Preparing for Arrival & Successfully Completing Your Puppy’s House Training Quickly
How We Start the Training
Puppies naturally begin potty training themselves around 3 weeks of age. To jump-start their house training, we take advantage of their initiative and ultimately make it easier for their adoptive family to quickly and successfully complete their potty training.
Because a puppy/dog doesn’t want to use the bathroom in his bed, he will get out of his bed when it is time to potty. So when the puppies are first learning to get out of their bed (at 2-3 weeks), we put puppy pads (used to us newspapers) right up to their bed and on the whole floor in their area. By doing this, anywhere they urinate or defecate, they are on pads.
Gradually we take away the puppy pads that are closest to their bed. They then walk farther to get to the potty pad area (naturally they don’t want to potty close to their bed). By the time your puppy is 8 weeks old, they usually are potty pad trained to go about 8-9 feet from their bed. Their bed is in a wire crate (not a plastic travel type crate) that is just room enough for a bed (not big enough to be a bed/potty/feeding space). The reason is because if puppies are taught or left to potty in their crate, it can cause major toileting problems. For future successful house training, they need to understand and remember that their bed is separate from their potty area. Luckily this comes naturally for them.
In addition to using newspapers previously we also used cloth washable potty pads but now we only use the disposable potty pads. Although it was cheaper to use newspapers, we found that the ink would get on their feet and didn’t like the fact that they were breathing the paper ‘dust’ especially when they might shred the papers. The puppy pads have been the best solution for us.
Our recommendation is that you continue the house training until he has had his two shots (one at 8-9 and one at 15-17 weeks), and his immunity has taken over (about 2weeks after that 15 week shot). We recommend not taking him outside on the ground to potty until then because several canine diseases are airborne and some can last outside for up to 6 months or more, some experts say that parvovirus can live in the ground forever. Parvo and distemper can both be fatal.
One thing to mention is that because he is trained to potty on the puppy pads, if he needs to go and there isn’t a pad or paper near, or there are magazines, newspapers, or clothes on the floor, he may just decide that is his potty for the moment. Once he is trained to go outside, he will not have this tendency near as much. During his pad training or when you move on to crate training before he is 100% house trained, just remember you might want to keep things like that picked up off of the floor in the areas he is allowed.
To Prepare for Your Puppy’s Arrival
The following items will be helpful in your puppy’s arrival & potty training:
A plan of how you are going to house train your puppy – We will look at this in the next section.
A wire crate 24Lx 18w is a good size for a Boston Terrier Puppy or Frenchton up to about 15-20 pounds.
A pillow type bed or blankets to use as a bed
Food and water bowls (ones that are no-tip are a good idea). A water bowl that attaches inside the crate is good so that he can have water even if he is crated for a long time (and it won’t spill).
Food – The only commercial puppy food that we reccomend is Wellness Core Puppy Food. Then Wellness Core for an adult food. You can go to dogfoodanalysis.com and on the lower left corner beside the two puppies click on index. This will pull up about 1500 dog/puppy foods that have been reviewed and let you know why they are recommended or not and what ingredients are good, bad, known toxins, etc. Pretty cool!
If you want to take your healthy feeding (and goal to extend your baby’s life for many extra years) to the next level, I encourage you to consider feeding a raw diet. It is very easy. Basically it is feeding your dog a true canine diet of raw meat, bones, and organs to benefit them as the carnivores they are. Our adults were switched to raw feeding many years ago and we were very impressed with the results. They LOVE it and we saw benefits in the first few weeks. To learn more you can go to rawlearning.com and/or join firstname.lastname@example.org email group and read details of how to start, benefits, and ask questions. Additionally you can check out the myths to raw feeding http://rawfed.com/myths/ and join the raw feeding Facebook page to ask questions as well. Be sure to read the archives (in the yahoogroup) before asking questions as most of the answers are already there. As of September 2011 all of our litters are weaned to a raw diet. Once many people discover the amazing health benefits and see how easy it is to feed a raw diet, they switch their other dogs/cats to a raw diet.
