of articles of how to housebreak a puppy but none has really help me given my present situation.

    Can anyone help me please of how to housebreak my puppy when there will be no one at home for a gd 6 hours and I can't find anyone else to go to my place during this period to let the puppy out. I would preferably not want to use newspaper.

    Thank you so much

    Best Regards,

  2. moose

    moose New Member


    you need to buy a crate for your pup -- something sturdy that he'll feel secure in, but also not one too big. if he has too much room to wander around in the crate, he will just potty in it.

    crate your dog anytime you are not able to watch him -- this includes while you and your wife are at work. most dogs are very good about not soiling their "den" -- you need to make the new pup consider this crate his den.

    there are numerous articles online and in books about properly crating your dog. if you have any trouble finding anything, let me know.
  3. charmedagain

    charmedagain New Member

    Hi an 8week old puppy should not be left for more than 2hours without being allowed to go to the toilet so crating him/her is not really an option unless you can have a friend or family member go in when your both at work and allow the puppy out.

    At 8weeks old he is learning about things around him and what is acceptable and what is not.
    if he is going to be left alone for 6hours or more he needs someone there to interact with him otherwise you will end up with a puppy with behavioural problems.

    I have five 5 week old german shepherd puppies and i can proudly say they now cry at the door to go out in the yard to use the toilet.

    But please think long and hard about your situation and if possible get a friend or family memeber to go and allow the pup out to go toilet and play before bringin him home.

    Good luck and hope all turns out for you and the little fella.

    sorry if i came across as being blunt was not my intention

  4. loves-da-pits

    loves-da-pits New Member

    Do you or your wife maybe have a job where you can take the puppy to work for awhile in his crate? Some employers can have a heart and can be lenient. It would be for just a little while. If not, check into "doggie daycare." They have those here in PHX,AZ. Good Luck!
  5. seebr

    seebr New Member

    Providing that the kitchen only has one doorway and the floor is linoleum or tile. I always kept my puppy in the kitchen and had a child security gate in the kitchen doorway. Don't leave the garbage where they can get to it! Also, if you have a wooden table and chairs in the kitchen. It will get its chewing pleasure by chewing on the wood. Leave a couple of Nylon bones. These do not break and the puppy can't get a chunk off and choke. When I came home, I would point to their mess and say "bad dog" in a firm voice and take them right outside. If they did their business, I would praise them "good dog" and love them up.
    Then when they were at the point of being completely house trained, I would allow them to roam the house.
    This has always worked for me.
  6. Jamiya

    Jamiya New Member

    Depending on how well the pup can control its bladder, you MAY be able to crate train if one of you can come home for lunch every day to let him out. Even better, if you can BOTH take a lunch at different times so he can be let out twice, you have it made! Otherwise, can a neighbor do it?

    If these things aren't a possibility, then I would go with the kitchen or bathroom or laundry room idea. Completely puppy-proof it, give him a crate with an open door and some SAFE toys and chews. Don't scold for messing while you are gone. Just make sure you work extra hard on housebreaking when you are home. It will take longer this way, but I have heard it is do-able.

  7. Dukesdad

    Dukesdad New Member

    I believe the rule of thumb for a puppy to "hold it" is one hour for each month of age so at 2 months old your pup can only hold it for two hours. I would not totally confine the pup in a crate at this point but do allow him a place to relieve himself away from the crate on an absorbent pad or papers. Perhaps the day care option is best until he is six or seven months.
    Good luck.
  8. loonyluna

    loonyluna New Member

    Some friends of mine had the same problem when they got their puppy. They basically did the same thing as what Jamiya suggested and it worked fine. I wouldn't put down papers. It is much easier to mop up the lino than deal with soggy peed-on paper.
    Doggy daycare would be a great idea but they probably won't take a pup that young as he wouldn't have had all his shots yet.
  9. Jamiya

    Jamiya New Member

    The "rule of thumb" I have heard about puppies is age in months plus one, so a 2-month-old should be able to "hold it" for 3 hours. Although, of course, every pup is different.

