Potty training problems
I just got my sable GSD about two weeks ago. He is supposed to be about 13 weeks old now. I say "supposed" because he seems small. He's only about 20 pounds. I'm new to potty training. The first week I was getting to know Beau and had a few accidents in the house. It was my fault. It took me a few days to give the leash a try. He doesn't really have any potty signals unless I have him leashed. Unleashed he just takes a few steps and goes. He'll whine when leashed and start to panic (walking and/or running back and forth while whining). He was doing very well while crated. Never had any accidents. I'd feed him, play with him for awhile, take him out to potty. Then I'd crate him for an hour or so. We built up to two hours. I'd let him out, give him water (never had water in the crate, it gets dumped), play with him for awhile, take him out if he needed to go while playing, then take him back out before crating for 1-2 hours again. That's how our day time schedule went. He'd eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner on a pretty regular schedule. He'd only get me up once or twice at night. Then he started getting through the night until about 6:30am when I started limiting him water at 8pm. Now suddenly he's started peeing in his crate a lot. At first it was just during the day during the 1-2 hour crating times. Now he's going at night as well; he no longer gets me up. The amount of space in his crate was just enough for him to fit comfortably. Since it's gotten so bad, I've made the crate a bit bigger for him, otherwise he'd just lay in his urine. I've noticed his drinking habits aren't consistent. For example, some mornings he just takes a few laps of water and eats his kibble. On a different morning he drinks his water bowl dry and barely eats anything. His drinking habits are inconsistent all throughout the day. It varies from the hour to hour to day to day. Sometimes he just drinks what I'd consider a normal amount (a few laps here and there while eating) to wanting to drink it dry. When he goes at it, I've started taking the water away. He'll drink enough to make his tummy look full. Sometimes he'll freak out and constantly look for more water while other times he's okay with me taking it away. I've also been taking his water away at 6pm at night (previously it was 8pm). He'll go out about once an hour until 11pm, then he'll go out when he wakes me up (which he has not be doing lately) or at 7am when I wake up. He seems to be urinating quite a bit, even for a puppy. I've seen him go as much as four times an hour, possibly even more than that. The frequency is generally a result of how much he's drank. It seems like no matter how much I take him out lately, he still has to go even with limited water. Am I doing something wrong? It's to the point now where I'm considering putting pee pads in his crate (I use an enzyme cleaner each time there's an accident). In theory, he should be able to hold his bladder for three hours from all the research I've been doing. He was doing just fine until this past week. He can hold number two, but not number one. I haven't seen anything unusual about his urine (no blood, puss, no foul smell). I have noticed sometimes it's almost completely odorless and seems clear. Is all of this just him being a puppy, or could it be behavioral problems?
Do you guys have any suggestions on what I'm doing wrong? I'm not doing anything different from the first week I had him. It's really starting to bother me. I didn't think crating him for two hours here, two hours there with plenty of breaks and exercise would be an issue. It feels like I took a few steps forward then a hundred steps backwards.
Thanks for any input,