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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all,

I am at my wit's end and very, very frustrated and discouraged. I have also had severe COVID for the last 2 weeks, am still very ill, and sleep deprived, and this situation is making me miserable. Please help - tensions in the house are high, and I've had some crying breakdowns recently due to feeling so defeated

I have a 5.5 month spayed female that I have adopted since 1 month ago. I have raised other puppies in the past (Rottweilers), and potty training never took more than ~2 weeks. However, my current pup doesn't seem to be able to stop having pee accidents inside the house - never poop. It happens once every 3-4 days. She is crated overnight ~9 hours, and never has an accident in the crate. She was cleared of an UTI, but was also on antibiotics for it just in case, so this is not a medical issue.

When she is out of the crate during the day, she is always confined to the room I am currently in, and I have active eyes on her at all times. She seems to have a general idea of pottying outside, as she pees immediately after we leash up and go into the backyard. I take her outside every 2 hours. But 1-2x a week, 30-45minutes after we come back inside, she pees inside. I interrupt her during by saying "ah ah!", shuffle her outside immediately, then clean with enzyme cleaner. She doesn't have any circling, sniffing cues - just when she squats. So she often gets a few drops to a few seconds of peeing before she is startled enough to stop peeing. I am so tired of watching her like a hawk, going outside every 2 hours, and scrubbing with enzyme cleaner. At her age, she should be able to hold it for longer than 2 hours, right?

When she does pee outside, I try to mark it by saying "good potty!" and give her a high value treat when she's done. As mentioned, I think she has a general idea of peeing outside, but she never seems to try much to hold it when she's inside and needs to go.

What should I be doing? I feel so tired and so, so, so frustrated as I have been doing this a month now. I feel like I am doing all the usual - confined in crate, or eyes on her with me ALL the time, praise, interrupting, etc. Isn't taking her out every 2 hours at 5.5 months, very often? I thought she could go at least 4-5 hours between potty breaks by now.

I read members on here and the rest of the internet having potty trained their dogs in 1-2 weeks, fully trained by 3 months, and I am just so tired and discouraged and angry. And sick. And sleep deprived.
 

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Wow! I'm sorry to hear you're sick and feeling horrible. All I can think of is sometimes she's not quite emptied out and it would help to walk her around for a while and see if she can go again. I do understand that's probably the last thing you feel like doing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Those two hours you spend watching her - crate her. Sounds like she is close to figuring it out once and for all. Hope you feel better soon
Thanks - I hope I feel better soon, too :( COVID has hit me hard

I apologize, I don't really know what you mean by crating her for the 2 hours? I take her outside to the backyard to potty every 2 hours, and I am watching her like a hawk when she is inside between potty breaks (if she is not crated, like when I am cooking etc). Do you mean that she should just be crated 100% of the time?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow! I'm sorry to hear you're sick and feeling horrible. All I can think of is sometimes she's not quite emptied out and it would help to walk her around for a while and see if she can go again. I do understand that's probably the last thing you feel like doing.
She actually has never peed twice in one outing before - from short "boring" 10 min potty breaks in the backyard, to 60 minute fetch sessions, to longer hikes. I also do not bring her inside right away after she pees outside, I let her sniff around, sometimes we play fetch, etc because I don't want her to think that peeing immediately ends the fun outdoor outing. Thus, I think she is emptied out, but then perhaps drinks too much water when she returns inside. But, I was told not to withhold water during the day so I let her have as much as she wants. Should I stop doing that?

Even so, it doesn't seem like an excessive amount where she is needing to have accidents inside... argh. I'm at my wit's end.
 

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Hi all,

I am at my wit's end and very, very frustrated and discouraged. I have also had severe COVID for the last 2 weeks, am still very ill, and sleep deprived, and this situation is making me miserable. Please help - tensions in the house are high, and I've had some crying breakdowns recently due to feeling so defeated

I have a 5.5 month spayed female that I have adopted since 1 month ago. I have raised other puppies in the past (Rottweilers), and potty training never took more than ~2 weeks. However, my current pup doesn't seem to be able to stop having pee accidents inside the house - never poop. It happens once every 3-4 days. She is crated overnight ~9 hours, and never has an accident in the crate. She was cleared of an UTI, but was also on antibiotics for it just in case, so this is not a medical issue.