Newspapers or potty pads (cloth or disposable)
A few toys– NO RAWHIDE!! Good choices are knotted ropes, cow hooves (last a really long time and very inexpensive and good for them), pigs ears, squeaky toys, pet approved stuffed animals (love the ones with no stuffing in them, they can really sling those!). Try not to get any bones that have smoked or other flavors added (this is just unneeded chemicals that could build up to cause tumors etc). Dogs can have raw bones but NO COOKED BONES. Do not buy any rawhide chewies or chips because these can get stuck in the intestines and could block the intestines resulting in surgery! Also, no large animal weight bearing bones. These break teeth eventually!
Lots of love, consistency and patience! – Your puppy will instantly love you and with some consistency over the first 2-3 weeks he/she will be almost completely potty trained.
A Plan for Potty Training
Basically, you need a plan for when you are home and when you are gone. While you are home it is great to hold and play with your puppy. Just remember his two natural habits and it will help you have success potty training him. Puppies go potty 1) right after they wake up and 2) right after they eat. Not potty number one and number two at those times, just two habits.
For the little babies, we start with puppy pad training, and add in a bit of crate training, but of course our ultimate goal is to work towards using the bathroom outside in your location of choice. One good thing about the potty pad training is that he will always have this ‘skill’. If you ever go on vacation and are in a hotel, condo, friend’s house, or cabin or if there’s flooding or severe weather or even if you’re going to be gone longer than usual, you can just put the pads down near the exit door, or in a bathroom etc. and he will ‘remember’ and use that as his temporary potty.
While You Are Home
Limit your puppy’s roaming area. This is of utmost importance and is only temporary! Basically he is trained to the area of one room when you get him. At our house he was never farther away from his potty than about 9 feet so if his ‘roaming area’ is about a 10×15 room then one area of open papers will be fine (once you are done transitioning him). A larger room, maybe 12x 25 or so would need a potty in two areas spread out (maybe at opposite ends of the room) so that he doesn’t have to search too hard for a potty if he needs to go.
Block off rooms he isn’t allowed in at first. Bedrooms, bathrooms, dining rooms, etc. will just be places for him to make a new potty if he is left to explore on his own. Keep doors shut or put up baby gates. There are gates that are tension mounted (no drilling holes etc). If you’re buying a gate for long term (to keep him in or out as an adult), keep the height in mind (at about 12-14 pounds, 6-8 months?) he will be able to jump over the shorter gates (about 28 inches tall) but may not know it yet. As an adult there will be no stopping him with a 28” tall gate.
In the room or areas he is allowed, put down about 4 puppy pads, touching each other or overlapping in a square. In the beginning you can’t have too many puppy padded areas. He will naturally go back to one or two areas (per room) and in a short time (maybe 7-10 days) you can remove the rest if you have pads in several areas. Keep in mind, he is used to only having to search about 9 feet to find a potty.
Keep your eye open for potential ‘hiding’ places to potty such as behind a chair, couch, under a coffee table, etc. Once a puppy starts pottying in a certain place it can be hard to remove the smell and change his mind. It is better to be super diligent in the beginning even if you have to scoot furniture back to the wall or rearrange it. It is for the benefit of everyone in the family, especially your new puppy!! This (returning to the same potty spot) also works for your benefit. Once he has pottied on the pads, you can take a pad with some of the urine on it and place it on top of the clean pad where you do want him to ‘go’. If you do need to clean up an accident, the ONLY thing we have found to work is Odoban (look online about $10 for a gallon is a good price).
If you have an open floor plan living area, then you need to get creative. There are large gates that will stretch across huge rooms, some even self standing. There are play yard panels that you can buy to make him the biggest or smallest area to roam. Sometimes, we use these to enclose our whole dining room or living room to train our puppies. This way they can’t get to cords, blinds, or furniture to chew on etc. We have used the plastic kind, metal kind with a small walk through gate, etc. just look at pictures and read reviews – a gate is a must though. It’s not convenient to step over into the puppy zone everytime you need in there.