    Nala was about 3-4 months when we got her and she could easily hold it for 5-6 hours. There were Golden pups at the pet store that were 8 weeks old and the pet shop guy said they hold it for a good 4-5 hours. I think the larger breeds can hold it longer.

    Again, it depends on the particular dog as well.

  10. rdyeung

    rdyeung New Member

    Thank You

    Hi All,

    Thank you so much for all your contribution and advice, it is very much appreciated.

    I am still unable to find someone to come home every 2-3 hours to let the puppy out and it would be pretty difficult for me to come home every 2-3 hours since I work about 30 mins from home (even though it would not be totally impossible for me to do so). I will talk to the breeder to see if I could pick my puppy at 12 weeks, I am hoping that by then, the puppy would be able to hold at least 4-5 hours.

    Thank you again


  11. Hi! This is long, but hope it helps a little

    It takes A Human
    To Make A Dog Soil Its Bed

    Successful housetraining depends mostly on the humans involved in the process. By using prevention instead of punishment, with vigilance, reasonable expectations, and by using a puppy's natural instincts, housetraining can be accomplished painlessly and in a reasonably short time. Breed and/or sex have no impact on the ease or difficulty of teaching your puppy to eliminate in a specific area (be it outdoors, on newspapers, or in a kitty litter box.)

    Puppies are instinctively clean. From birth, they leave the pile of sleeping littermates and go as far away as possible to eliminate. Unless forced to do so, puppies will not soil their bed and this instinct is your greatest training aid.

    Scolding or Punishing A Very Young Puppy Is Ineffective and Counterproductive

    The younger the pup, the less time between impulse and action. He needs to eliminate, so he does. Punishing or even scolding a very young puppy has no more effect than it would have on an infant in diapers.

    Fortunately, a puppy will train a whole lot faster than a baby!

    Confinement: the Basic Rule of Housetraining
    Before we go any further, let me assure you that confining your dog is not cruel! In the wild, canines instinctively seek out small enclosed spaces in which to make their dens. If you have obtained your puppy from a reliable and knowledgeable breeder, your puppy will be accustomed to being confined and will accept this in your home, provided you do not allow him the run of the house.

    It is far more cruel to give a dog that is untrained too much freedom, too fast, which guarantees puddles and messes all over your house. The puppy becomes subject to constant reprimands, which will probably be after the fact, so he has no idea why you are upset; you are frustrated by the unpleasant task of cleaning up after him, and having your good carpet soiled; and things might get so bad that you either put the dog in exile in an outdoor kennel, or you recycle him.... or even have him destroyed.

    Which is worse? Being euthanized, spending your life alone in a backyard, or spending part of every day in a comfortable and safe area?

    Before you bring your puppy home, decide where and in what, he is going to sleep. Strongly recommended is the crate, a wire or fiberglass and wire enclosure, big enough for the puppy to stretch out in comfortably, but not big enough for him to have a sleeping and "bathroom" areas. If you have a puppy of the large or giant breeds, and expense is a consideration, you may want to purchase the size crate your dog will need as an adult and partition it off, giving him more room as he grows.

    Another option is a discarded baby playpen, with wiring fastened around the outside of the slats to insure that the pup can't get caught between them or wriggle out. Collapsible fencing or commercial exercise pens, attached to a wall or walls can be used to enclose an area. Baby gates or commercial dog gates can be used to enclose a small area.

    The crate has a decided advantage over these other options in that it is portable. Puppies and dogs need companionship, and the crate can be moved from room to room (although you may find yourself, like many doggie folk, with crates in many rooms. They make handy end and coffee tables!). It is also a benefit if your dog is crate trained, should he have to stay confined because of illness or surgery. In case of automobile accident, it is safer for your dog if he is travelling in a crate, rather than loose in the car. There may be times when you want to protect your dog from untrained children, or you may have company who is afraid of dogs. Many hotels and motels will only accept dogs if they are crated.

    The crate is the dog's bed, his haven, and as he earns his freedom in the house, you will find that you can leave your crate open, and he will go in and out at will. It is his place, his den, and he feels safe and comfortable there.

    What Should I Put In The Crate For My Puppy To Sleep On?


