The following post comes from guest blogger Jennifer Stengel. Jennifer is 30 years old and lives in Boca Raton, Florida. She has been a dog lover her entire life and just acquired a new Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier puppy named Figment. Other than spending time with Figment, she enjoy playing the piano, cooking, reading, and bike riding. Read more about Jennifer on her blog and follow Figment on Twitter at @FigmentDog.
Could it be?? Can a puppy be housebroken at 10 weeks old?
One of the biggest priorities for owners is housebreaking their pet. No one enjoys coming home to the smell of a kennel. Not to mention having to clean up the mess and any stains it may leave on the carpet. Although Figment is very young and is kept in his crate when I’m not home, he still runs free around the house (well, in most rooms) when I’m there. This led me to tackle the issue of housebreaking immediately.
There are many different methods to housebreaking your pet. Many people suggest using newspapers or wee-wee pads to train your pet. The problem with this is that your pet is still being trained to eliminate in your home, you’re just directing him to do it in a certain area. Once the puppy understands to go to the bathroom on the paper, you still have to eventually retrain him to go outside. So, in reality, the training process lasts a long time — even though he picks up on the paper training fast enough, you have to master that part of it first, then move the paper towards the door, then eventually outside, then eventually no paper at all. That whole process can take months. Plus, if you’re using wee-wee pads, it’s costing you money to housebreak your dog.
This is why I’ve decided to skip all those in-between steps and jump head-first into teaching Figment to go potty outside. The road was not easy, and definitely messy, but he’s now 10 weeks old and has fewer and fewer accidents every day! Some days, he has no accidents at all!!
From the first day I brought him home, at just 8 weeks old, I started taking him outside to potty and praising him when he eliminated in the grass. Obviously he didn’t understand what was expected of him and had no way of letting me know when he had to go out, so I had to use my human smarts for this one — I would take him out first thing in the morning, after he eats food, after he’s been playing for a while and he starts to quiet down, after he wakes up from naps, after he’s been in his crate, and pretty much anytime that he seemed to sniff the ground suspiciously.
Don’t get me wrong, I spent plenty of time on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor. It got frustrating at times. But I had to just keep reminding myself that it’s worth it in the end. That I’d rather deal with this now then use the pads and spend months training him to go out. After about a week, lots of accidents, lots of successful trips outside, and a lot of praise, Figment started to figure it out — Mommy likes it when I go potty on the grass. I go to the grass through the sliding back door. Then I get praise.
This past week, Figment’s progress has been substantial. He now sits at the back door (or tries to attack the back door blinds.. lol) when he wants to go out. When I take him out, he begins sniffing and usually pees within a minute. Getting him to go “number two” outside is a little trickier though. Don’t get me wrong, he knows to go number two outside but it’s still a little frustrating figuring out whether he has to go or not.
After he pees, he gets a little jolt of energy. Then he starts sniffing the grass to explore a little bit. The trick is deciphering his sniffing — does he have to continue going to the bathroom or is he just having fun exploring the backyard?
Here’s how I solved this dilemma: I created a small patch of grass in the backyard reserved for him to go poop on. When I see him getting ready to poop, I take him to that area and he does it there. It’s now become his outdoor poopy pad, if you will. So, when I see him sniffing around after he pees, I lead him to that patch. If he continues to sniff around the “poopy pad” then I know he probably has to go to the bathroom. If he sniffs there for a second and then starts wandering all over the backyard, he probably won’t go. Also, when he starts trying to eat grass or gets frisky and playful, I know he won’t go. That’s when I take him inside and wait for the next round of signs telling me he has to go out.
It has been a frustrating two weeks and he’s had his fair share of accidents, but every day he’s getting better. The past couple of nights, he hasn’t even woken up to go out. And the past few days, he hasn’t had one accident inside the house!
ONE MORE TIP: I know this sounds gross but…. to tell when your puppy is sniffing to go poop, look at his butt-hole. If his butt-hole is expanding a little bit, you’ll usually see a darker shade of pink/red by the opening. When you see this, you know his body is ready to go poop! I use this trick all the time to tell when Figment is sniffing to go poop and when he’s just playing around.