While you are playing with him, holding him, watching him etc., PLAN ON TAKING HIM TO THE POTTY PAPERS EVERY HOUR OR SO and say the same ‘potty command words’ to him. You are training him not only to know where the temporary potty is, but also to know what the command is to get him to potty. You will use these words when you start taking him outside as well. You can say “let’s go potty”, “go be a good boy”, “let’s go out” or whatever. What you say doesn’t matter, what matters is that you say it every time and try to say it in the same tone of voice, and start saying it from the beginning even when you are carrying him to the pads to potty. Everyone in the family who shares in the training needs to know the command words and use them each time to help train him quicker and not cause confusion.
When you first get your puppy home, if you take him to the pads every hour on the hour that is a good way to remember to take him. Keep him on the pads for maybe a minute or two and once he stops looking at you like he is in trouble, he will realize that he’s not in trouble (and that he’s on a potty pad which is familiar) and will go pee if he needs too. Any time there is success, really give him tons of praise. This will be his favorite reward and Bostons by nature really want to please their owners (Frenchtons have this desire for the most part as well). You are just making it easy for him (by consistently taking him each hour at first). If he won’t use the pads for several times in a row, you can try letting him fall asleep in your arms then once he wakes up take him straight to the potty area. Or you can put him in his wire crate and leave him for about an hour (set a timer if needed). Then take him to the papers. You want him to have success as soon as possible.
Also make sure he has access to clean water (purified is best). Tap water has been proven to cause kidney stones in certain breeds, additives in tap water have also been proven to cause cancers and a bunch of other health issues. Do your research. You actually have a big part in his lifespan! Remember each thing you do to guard his health and give him good health will add time to his life and can end up adding years.
In a day or so, start stretching his time between taking him to the pads, to an hour and 15 min, then gradually an hour and a half etc. A timer works great for this. Use your cell phone or carry a kitchen timer around. I’m telling you 2 weeks of diligence and your baby can be 90+% potty trained. If you have any backsliding (accidents), shorten your time to take him to the pads again or leave him in his puppy zone with total pad area covering the floor. Start back with every hour on the hour if necessary if he isn’t in a puppy zone. Gradual success is excellent!
*Paper/pad placement note – If his roaming area is in the room where he will start going outside to potty, place one set of papers/pad near the exit door. Your goal will be to let this be the last set of pads you remove in the house. The reason is because after he is totally outside trained, if he ever needs to go potty, he will come to this door. If he needs to go and there are pads there, he will know to use them if you don’t come. If there are no pads there then of course he will try to wait for you to come let him out.
Accidents will happen, it’s just part of the process. Expect it at some point and have a plan to deal with it. You can’t fuss at him unless you catch him in the act. He won’t understand otherwise. Once the crime is past, it is unpunishable. Just clean it up and either change your strategy, block off a room, rearrange furniture, cut his free time back, crate him and let him out only to take him to potty or hold him, etc. If you catch him in the act, you can say in a disappointed tone (not yelling) “nooooooo” and at the same time scoop him up and take him to the potty. After you tell him noooooo, then tell him the command words in a sweeter and kinder tone. Think of it as your fault if he messes up. He’s either had too much roaming space or time between being taken to his papers. Several accidents and I would suggest going strictly to crate training for a few days. Crate training is keeping him crated and letting him out onto his pads on a timed schedule (start with every hour on the hour and add time gradually). He will ‘hold’ it while he is in his crate and will take the opportunity to potty on the papers when its time and he needs to go. More about crate training later.
While You Are Away or During the Night
Ideally, your puppy needs a small room/space to be in while you are gone or overnight. A laundry room, bathroom, kitchen, mudroom, or some other room that has an easily cleanable floor and a door (or can be gated) will probably work. If not a room, then a way to block off a small area will work. This is his Puppy Zone.
You need space for his crate with his door open, his food and water near his crate, his bed inside his crate, and pads on the floor outside his crate. Even a 4×6 or 4×8 size space will work as long as there is room for his crate and papers or pads on the floor.
