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Hello,

Sorry for the long post...We've had our eight week old GSD female for three days ago and this is the first dog we've ever had. So far we've only had two accidents (both were caught in the act). The first accident...we didn't recognize the sign while the second (I think) was mainly because we waited too long after a "failed" (ie. didn't need to go) trip outside.

We've been trying to follow a consistent schedule and now 9 times out of 10 she seems to go after we say her business word and will make a B-line to go back inside after she's done. The problem is the schedule doesn't always work and we're not sure how often to take her back out after "failed attempts".

Her schedule was:
out at about 5:45am
feed/water at about 6
back out around 6:30
Then play for a bit..she naps til about 8:30-9 then she goes back outside. Then play/nap.
Feed/water 11:30am out by 12.

Now here's where the plan of taking her out every 2-3hr got out of wack. She whined at 1 so we took her out again (and she did pee). Then napped til 3 took her out (didn't need to go). Took her out again at 4 (she did go). Gave her dinner at 6 and water...she ate but barely drank (unlike at breakfast and lunch). We took her out she went. My partner was concerned that she didn't drink so we gave her a small amount of water at 8 and back out (didn't go) and she had her accident at about 9. We took her out again at 10:30 (she went). Then she was crated for the night. She whined at 1:30am, 3am, and 5am. She went a lot at 1:30 but not really at 3.

The plan for today is to try every two hours during the day and switch to just 2:30am then again at 5:45am during the night. We're also going just offer water at 7pm IF she barely drinks again at dinner. Do you think this will have better success with no accidents? Also, if she doesn't go would you take her out again in 20 minutes or wait longer?

Finally, she knows what door takes her to go potty but she only seems to make a B line for it when she needs to go at night. What's the best way to eventually have her tell us she needs to go other than maybe the bell method?

Thanks!
 

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Sounds like your pup is doing pretty good on her schedule. My boy was the same age when I brought him home. What worked for us was to take him out to potty about every 20 minutes for the first couple weeks (he gave me no clear potty signals, would just squat during play). I just increased the time in between every couple of days and then he started telling me he had to go but I had to watch, he's not very vocal. By 3 1/2 months he was completely housebroken, including no accidents in his crate while I was at work.

It just takes time and patience and the flexibility to go outside your schedule if you need to. Enjoy your pup!
 

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and sometimes you are going to have those "off days" ..we had one of those yesterday/last night. Our schedule had been pretty consistent but got off yesterday. Roxy usually goes out for last time at around 11pm and then is good until about 6:30 am. She got me up 2 times during the night...both times she went pee so it wasn't just to get out. I am hoping we are back to the regular schedule tonight.
 

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Like Dude's Mom said, every 20 minutes...consistently for the first few weeks. This establishes a habit and a pattern for her.

You probably already know this part, but she should also be taken out immediately after eating, drinking any amount, napping, playing, and sometimes just getting up from a down position after so long.

If she starts sniffing and you're across the room it's probably already too late and she'll squat before you can even get up.

If you can't watch her, crate her. If you can't crate her, tether her to you. It's not enough that they want to go outside, they have to be made to understand it is NEVER acceptable to go inside. Never ever ever ever.

Potty is an outside activity only, same as chasing a ball, or barking at the birds and squirrels.

Once outside, walk her around to your picked out spot and tell her to 'go potty!' Wait for her to go. If she won't go within a couple of minutes walk her around some more right back to the spot and say 'go potty!' You cannot go back in until she goes. You control where and when she goes, not her.

Get an enzyme killer for the accidents. Watching your puppy for housebreaking just became you new full-time 24/7 job while you are at home and not sleeping. Welcome to puppydom.
 

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Finally, she knows what door takes her to go potty but she only seems to make a B line for it when she needs to go at night. What's the best way to eventually have her tell us she needs to go other than maybe the bell method?
First she needs to know that the only appropriate place to poop and pee is outside. Until she's 100% on that concept I wouldn't expect her to reliably alert you that she needs to go out. With my pups they usually seemed to get the where TO go part of the equation faster than the where NOT to part - I'd take them out and tell them to "go potty", and they would, but it was a few weeks or more after that before they realized that they couldn't ALSO do it in the house! The more accidents you can prevent by being proactive, the faster she should get there.

Are you praising her and giving her a little treat every time she does her business outside? Are you using an enzyme cleaner on her accidents to completely remove the smell? If not, she can still smell it even if you can't, and that can attract her back to those places again and again.

There were times when I was taking the puppy out as often as every half hour or hour except at night. Picking up the water bowl earlier in the evening should help during the night, but she'll probably have to go out once or twice for a little longer. It really varies from dog to dog. Dena's last accident in the house was about a month after we got her at 9 weeks old, Keefer's was about 2 months (got him at the same age), and Halo's was closer to 3 months. She was 10 weeks old when we got her, but she was quite a bit smaller than the other two. Dena also only asked to go out during the night 3 times total, she was sleeping through the night by the second week home. Keefer and Halo both needed to go out during the night for a few weeks.

Some dogs will come and get you when they need to go out, some will bark or scratch at the door, and some will just sit there and wait for you to notice. Cassidy was the latter type, which was why we started training with a bell. We would notice that she wasn't in the room with us and go looking for her and there she'd be, waiting patiently at the door to go out, poor girl. Who knew how long she'd been sitting there? After that, we just kept the bell because it worked. Now that Keefer and Halo are adults, we don't even have the bell on the doorknob anymore. If they really have to go out they'll come find us, and if it's not urgent they'll just wait.
 

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That's what Lisl will do; sit and look at me. If she really has to go she might try to get in my lap.

Mostly though, she just sits and stares at me.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everyone for the advice...so far so good today (fingers crossed). Every two hours seems to work for her (aside from right after food/water of course). Once and a while she doesn't go then so for now we're trying every 20 minutes after that mark. She's confined to a limited area and someone is always watching her. We did use the enzyme cleaner to avoid her from doing it again. Hopefully tonight will go a bit better...we weren't sure if her whining was to go potty to because she got tired of being in the crate at night (her water was taken away at 8pm last night but we took her out every two hours at night..hoping to push it to every three hours instead tonight because she can do two hours no problem during the day). We've also worked more on her crate training and that seems to be going better but we'll see..she's young but we want to set her on the right track...
 
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