    Did you ever wonder why, if there was one tiny throw rug in the midst of a sea of linoleum, your dog or puppy always messed on the rug? It's because of Rule Number 2: dogs always seek the most absorbent place to do their business. Since we don't want the puppy to get the idea that we want him to soil his crate, don't put a blanket or towel, or even a canvas covered crate pillow inside, yet. Later, after the puppy has demonstrated cleanliness in the crate, you may do so.

    Introducing Your Puppy To His Place of Confinement

    Ideally, your puppy will come to you already crate-trained. However, not all puppies have ideal beginnings, so you may have to introduce your puppy to the crate.

    One way to introduce the crate is by removing the door and surrounding it with an exercise pen, where the exercise pen area can be covered with newspapers if the puppy must be unsupervised, or if you must leave the puppy alone for more hours a day than he is capable of regulating his eliminations. This arrangement allows the puppy to keep his bed (the crate) clean. Feed the puppy in his crate, and if he is reluctant to go in to eat, put the bowls just in the doorway, so he can stand outside and eat with only his head inside. At each meal, put the bowls an inch or two further back, until he willingly goes in to eat. Also keep a few toys in the crate.

    When he is comfortable eating in the crate it is time to teach him to stay quietly inside while confined. Put the door back on the crate. This time, when you feed him, close the door. As soon as he is done eating, let him out and take him to his potty area.

    How Often Should I Take My Puppy Outside?

    Generally, a puppy should only be confined as many daytime hours as he is months old before being taken out to relieve himself. That is, an 8 week old puppy will need to go out every two hours during the day. Doubling that for the night would mean that an 8 week old puppy should be taken out every four hours during the night. A 12 week old pup would go 3 hours during the day and 6 at night; a 16 week old would go 4 hours and give you an 8 hour night. These are guidelines, of course, and every puppy is a little different. You may get lucky, and have one that will sleep the night from day one, or yours may take a little longer to get there.

    Very young puppies need to go out first thing in the morning, immediately after eating and/or drinking, after playtimes, immediately upon waking, and immediately before you retire for the night. Then, if there is any time left, take him out according to the schedule outlined in the previous paragraph.

    Your personal schedule may not allow you to follow the schedule rigidly. If there is any way for you to adjust your schedule for a few weeks to allow you to accommodate the puppy's needs, you will be repaid in a short time with a dog that is reliably housebroken. If you cannot adjust your schedule, then please adjust your mindset to accepting the fact that it will take a little longer for your puppy to get the message. If you know you are going to be gone for more hours than your puppy can reasonably be expected to control himself, then make it easy on both of you. Suspend your attempts to housetrain during that time, put him in an area where he can leave his bed (crate) to eliminate. The crate surrounded by an exercise pen described previously works fine. Just put down plenty of newspaper for the pup to use while you're gone, clean it up when you get home, and go on with your training. Quite often, once the pup develops the muscular control, he will try and wait for your return, in spite of having those papers available.

    If you are using newspapers, take note of where your pup makes his deposits. Gradually start removing the papers around this area, until you only have to leave a small section covered for him.

    It is generally best to carry the puppy outside because the pup's bowel and sphincter are stimulated by walking. Set him down where you want him to go and then you just stand in one place until he goes. Always go with your puppy, even if you have a fenced yard. Your being there t is the only way to know if he has relieved himself and you cannot give timely praise if you can't see what he is doing.

    You can teach you pup to relieve herself on command by telling her to "Go potty" or "get busy" (or whatever words you want to use) just as she starts to relieve himself. Praise quietly while she is going (don't distract her!) and then give enthusiastic praise and a treat (if you use them) when she is done.

    If the Very Young Puppy Has An Accident In The House

    It is your fault for failing to prevent it. Do not punish the puppy. If you catch him in the act, don't let him finish. Pick him up (you can give one low,growling "anghhh!" of disapproval) and take him outside. Wait with him until he finishes, then praise. When you bring him back in, put him in his crate while you clean up. Make sure you use one of those scent removing solutions, such as Simple Solution, to remove all traces of odor. If the odor is not completely neutralized the dog will be attracted back to the same place. In a pinch, seltzer works pretty well.