When she is out of the crate during the day, she is always confined to the room I am currently in, and I have active eyes on her at all times. She seems to have a general idea of pottying outside, as she pees immediately after we leash up and go into the backyard. I take her outside every 2 hours. But 1-2x a week, 30-45minutes after we come back inside, she pees inside. I interrupt her during by saying "ah ah!", shuffle her outside immediately, then clean with enzyme cleaner. She doesn't have any circling, sniffing cues - just when she squats. So she often gets a few drops to a few seconds of peeing before she is startled enough to stop peeing. I am so tired of watching her like a hawk, going outside every 2 hours, and scrubbing with enzyme cleaner. At her age, she should be able to hold it for longer than 2 hours, right?

When she does pee outside, I try to mark it by saying "good potty!" and give her a high value treat when she's done. As mentioned, I think she has a general idea of peeing outside, but she never seems to try much to hold it when she's inside and needs to go.

What should I be doing? I feel so tired and so, so, so frustrated as I have been doing this a month now. I feel like I am doing all the usual - confined in crate, or eyes on her with me ALL the time, praise, interrupting, etc. Isn't taking her out every 2 hours at 5.5 months, very often? I thought she could go at least 4-5 hours between potty breaks by now.

I read members on here and the rest of the internet having potty trained their dogs in 1-2 weeks, fully trained by 3 months, and I am just so tired and discouraged and angry. And sick. And sleep deprived.
Larry with some good tips.
 

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A few questions. Have you tried taking her back out after 30 minutes for a quick potty break? What is your living situation like? Is there something preventing you from giving her access to the outside? Where I am now, I can leave the sliding door to the yard open so if the puppy needs to go out, they can. Is it the same place every time? If it is, you could take away her access to it entirely. One thing that I’ve seen make a big difference in potty training is carpet vs hard floors. It’s been much easier training young dogs on hard floors than carpet in my experience. I wouldn’t compare my dogs progress or where they are to the next. That’s an easy trap to fall into and it only sets you up for failure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
A few questions. Have you tried taking her back out after 30 minutes for a quick potty break? What is your living situation like? Is there something preventing you from giving her access to the outside? Where I am now, I can leave the sliding door to the yard open so if the puppy needs to go out, they can. Is it the same place every time? If it is, you could take away her access to it entirely. One thing that I’ve seen make a big difference in potty training is carpet vs hard floors. It’s been much easier training young dogs on hard floors than carpet in my experience. I wouldn’t compare my dogs progress or where they are to the next. That’s an easy trap to fall into and it only sets you up for failure.
I usually do not take her out any sooner than 90 minutes, I aim for 2 hours between pee breaks - admittedly because I am trying to extend the time between breaks to 3, then 4 hours. I recognize that it sounds like a stupid idea typing that out now, as she can't even make it at the current intervals. If we have been playing hard or I see her gulp down more water than usual, I do take her out more frequently than the 2 hours. The accidents that she's been having, have always been "chill" days, no extra play/water, and only about 30 minutes after her last pee.

My living situation is a home with yard. I am not able to let her "free roam" to the outside as I have other indoor-only animals, and we have a large insect problem if we leave windows/doors open. So unfortunately, I can't give her constant free access to the outdoors

It is not the same pee accident spot every time. Though, she only has "free" access to one room of the house (and only when I am in there with her watching her) and the room isn't huge, so there surely has been overlap at this point. It has happened on carpet more than hardwood, but it has happened on both

Thank you for the reminder about not comparing. it is surely so discouraging. That, and I am simply tired - both with COVID, and with taking her out so often yet feeling like I am not having any process. I am looking forward to not having to take her out every two hours and watching her like a hawk... its been an entire month and I feel like a failure of a pup parent

Is it typical that an almost 6 month old still needs pee breaks every 2 hours? It seems so frequent given her large breed and age - but maybe I am expecting too much
 

