puppy potty-training

We recently got the cutest puppy. He is now five months old. We got him at 2.5 months = 10 weeks.  As the good parents we are, we have properly introduced him to our other dog and now they love each other, play all the time and George has even learned valuable lessons from C.J.–like do not hump.

We took him to puppy socialization classes, to get all of his shots and even to the vet when we though he might be ill.

He eats the best raw-food diet out there and we are making dog food about twice a week for the two pooches. But we love them and want the best for them.

So on Christmas morning we got two smart toys and a bunch of other toys for them to play with. Sure enough, they had a heyday! It was like watching two kids explore their new toys.

The one thing we haven’t figured out is the potty training. The thing is, we’ve followed all of the steps out there. At first my frustration with the pool of information I found was that it only covered how to get started with crate training. We did that.

Then finally I found something that said it doesn’t happen in two weeks, but hopefully by the time the puppy is five or six months.

That was a relief because we thought we had done something gravely wrong.

Our first issue was that he was inconsistent despite our consistency. He would pee five minutes after we brought him in from a pee-run. But we dealt with that and he got a little older too.

Then we realized that we weren’t always understanding his notifications, so we taught him to ring a bell when he wants/needs to go outside. We take him outside nearly every hour in the evening because that is how often he runs the bell.

Then as he turned five months I got scared because while there are improvements, he still isn’t potty trained. So we upped the reward system with better praise and now treats when he goes outside.

During the last few months we have gone from keeping him in a crate, to giving him more time out of the crate in several phases. Our living room has had a puppy play-pen made out of baby gates with his crate inside the space for about two months.

When people come over, they understand we are just trying to potty train our puppy. But when we thought we had a break in progress this week, we eagerly broke down the space to give the puppy full run of the house.

Then we discovered the sneaky pees. First I spotted one in a high traffic zone, wondering how it had dried before anyone noticed. Then I stepped in a puddle that we still don’t know where it was. My house shoes just absorbed it until I felt something wet.

We mop the floor regularly and each time we clean a spot, we spray an enzyme that should kill the oder preventing the puppy from getting the wrong idea.

There is so much more to what we do on a daily basis but I think I’ve outlined the extent of our efforts. One thing for sure, my husband and I have been very consistent. I am at home during most days so the puppy is walked frequently on a regular schedule.

The thing is, today, I was working on my resume, focused, assured he was fine because it had only been two hours since his last walk. He hadn’t eaten his full day’s meal so when he whimpered, I realized he needed to eat. I fed him and then went back to my resume writing. He came into the room I was in, whimpered, then peed. I was expecting him to ring the bell.

I flew off the handle. I’ve never yelled at him for peeing in the house before. But when I was cleaning it he made sure to walk right in it. It really made me mad. I did not hit him, but admittedly pushed him out of the way and then sprayed his paws with the enzyme cleaner. I realized how this is trying my patience. I also realized that I’m stressed from persistent unemployment and just wanted to focus on my resume.

My husband thinks we need to call an expert. I think we should keep trying different things, but maybe he is right.

Last night we moved the crate to a different location, the place where I found the first sneaky pees. Now he doesn’t have be baby gates to extend his space–just the crate. I figure we’ll start potty-training over again in this new location.

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