Potty Training Help - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-05-2019, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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Potty Training Help

Hi there!! Me and my husband are taking a big step and getting our first puppy. We've both owned adult dogs in the past but never a puppy and that is posing some potty training woes for me.

I know at night to crate the puppy and set an alarm and wake up to take her out, That worries me because the crate will be downstairs due to not fitting in the bedroom.. (the only room upstairs to give you an idea the roofs are slanted sort of like an attic situation. ) The other option I have is to have the puppy sleep with us, which id like to do eventually anyway but i worry for accidents.. Any opinions there?

Next problem is that I work everyday Monday through Friday 8-3:30 here is the schedule i am planning-
10 PM bed-
1-2 AM - potty
4-5 AM - potty
630 AM - wake up and potty again, then feed in crate and around 7:00/7:15 potty again then play before i go to work then potty one more time for good measure, when the puppy is older i plan to insert a good walk here to tire her out.

My husbands schedule is pretty much the same but 8-6..
I am planning on setting the crate up in the bathroom and starting off with pee pad training, but I am not sure how to do both at once or even if we can without confusing the puppy, but i wont be able to take a lunch till at least 11 or i could do even further at 12, to try and get an even 3.5/4 hours, but do to the nature of my work in the healthcare field i don't always get a break and neither does my husband, so we are hoping that we can take turns, but the sad fact is there may be a day here or there we don't get home and i dont expect the puppy to hold it and want to have a backup plan in place. Ofc when i get home its play and potty every 30 minutes to an hour, but do i take her outside or to the puppy pad? :/ Again worrying about confusion.. or maybe just put a puppy pad in both places so she knows? Idk..

I've read alot about getting help etc, but we just bought a house and do not know anyone in the area, including neighbors and are not super comfortable giving a random "dog sitter/walker" a key to my house.
I guess my long rant im just trying to figure out a way to make it all work without Please don't comment saying to wait to get a puppy either as that is not helpful. I am looking for serious suggestions on how you worked a 8-3 job an still made it work.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-06-2019, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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Just a quick add on here, i work about 5 minutes down the road so it isn't a super far drive to come home, but I only get a 30 minute break.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 10:12 PM
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Just drive home at lunch to let the puppy out. It will only last a few weeks.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 10:18 PM
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When I first brought both my puppies home, I put them in a small crate and put the crate on the bed next to me. They stayed calm and went right to sleep. After a couple nights, I put the crate next to the bed where I could hear them when they needed to go out (which was once per night. you don't need to be up all night taking them out). You don't need a big crate for a puppy overnight. just big enough for them to turn around and lay down in.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-10-2019, 11:54 AM
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I know I am not the norm here but we allowed our puppies full access to the backyard immediately, we did not crate either of them. They potty trained right away, never had an issue in the house.

We have an enclosed, covered, outdoor patio and a fully fenced large yard. At 1st when we got our 9 week old male we kept him in the smaller enclosed patio, but he jumped the fence and at that point we knew he was ready for the backyard. Both dogs are outdoors during the day and sleep out there at night. When we got our female she was already 3 months old, she did whatever our male did, slept with him and went outside to potty like he did, so she trained quickly. They have done amazing. We let them in the house when we are home but still never crated. They use the doggy door, which they took to immediately and go in/out as needed to use the bathroom, get water, etc... They have the option of sleeping in the enclosed patio on beds or outside under the stars... they are usually always outside.

We do own a crate, it is outside and we use it to keep the dogs in when we need to have the fence open to move things in and out of the backyard. They are fine being in it, just usually lay down and sleep.

Again I am not the norm but we did not want to crate our dogs full time, have to wake up to take them out to potty or be worried about them crated all day when we are at work. It has worked well for us and out 6/7 month old pups. I should also say we have cameras on them as well and I work close to home so if there was ever an issue I could be home in the matter of mins. That just makes me feel better though, the dogs have been fine.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-13-2019, 10:26 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jax08 View Post
When I first brought both my puppies home, I put them in a small crate and put the crate on the bed next to me. They stayed calm and went right to sleep. After a couple nights, I put the crate next to the bed where I could hear them when they needed to go out (which was once per night. you don't need to be up all night taking them out). You don't need a big crate for a puppy overnight. just big enough for them to turn around and lay down in.
What size crate do you think for the pup? I already have a 48' but am not lugging it up and down stairs daily, so spending some on a bedtime crate that will fit next to the bed the first few weeks/months would be ideal! I think me and my husband will take turns coming home on lunch, i just hope it isnt too long of a wait for her, and needed a backup plan just incase!
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 10:34 PM
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I got a golden retriever puppy in early 2018 and a German shepherd puppy in early 2019, and I put a lot of thought into how to pull off new puppy potty training as a single working adult, so I know what you're going through! I ended up doing the same things for both puppies and it worked out beautifully for both of them. They were both reliably housebroken with a few weeks, sleeping lose in my bedroom within a few months, and I never had to worry that they were going to pee in a crate or be in distress trying to hold it.

Here were my basic guidelines:
- Train to 'go potty' on command by saying the cue right as they start to go (in the right place), and then praising. Gradually, say the cue earlier as they get the hang of it (when they are searching for a place to go, and then when you know they need to go but they weren't thinking about it yet). Use a different word to mean go outside. Can't tell you how much easier life is when your dogs pee on command!
- To start with, take the puppy out all the time. Like, every 30-40 min while it is awake, adding about 10 min per week of age to the intervals. Inside, pup is always confined to a playpen or small room without any carpet or bedding, and it only gets time to explore/play freely in the house right after it has urinated outside. At 8 weeks, they don't even know they are capable of holding it yet. It takes a few weeks practice to realize they can and should go at a certain time and place. The goal is to have as few accidents as possible (aiming for none). Pup is always supervised if you are home, don't give them a chance to make mistakes!
- At night, they will hold it a lot longer. Initially, I crated them at night (use a small enough crate or a divider so there is only room to sleep) and took them out whenever they woke up. My golden is mute but even the GSD didn't really cry, I slept right next to them so if they got restless at all, it woke me up and I took them out. After a few weeks (for the golden) or a few months (for the shepherd), they sleep through the night.
- While I was at work, I left them in a pen on solid flooring that included a bed (possibly inside a crate without a door), water, toys/chews, and a secure puppy pad. I went home at lunch every day and took them outside for a few minutes and swapped the puppy pad as needed. When leaving in the morning and at lunch, I gave them high value treats in a Kong or slow feeder to distract them and make me leaving the best part of the day.
- Both of my puppies used the pads to start and then started holding it as soon as they were physically capable of doing so. For the golden, this was at about 10-11 weeks, and for the GSD it was about 14-15 weeks. I left the pad in the pen for about a week after they stopped using it, and then removed it and from then on they were good to hold it until my lunch break. Once they started holding it during the day, that was also about the same time I trusted them to hold it at night. I continued leaving the golden in a pen while I was at work until she was a year old. My shepherd is still confined in a 6x6 ft pen while I'm at work.
- I never withhold water, my pups have water available 24/7, even in their crates. My golden also had food available 24/7 during her first year because she was a reluctant eater. This didn't interfere with potty training.
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