Here’s how you start his ‘night time’ or ‘while you’re gone’ room plan.
Before his arrival – Check out the room, sweep and clean the floor real good, rinse with water, Don’t use toxic chemicals (puppies like to lick and chew a lot!) Also dog foot pads absorb similar to sponges. If you’re using toxic cleaners, your puppy is absorbing them through his paws! Vinegar and water works well. Also look for things that HE will look for, cords near the floor, things to chew on like shoes, pipes, cleaning supplies, vent hoses, stuff on a bottom shelf or in a low cabinet, etc. Be especially careful to make sure there’s no rat poison. We delivered a pair of puppies and were helping them set up their laundry/mud room for the babies and my daughter found a box of rat poison on the bottom shelf!! Note- keep toilet paper and plastic bags put up out of reach.
Day 1 – Place his crate on one side of the room with his water and food bowl near his crate. You can get an attachable bowl that will attach to the inside of his crate to keep water in. That way if he is crated he can still drink. Put his bed in his crate (make sure there are no holes or strings that could tangle him up while you are gone. Put his chew hoof and a toy or two in his bed. This is his sanctuary! Next lay puppy pads on the WHOLE floor starting at about 10 inches from his crate and going all the way across the room. Be sure to put them down also in any narrow areas (like beside a commode, beside his crate, etc.) Remember sometimes pups like to hide and potty.
Day 2 – You will notice where he has used the bathroom on his papers. Throw away all of the papers but keep one with a little bit of urine on it. You can now put down fresh papers but now leave an open floor space between his crate and the papers a little bigger than day 1. Now perhaps you can start the papers about 2 feet or so from his crate door. Put the pad with his urine scent in the area you want to eventually end up with only one potty pad. He will return to his favorite area to potty. This will probably be the farthest place away from his crate or in a corner. Be sure to put pads down in any narrow areas again. If he uses those pads, you will soon teach him to go where the other pads are (depending on your goal area).
Day-3 Throw away all soiled pads on the floor, keep one urine scent pad. If he has only used the potty on the pads yesterday (and not on the open floor area), then you can now move his pads farther away from his crate, now maybe 3 feet from his crate door.
Day 4 and further- Each day you can start his potty pads a little farther away from his crate. Any areas he doesn’t use pads you can gradually stop putting pads there. Any area he starts peeing/pooping ona that aren’t pad covered, put a pad there. He will eventually get to only one place to potty or two. Your goal is to get down to one potty pad or open newspaper (or two) if he has two favorite spots. Once you get to that point, as long as he needs to have an inside potty place, just put one open spread of papers or one potty pad down when you leave him in there.
Puppies can stay in a crate one hour for every month of age. For example at 2 months no more than 2 hours at a time, 3 months no more than 3 hours at a time etc. This is why your puppy needs an ‘area’/zone where he can have crate and potty separate when he must be confined for more than the ideal crated time for his age.
Basically, crate training is keeping him in the crate for a certain amount of time and taking him out of the crate to go potty. This is a very effective and fast way to house train. The crate ideally should be a wire crate so that he feels like he is in part of where you are and not in a box. You can move the crate to the room you are going to be in or possibly have one crate for his night night room and one for elsewhere in your home.
If you crate him and take him to his potty, whether inside on paper/pad, or outside if past his two vaccinations, then he will learn to ‘hold’ it and release it (potty) in the area you give him opportunity. Once you are taking him outside, take him to potty in the part of the yard where you want him to continually potty. If you don’t want him to potty in your rose garden, don’t set him there when he’s a baby! Remember, your little guy is going to do either what you teach him, or what you let him learn on his own. He wants to please you, so by taking him where you want him to urinate/defecate, you are telling him this is okay. This is why once he is completely house trained and there are no more papers/pads on the floor, he will instinctively know he is to potty outside where you have miraculously ‘moved’ his potty.