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It can be very difficult, especially if she was in a situation where she never was housebroken before. All she knows is 'I go wherever I am and it's okay". Except it's not. Ellie was the twit that drove us up the wall. With her it was just dominance. "I poop in the house to drive you crazy and show you who is in charge around here". You know what broke her? She left a steamy pile right in the doorway to daddy's office. He yelled and chased her down the stairs. She'd been yelled at before, didn't mean a whole lot. BUT he ignored her for 3 days. Didn't bother with her at all. I had to feed her and take her out. When she went to him, he turned around and walked away. No more daddy treats. On the 3rd or 4th day they made up and she never went in the house again. She was a shelter adoptee with a troubled past. She must have been kept in a garage and bathrooms because that's where she wanted to be. She just had to recognize she would rather be a daddy's girl than a twit. With Duke he was just dumb, it took him 6 weeks to figure out who Duke was and another 2 to figure out you do THAT outside. It's just persistence and repetition. Be patient, take it one puddle at a time. DO NOT use ammonia based cleaners to clean up, ammonia is a component of urine so it makes it smell like that is the place to go. Lysol NO, Pine Sol YES. Try and remain calm so she doesn't come to see it as a way to get your attention. This too shall pass. We also bought some pricey clearer at Petsmart (Extreme stain and odor remover - helps prevent repeat marking) that helped with Duke. I hope you feel better soon and both of you enjoy your time together a whole lot more. Welcome to the forum! when you feel better we LOVE pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It can be very difficult, especially if she was in a situation where she never was housebroken before. All she knows is 'I go wherever I am and it's okay". Except it's not. Ellie was the twit that drove us up the wall. With her it was just dominance. "I poop in the house to drive you crazy and show you who is in charge around here". You know what broke her? She left a steamy pile right in the doorway to daddy's office. He yelled and chased her down the stairs. She'd been yelled at before, didn't mean a whole lot. BUT he ignored her for 3 days. Didn't bother with her at all. I had to feed her and take her out. When she went to him, he turned around and walked away. No more daddy treats. On the 3rd or 4th day they made up and she never went in the house again. She was a shelter adoptee with a troubled past. She must have been kept in a garage and bathrooms because that's where she wanted to be. She just had to recognize she would rather be a daddy's girl than a twit. With Duke he was just dumb, it took him 6 weeks to figure out who Duke was and another 2 to figure out you do THAT outside. It's just persistence and repetition. Be patient, take it one puddle at a time. DO NOT use ammonia based cleaners to clean up, ammonia is a component of urine so it makes it smell like that is the place to go. Lysol NO, Pine Sol YES. Try and remain calm so she doesn't come to see it as a way to get your attention. This too shall pass. We also bought some pricey clearer at Petsmart (Extreme stain and odor remover - helps prevent repeat marking) that helped with Duke. I hope you feel better soon and both of you enjoy your time together a whole lot more. Welcome to the forum! when you feel better we LOVE pictures.
Thanks for the well wishes! In terms of cleaner, I use Nature's Miracle and then afterwards, I have a wet vac to make sure I clean everything out.

I am not 100% about her housebreaking prior to coming to me, but even with 4 weeks with me and strict rules (as described above), I thought she would "get it" by now.

I am thankful I don't have to get up in the middle of the night to let her out as she never eliminates in her crate, but, I am so tired of watching her every second of her being out of her crate - I feel like I can't even enjoy time with her because I'm just anxiously staring at her haha! Not literally - but it sure feels like that sometime!
 

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It's not so much a matter of her physical ability, as it is her perception. Take her out as frequently as it takes for her to not pee inside. Praise success, and make failure much less comfortable; not with punishment, just immediately and quickly interrupt and take her out (that's plenty to get the point across).

As other have said, stay outside with her for a bit, if she doesn't go again, go out in 30 minutes, or 20 minutes, or whatever ot takes!

She'll come around if you're consistent... And best wishes on a speedy recovery yourself! Being sick makes everything worse! I second pictures when you're up to it.
 

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I usually do not take her out any sooner than 90 minutes, I aim for 2 hours between pee breaks - admittedly because I am trying to extend the time between breaks to 3, then 4 hours. I recognize that it sounds like a stupid idea typing that out now, as she can't even make it at the current intervals. If we have been playing hard or I see her gulp down more water than usual, I do take her out more frequently than the 2 hours. The accidents that she's been having, have always been "chill" days, no extra play/water, and only about 30 minutes after her last pee.

My living situation is a home with yard. I am not able to let her "free roam" to the outside as I have other indoor-only animals, and we have a large insect problem if we leave windows/doors open. So unfortunately, I can't give her constant free access to the outdoors

It is not the same pee accident spot every time. Though, she only has "free" access to one room of the house (and only when I am in there with her watching her) and the room isn't huge, so there surely has been overlap at this point. It has happened on carpet more than hardwood, but it has happened on both

Thank you for the reminder about not comparing. it is surely so discouraging. That, and I am simply tired - both with COVID, and with taking her out so often yet feeling like I am not having any process. I am looking forward to not having to take her out every two hours and watching her like a hawk... its been an entire month and I feel like a failure of a pup parent