    Asking to Go Out

    Once the pup has the idea of housetraining, you can teach him to signal you when he needs to go. If your dog hasn't already developed a signal by himself, decide what you want him to do. Some options are barking, going to the door and scratching, or even ringing a bell.

    Teach him the signal as a separate exercise. I strongly recommend using clicker training to teach the new behavior.

    When you recognize his need to eliminate, ask him, with some enthusiam, "Do you want to go out?" Put on his lead, and take him to the door. At the door, have him perform his signal behavior. Click/treat and take him out. (Or if he really needs to go, click and treat after he potties.) If you opt not to clicker train, use praise and/or treats instead, but otherwise, follow the same procedure. Before long, your pup will automatically give you the signal in response to your "Do you want to go out" question, and shortly thereafter, he will initiate the signalling behavior when he needs to eliminate.

    In all fairness, though, do not tease him with the "out" question by not following through. If you do, the question will lose it's meaning and confuse the dog.

  12. honeybears

    honeybears New Member

    Rdy - It would be great if the breeder can keep the pup until 12 weeks. because they learn a lot more socializiation skills from other pups and mom, and can the breder help with potty trianing during this time too??

  13. rdyeung

    rdyeung New Member


    I spoke to the breeder and she is not willing to keep the puppy until she is 12 weeks old, I am picking the puppy next Friday, she will be 9 weeks old.

    The breeder told me to use newspaper to housebreak the puppy and when I am home I can housebreak the puppy outside. She says eventually tyhe puppy will be housebroken outside if I keep taking her outside when i am home, it might take longer to housebreak her but I would be able to fully housebreak the puppy outside.

    Thanks for all your advice


  14. Nik

    Nik New Member

    I know people are against paper training and say it takes longer but it depends on what you consider to be a long time.
    I got Floob at 10 weeks. I don't have a garden so had to paper train. From the 2nd day he was doing everything on the paper. He had his injections and was clear to go on walks 4 weeks after I got him. From his first day out he only peed inside, on the single sheet of paper I had put down, twice. He'd go straight to the door, so it was ALOT quicker than I was expecting and not a bother at all.

    Good luck with whichever way you decide to train her.
    Oh, I've just realsied it's a she, from all accounts they learn alot quicker than males (resists a sexist joke) so it shouldn't take too long at all :)
  15. rdyeung

    rdyeung New Member

    Hi Nik,

    Thank you so much for your encouragement, I wish the breeder could keep her a little longer because I did not want to paper train the puppy, I wanted to housebreak her outside straight away but because I have no choice since I am not at home for at least 6 hours, I have no choice but to paper train the puppy at least for a start.

    i hope that the puppy will eventually want to do it outside.


  16. Jamiya

    Jamiya New Member

    I would consider an alternate to paper, if I were you. I have heard too many stories about adult dogs peeing on the daily newspaper because to them, the sight of a newspaper means, "Bathroom!"

    I don't know if you use those puppy pads you buy at the pet store if they would generalize to paper? Anyone know?

    I've actually heard of people using a box with some sod and real grass in it. That way the pup is going on grass, which makes the transition to outside easier.

  17. honeybears

    honeybears New Member

    good luck, let us know how things work!


    TREBUNICO New Member

    i just received a 6 week old male pitbull, i work so i tend to leave him in a kennel with a radio and a toy. i get home and he is always messing himself in his stool and urine, i see him sometimes licking his urine and sniffing at his stool dunno if he eats it but im worried i need helf first time pet owner. im 27 male.
  19. DeLaUK

    DeLaUK New Member

    I think every possible bit of advice has already been given in this thread so not really anything to add. A 6 week old pup is not going to have enough control of its bladder to stop from urinating when it needs to....which will be often. Also I would strongly recommend a quick trip to the vet for a general exam and take a fresh stool sample so they can check for intestinal parasites. Also make sure he is on a good puppy food.
  20. MyPetTherapyDog

    MyPetTherapyDog New Member

    what about hiring a pet sitter to come in and let the pup out to relieve himself and give him a short walk?
    Pet Sitters in my area are popular.

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