How did we potty train Faye?

Potty training may seem OR sound like an easy task, but that could be an entirely different story to an adult dog you’ve just recently adopted or take home. For some lucky owners, their newly adopted dog are already potty trained, but for some others (like me too) the struggles are real! And sadly for some…still exist after years.

Cloudy and Terra, was exceptionally easy… especially Terra. The wee wee pads just do wonders! (Put a sheet on the floor, and they just do their business naturally) So I assumed that it’ll be fairly easy for Faye too. I mean she’s an adult dog, how difficult that can be right?! But I was seriously seriously….WRONG!

We bring Faye home, (a re-homed twice rescued abandoned adult dog), so that she can adapt to our ‘pack’. And to simply put it, I actually assumed dogs do their business following scent.. That’s what every dog do in our playground.… (monkey see monkey do), except that I have completely forgotten the fact that Faye isn’t just any ordinary “monkey”

She was very afraid to pee or poo in front of any ‘watching’ humans (possibly previous trauma?) so she had to sneak behind our backs to do it every damn time! Which makes it more difficult to catch her at the moment or trying to tell signs. It’s damn annoying okaaaay!

And so our ‘Faye go poo poo and Faye go shh shh‘ journey starts, and sadly wee wee pad doesn’t work on her at all. 😦

So WHAT DID WE DO WRONG? We were doing exactly what we did the previous times with the two ‘monstrous’ pups and everyone else on the internet advises. Then we realized that the ‘introduction period’ and routine is very important. Like seriously important!

I can finally understand that it really takes the whole family to raise a dog!

And please take away your mindset of ‘you can’t teach an old dog, or can’t train an old dog new tricks’ It really does hinders your training emotionally and your dog too.

Here’s what we do and with the help of our family and lots of patience, we manage to set a routine for Faye and consistently (after 4 1/2 months, she’s finally 90% potty train) and I hope this experience of ours will encourage you to continue and never give up potty training your dog.

The ‘introduction’ to new environment is important for all dogs – be it a puppy you take home or an adult adopted dog. The first thing you bring a dog home is to mark their mind with boundaries and also introduction of where to pee. – We did this, but it still didn’t work on Faye, but it does wonders to our huskies every time we bring them to a new place. So i think Faye is just well, scarred from previous experiences. Anyhow, this is important for anyone whose bringing a new dog home. NEVER SKIP THIS STEP if possible.

Damage control – what it you missed the ‘introduction’ phase?

First identify what is your command, and prepare treats! For us, is Faye poo poo – for big business and Faye shh shh for pee pee. We made sure our family says this command too. LOL. Then get prepared with the area for them to sniff and do their businesses. If it’s indoor, I suggest getting a bigger tray so they have space to sniff the area and turn around (some dogs likes turning big circles)  before doing their business and then use play pen as a barricades to keep them inside until they did it, before letting them out. For outdoor business (like us using our backyard) – walk them out with a leash or simply just send them out with you standing there and do the commands until they do it, you let them in.

TIP: always prepare the treat in your hand. as soon as they did it, reward them with a positive note and then let them in. You probably need to stick to this for a long time and don’t give up. We have tried standing there for 45 minutes before Faye actually did anything, and get her treat. Then she knows, the trigger for getting the food is do business. 😛 Gradually the waiting time gets lesser.  From 45 minutes to 20 minutes to now, 2 – 5 minutes or less than that.

Never let them roam completely freely around your house until you’re completely sure they don’t make mistakes.

A lot of cases, we already failed this (above) part.

I did let Faye into the backyard, she did her business and we let her in. 30 min later, she did it inside … FTW! So we know, she don’t know whats the meaning of holding her own pee / or poo poo. This usually happens to mostly puppies and if you have an adult dog that does this, is annoying but it could be because they’ve never been taught to hold their pee (possibly been tied up to the same spot / crate day and night.. so eat sleep poo also same place – sooooo sad)

Routine is another most important factor to potty training. You gotta find a routine that best suit your lifestyle. For us, we always have someone at home and we’re lucky to set a routine for our dogs for ‘outdoor time’ 3 times a day. Morning, noon and night. For Faye, we have someone to let her out every 2 – 3 hours (each out time now is about 10 – 15 minutes). And once we get to tell her signs of likely to do business, we can sort of already condition her to hold and tahan her business, and work around it.

This is when family members comes into a big help!

For dogs that has no one at home day time, I would suggest to confine them or crate train them until they know when to hold or do their business. Once they observed and learnt your timezone, it’ll be a routine for them to do their business. Most dogs do and can train to hold their business (unless they have bladder condition – which is medical and needs to seek vet for help) 

I also realized that their meal time and drinking water time impacts / and or trigger their potty schedule too. We feed only 1 main meal a day to condition them to only poo once – twice a day. The logic was, what they digest is what they eat. It works. LOL. For dogs like Terra who absorb better food nutrients, poo once a day, and is usually in the morning. For Cloudy and Faye is twice a day. So this helps with our routine knowing and confirming what time they’d most likely poo poo. If we feed them on time, their digestion cycle is always ON TIME. weird right? DOGS… hah!

If you feed your dog all the time, or leave the food there for whenever they eat, they’d most likely poo at any time of the day. This will probably make it harder for you to potty train. I can understand the struggles of your dog not eating…. (I shall blog about this ‘eating time’ another time) If possible, during potty training, try to feed a max of twice a day, and don’t give any snacks in between unless its after their business. It works for food motivated dogs!

This is Faye’s routine.

Morning 8am – 9am
Let her out, and there should be a poo poo. If no poo poo, usually she’ll have to wait until she does it. (Unless she does it the night before – then poo poo will come in the noon time.

Noon between 12 – 2pm  – this is during lunch / or noon time.
Let her out to pee pee.

Evening between 4pm – 6pm
Possibly another round of poo poo, if she doesn’t then confirm there’s on at night.

Between 8pm – 9pm
Let out for the last pee / poo time for the day, otherwise she’lll have to wait till morning!

And every let out now she’ll definitely have a pee, because if she doesn’t pee she’ll never get any treats or coming back in. So we’ve completely eliminated the pee pee inside the house part. But poo poo, sometimes she still miss once or twice because it depends on how much food she eats in a day.

Note: Every let out time is only around 15 minutes to 30 minutes. The time is just an estimation for us to expect something should be coming out around that time frame. We used to start with 30 minutes or longer, and repetitions will help shortened the let out time. Now she’ll take less than 10 minutes to do her business.

For some owners who stay in apartment, we used to train them to do it at the balcony with wee wee pads and their pee pee smell left them a little bit to tell them that that’s the place to do it. Until they ‘did it’ we let them in.

I hope this blog will encourage you to not give up on potty train. The result is very rewarding. 

This is written based on my experiences with our newly adopted dog Faye the cockerpoo. Your experiences and your dog may be different from us. All opinions are my own.


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