If he uses the bathroom in the designated area, after MUCH praise, you can either crate him or hold him until his next potty time (again a timer works great). On day one, once he has used the bathroom, if you choose, you can give him 10 minutes of free ‘roam’ time under your close watch. If he has no accidents during his 10 minute freedom, then crate him, set timer for an hour, and take him to potty. You are teaching him over and over “when you need to potty, this is where you go”. The more times you get him to ‘go’ there, the quicker your success will be. That is why consistency is so important for your new puppy. We have even used this method for adult dogs. If there’s backsliding, back up a step or two. Crate training really works.
Feeding for Success – SECOND BEST OPTION – Holistic Commercial Food
At 8-10 weeks your puppy should be eating 2 times per day (if feeding a commercial food and if he can eat his full daily amount in two sittings), gradually this will go to one time per day. During that one time per day, he should be able to eat his whole daily amount. If you are feeding a commercial food, make sure it is a super food (holistic and grain free). I’m talking one of the top three foods in the world if possible. If those aren’t possible look for something holistic and do your research. It will pay off in lower vet bills, better health, and longer life and I mean years of longer life. Read the instructions and give him at least the daily recommended amount if he wants it. As a puppy, he can eat as much as he wants but try to limit it to 2x per day unless he has a special issue.
If you will feed his second feeding early enough (say before 6pm), then he should have several opportunities to poop before bedtime and could stay crated longer if you need to crate him all night. An 8 week old puppy typically can’t crate for an 8 hour night, nor is it fair to ask him too. So if you did need to crate him, you would need to let him out to potty in the middle of the night at the very least every 5-6 hours. If he barks or cries, he may be telling you he has to go! If he should happen, by some chance, to end up in bed with you and gets wiggly or starts walking away from your arms, this means I must go potty – take me to my papers! Or if he happens to sleep with you on a regular basis, keep a large Rubbermaid-type tub on the floor next to your bed with potty pads in it and set him down in it. He will potty then want to be picked back up and go back to sleep.
Another Food Option (BEST option to add years of life) – RAW FEEDING
In early 2011, I discovered the raw feeding method. Sounds complicated but basically is feeding a dog or puppy like he was created to be fed. Dogs are canine, and canines are carnivores and carnivores eat raw meat. I know what you are thinking, I probably had similar thoughts for the few months that I researched this option. But the bottom line is I want what is best for my dogs (and a longer life span), like you no doubt, and so I kept researching and asking questions.
Many years ago, after research, we made the switch from garbage commercial food to the highest quality holistic commercial food available. We also began supplementing as needed, with fish oil and other healthy supplements. I’ve learned that raw feeding is an even bigger improvement in health. While our dogs were in excellent health, as we switched to raw feeding, I noticed their great looking coats became gorgeous. Our male that came to us a year ago (with horrible breath) now doesn’t have horrible breath! They all ‘filled out’ and seemed to ‘muscle up’. All of our Bostons LOVE the raw eating. And now they don’t have the gas that was caused by commercial foods! If you’ve had a Boston before you know the gas I’m talking about!
Basically the idea is this. Your goal, which you work up to, is to feed 80% meat, 10% edible bone, and 10% organ meat with half of that being liver. This goal is achieved over time and not on a daily basis. Most people start with chicken, yes raw chicken and yes they can have the bone. Never cooked bones but yes raw edible bones according to their size (larger dogs might choke on smaller bones, small dogs couldn’t eat beef weight-bearing bones etc.). So it’s important to know what others are feeding who have the same breed or size dog you have.
After a few weeks you give tiny amounts of liver (like pea size), then about 6 weeks of feeding chicken quarters you introduce beef or pork and then in a few weeks, deer, etc., and whatever they like and whatever you acquire, that’s what you feed (we don’t feed fish and rarely if ever feed pork). There’s all kinds of research showing the benefits of this and disadvantages of feeding kibble, which the die-hard’s call krapple or doom-nuggets.
For more info you can go to rawlearning.com and/or join the email group email@example.com and just read all of the comments, questions, and answers or put in key words to read archives. There are people who have fed this way for 20+ years and also plenty of newbies as well. The holistic health experts say that small breed dogs (such as Bostons) should potentially live 18-22 years. Serious thought should be given to feeding raw when you realize that your dog could live that long instead of only 12-15 years.