Is it typical that an almost 6 month old still needs pee breaks every 2 hours? It seems so frequent given her large breed and age - but maybe I am expecting too much
I’ve never done every 2 hours and I don’t think you need to. What I am telling you is you see the pattern and you need to break the pattern. If on your current schedule you have noticed that accidents happen 30-45 minutes after the initial potty break, then add another short 5-10 minute break 30 minutes after the first. If she doesn’t go, just crate her. I’ll also say if you can’t trust her outside the crate and you don’t want to watch her, you can always put her back in the crate. She doesn’t need to be out 24/7. You can also tether her to you, though I’ve never used that method.
I am not 100% about her housebreaking prior to coming to me, but even with 4 weeks with me and strict rules (as described above), I thought she would "get it" by now.
This is the problem with making comparisons. You train the dog based on where the dog is at and what they are showing you. You don’t base it on how someone else’s dog is doing or some schedule you made up. That just leads to furstation.
feel like I can't even enjoy time with her because I'm just anxiously staring at her haha! Not literally - but it sure feels like that sometime!
Again, crate her if you don’t want to watch her.
 

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I struggled with Charlie when he was young as well, I swear he'd go out and pee a gallon, only to come back on and pee another gallon 10 minutes later, luckily I have linoleum flooring all throughout my house, carpet is impossible with 8 dogs, lol

I thought something was wrong with him, but the vet said he was a normal, healthy pup, so I had to batten down get him on a pretty strict crate schedule whenever we weren't outside or actively doing something together. Id tire him out well, make sure he pottied, and in the crate he went; sometimes taking him out 15 minutes later to make sure. that way he didn't have a chance to slip up, when not in the crate he was on a leash, tethered to me.

Another thing that helped, as others have said, was taking him to the same spot every time and adding a command, mine is "go Potty" id say it a couple times, wait for him to potty, then have a treat party. He's the only one of my dogs who will go potty right on command now

As soon as we got back inside, he went to the crate until play or eating time. I tried to do lots of things outside, slow walks down the street so he could empty his tank and tire himself out so he could rest in the crate. Finally, after about a month, he stopped having accidents, most relief ive ever felt 😆

Im sorry you're feeling bad, I hope you feel better soon and can get this issue resolved!
 

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Firstly, I hope your feeling better soon. I completely understand the frustration and hopeless feeling. Puppies are hard work, even when your firing on all cylinders.

I recommend waiting around longer outside during potty breaks, encourage them to move around as it stimulates potty. My pup would frequently do 3 separate pees, often just getting distracted and not emptying. So try waiting outside a while longer after the first pee.

Agree with others. Use the crate more to give yourself a break. Remember exercise, waking up and eating will all lead to potty time.

Best of luck and hang in there. Your pup likely learned some bad habits before getting to you so just stick with it.

Oh and please a puppy picture?!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Here is a photo of the little stress causer that we love so much! It is 4am and I am up sick with COVID, and the puppy blues are seeming worse than they are due to the illness, I’m sure

Thank you everyone for the suggestions so far. It’s a bit tiring to think about how often I’ll have to start taking her outside - I thought every two hours was a lot for her age! But I will try to increase it further. Open to any and all advice… desperate to make some progress here!

Dog Dog breed Carnivore Fawn Companion dog
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I struggled with Charlie when he was young as well, I swear he'd go out and pee a gallon, only to come back on and pee another gallon 10 minutes later, luckily I have linoleum flooring all throughout my house, carpet is impossible with 8 dogs, lol

I thought something was wrong with him, but the vet said he was a normal, healthy pup, so I had to batten down get him on a pretty strict crate schedule whenever we weren't outside or actively doing something together. Id tire him out well, make sure he pottied, and in the crate he went; sometimes taking him out 15 minutes later to make sure. that way he didn't have a chance to slip up, when not in the crate he was on a leash, tethered to me.

Another thing that helped, as others have said, was taking him to the same spot every time and adding a command, mine is "go Potty" id say it a couple times, wait for him to potty, then have a treat party. He's the only one of my dogs who will go potty right on command now

As soon as we got back inside, he went to the crate until play or eating time. I tried to do lots of things outside, slow walks down the street so he could empty his tank and tire himself out so he could rest in the crate. Finally, after about a month, he stopped having accidents, most relief ive ever felt 😆

Im sorry you're feeling bad, I hope you feel better soon and can get this issue resolved!
I have been saying “go potty” right as she pees outside, then praising her “good potty!” with treats when she finishes. I have been doing this a month (ever since adopting her), and sometimes when she doesn’t pee outside right away I tell her “go potty” - and no reaction 😂 I don’t think she knows or cares…
 

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First, my deepest sympathies on having a bad time with Covid. NOT fun!!! Having to deal with your illness in addition to housebreaking a new puppy...OMG, I don't even want to imagine.