Vaccination research has been going on for over 30 years now. The findings are slowly continuing to make their way into the mainstream veterinarian offices. We use and love our traditional vet and in 2011 we also added a holistic vet. We try to use wisdom as we meet our Bostons’ Frenchies’ and Frenchtons’ health needs. What I discovered in my research, is that over-vaccinating causes much damage and is probably the number one or two reason that our pets end up with tumors, cancers, skin allergies, behavior issues, liver/kidney problems, vaccinosis, seizures, and much more (basically & seriously shortening their lives). Based on the recommendation of our local holistic vet, we vaccinate with parvo and distemper (or a 4 way shot if individual parvo & distemper shots are not available) at 8-9 weeks and then at 15-16 weeks. ADDED NOTE- As of 2013 we also give an early ‘partial’ shot because we brought parvo home from the vet.
There is still some debate over whether a 1 year booster is needed after the 8-9 week and 15-17 week co parvo/distemper shot. But with just those first 2 or 3 combo shots, the dog is vaccinated for life! Why? Because research has shown that the vaccines are still active in the dogs bloodstream as long as 12 years. There is a blood titer test that can be given yearly or every few years (recommendatin is to titer every 3-5 years) to verify that the vaccine is still active. Your vet may have to send the blood sample off to a special lab to do the testing or you may have to go to a holistic vet for this test.
There is a holistic vet online that you can email questions to. Look up Dr. Christina Chambreau. You can even send her a check as compensation for her time.
If not needed, why do vets recommend yearly vaccinations? Some say it is because this is their bread & butter (financially). Instead of urging patients to just have their yearly check up and take care of problems as they arise, they push the vaccines as ‘needed’ when really they are not. Additionally, the vaccines actually cause the problems/issues that cause/keep people bringing in their pets especially in their mid to later years. Many vets will now allow a 3 year rabies vaccine instead of 1 year. This is actually the same vaccine! One rabies shot lasts a lifetime as well (in most dogs). Over vaccinating, of any type, can actually cause the vaccines to cancel out each other (ie the second parvo shot could nullify the first one). Don’t just take my word for it. Do your research!
A good place to start your research on this is to watch the youtube video of Dr. Ronald Schultz (a veterinarian and vaccine researcher of over 30 years). He is being interviewed by another vet, Dr. Karen Becker, and they discuss what is actually needed and not needed and why. http://youtu.be/L1Xd5ghnlJ4 Dr. Karen Becker and Dr. Ronald Schultz on Pet Vaccines (The 53 minute video is the whole interview.) Educate yourself. Read online and/or join a yahoo group that is specifically geared toward dog’s health. It’s worth it to do a little investigating online and THEN talk to your vet if needed. There are a growing number of holistic vets or traditional vets that will work with you on these issues if your current vet won’t. Your pet’s health is in your hands. Each thing you do health-wise (especially raw feeding and limiting vaccinations) will potentially add years of life to your pets. Think of a pet that you lost in the past. What would you have given to add 4-8 more years of life to his/her lifespan? Just these two things alone potentially can do this (raw feeding, limiting vaccinations, and a couple of other very important things that we teach to our new adoptive families).
While many of us may think that 18-22 year life-span for dogs (even longer for cats) is far-fetched, there are a growing number of people helping their pets to live that long and the proof is mounting that ingredients in commercial pet foods, over-vaccinating, and chemical overload are shortening the lives of our 4-legged babies. Raw feeding is a growing trend and there are now raw pet food companies that deliver to your door on a schedule that you choose (it comes frozen fully prepared and mixed, all you do is thaw and put it in the bowl!) The one we use and like is Darwins. Here’s a link to get 75% off.
It’s worth doing a bit of research, looking at the evidence, and using wisdom to move in the direction of better health for our pets. I’m sure like me, you’ll learn quite a bit, make a change for the better here and there, and it will be worth it, years worth it.