Second, what jumped out at me from your initial post is this is a 5.5 month old pup who was already spayed. That is really young, IMHO. And from what I have read, and what I have experienced in another breed, early spaying of females can cause incontinence. We, unfortunately, followed vet suggestions of when to spay and ended up with one that could not last the night....ever. She lived 10 years. The other female we had spayed early took well over a year to "fully" housebreak. And that "fully" was never trusted. She, also, had a hard time making it through the night. So, I understand your frustration and helpless feeling of wondering why this is happening.

Another point is I am amazed you can crate her for 9 hours at her age. Ilita is now almost 9 months and STILL gets us up after 5 hours of sleep max. We also have a 4 month old (different breed) who may also influence that arousal. I remember when we knew we were going to get him, Ilita was 7 months and it felt like we had JUST gotten her reliably housebroken where, for bits of time, you could relax the vigilance.

We also use a verbal 'cue' for going. Our's is "Hurry Up!" This often cues them to go on command, even if it is an obvious 'courtesy' amount. I swear, sometimes we also get a "look" with virtual rolled eyes. But it is handy to be able to cue them when they are in a strange place and easily distracted. A suggestion I read from a reliable trainer was take them out to potty, if they don't go in a given time (I believe he said as short as 3 minutes), take the pup back in, crate for 20 minutes and take out again. This is to let them know their first task at hand is to go potty. Getting distracted with their environment or playing comes after the business is taken care of.

You have only had her one month. I know with all that is going on in your life, this seems an eternity. But for her, she is just getting accustomed to her new life and rules.

Good luck, hang in there, and take care of yourself as best as possible.
 

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Thanks - I hope I feel better soon, too :( COVID has hit me hard

I apologize, I don't really know what you mean by crating her for the 2 hours? I take her outside to the backyard to potty every 2 hours, and I am watching her like a hawk when she is inside between potty breaks (if she is not crated, like when I am cooking etc). Do you mean that she should just be crated 100% of the time?
If you take her outside she’s not crated 100% of the time
 

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First, my deepest sympathies on having a bad time with Covid. NOT fun!!! Having to deal with your illness in addition to housebreaking a new puppy...OMG, I don't even want to imagine.

Second, what jumped out at me from your initial post is this is a 5.5 month old pup who was already spayed. That is really young, IMHO. And from what I have read, and what I have experienced in another breed, early spaying of females can cause incontinence. We, unfortunately, followed vet suggestions of when to spay and ended up with one that could not last the night....ever. She lived 10 years. The other female we had spayed early took well over a year to "fully" housebreak. And that "fully" was never trusted. She, also, had a hard time making it through the night. So, I understand your frustration and helpless feeling of wondering why this is happening.

Another point is I am amazed you can crate her for 9 hours at her age. Ilita is now almost 9 months and STILL gets us up after 5 hours of sleep max. We also have a 4 month old (different breed) who may also influence that arousal. I remember when we knew we were going to get him, Ilita was 7 months and it felt like we had JUST gotten her reliably housebroken where, for bits of time, you could relax the vigilance.

We also use a verbal 'cue' for going. Our's is "Hurry Up!" This often cues them to go on command, even if it is an obvious 'courtesy' amount. I swear, sometimes we also get a "look" with virtual rolled eyes. But it is handy to be able to cue them when they are in a strange place and easily distracted. A suggestion I read from a reliable trainer was take them out to potty, if they don't go in a given time (I believe he said as short as 3 minutes), take the pup back in, crate for 20 minutes and take out again. This is to let them know their first task at hand is to go potty. Getting distracted with their environment or playing comes after the business is taken care of.

You have only had her one month. I know with all that is going on in your life, this seems an eternity. But for her, she is just getting accustomed to her new life and rules.

Good luck, hang in there, and take care of yourself as best as possible.
I agree, 5 months to be spayed is very early and not ideal. My previous Rottweiler was from a breeder so I was able to spay her much later. But this GSD was a rescue/adoption, so she was already spayed when I got her - I would’ve preferred later as well. I hope this hasn’t set her up to be incontinent!!

Im very thankful she lets me sleep through the night. I should count my blessings. It’s hard not to compare sometimes, as I hear many puppies at 3 months thst sleep through AND are bulletproof house broken. I will continue with the cue, maybe someday she will listen and execute 😂
 
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