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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So Alfie is around 9-10 months old and for most of the time we had him he stayed downstairs. When he was downstairs, he'd let us know he had to go by sitting by the door and hadn't had any accidents in many months. In the last week, we've opened up the entire house to him (only while we're home) and he's managed to pee twice, and poo once within the span of a week. I feel like I need to re-potty train him. Perhaps the way I did it when he was a 2 months was wrong. I'd take him out every 2 hours, treating him outside, until he was able to hold it for longer. Plus he's fully crate trained, never had any accidents in there.

Any ideas on how to get him to let me know he has to go? Or any suggestions? Should I re-train him again? I've started to take him out again every 2 hours just in case he might have an accident, but I know he can hold it for longer and I'd like to get to the point where he'll sit by the door when he has to go outside.

Thanks for the help everyone!
 

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He may be telling you but you're missing the signs. Does he come at sit in front of you and just look at you? Does he sit near you and whine for no apparent reason? Does he start pacing with his nose near or at the floor?

In my experience, when a dog realizes that under NO circumstances he/she is to go in the house, they will find a way to tell you. You have to be very cognisant of what the dog is doing just before the accident happens.
 

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Have you tried putting a bell on your doorknob or by the door? My boy hits it with his nose or paw when he wants to go outside, but of course he also does it when he just wants to go out and explore.
 

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Teach him to ring a bell. I'm telling you it's amazing and so easy to do. My 10.5 week old puppy picked it up so quick and now she rings the bell to tell me when she needs to go outside. Here is what you do:

Put up a group of bells that you can hang by the door to the outside of the house. Before you open the door to let them out, or even if you are just going out the door yourself, just bend down and ring with your hand.

At first the dog will probably just look at the bells, or not react, but just keep on ringing the bell with your hand before opening the door to go outside. Soon the dog will become curious and decide to see what these bells are all about. They may just sniff, but the moment their nose rings the bell, drop what you are doing and open the door for them. Even if they don't need to go potty, still open the door for them.

At first they might ring the bell a few times just to see what happens. Don't ignore it. Each time they ring the bell open the door to outside. They learn really quick that ringing that bell makes the door open. The cool thing is I never have to worry about missing her subtle signs to go outside because the bell ringing can be heard from a good distance.

After the puppy figures out that ringing that one bell opens the door outside then I suggest putting other groups of bells by doors that are further away from the outside if you are having trouble with them not finding the door quickly enough. When adding new bells you will need to repeat the ringing of the bells by hand whenever you open the door, but this way if the dog is upstairs and needs to go out he will recognize the bells and ring them to go outside.

I have a bell in my bedroom, so if my puppy is closed off in my bedroom playing with me then she can ring that bell. I open that door and go to the main door leading outside and ring that bell myself by hand just to keep up the habit. Eventually as they get older they will completely understand how the bells work and you can stop ringing them with your hands.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies. He doesn't really give me any signs, he just paces for a second and that's when I realize he has to pee but by then it's too late. I like the bell idea but I don't think I can hang bells off the door because I'm 99 percent sure he'll eat them. Is there another way I can do it? By keeping the bells out of his reach?
 

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Does he know the command "speak?" Or any other command that you could ONLY use for potty training. If he knows something like "speak" or "paw" do the same thing with that as you would with the bells. Everytime you know he has to go potty, or if you catch him the act, say "speak", then he does, then you take him outside to his potty spot. He may be able to pick that up, like he would with the bells, but you dont have to worry about him eating anything.
 

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You can teach them just about any behaviour to let you know they have to go - doesn't have to be bells, that's just one of the easiest. I taught mine to come to me and bark, mostly because bells are great until you're somewhere you can't hear them. I wanted my dog to come fetch me if necessary.

Put your dog back on his potty schedule, and before you take him out say "Do you have to go outside?" or whatever phrase you want in an excited voice. You want him looking at you and eager. Then ask him for the behaviour you want to him to do. Obviously, he needs to know the command really well already. In my case, it was 'speak'. Praise him, and take him out saying "Let's go outside!". Gradually wait longer between times you ask, but don't wait long enough where he's likely to have an accident.

If he understands that he's supposed to go outside, it shouldn't take long before he's offering the behaviour to trigger you to ask the question. Personally, I've kept up the ' behaviour -> "Do you have to go outside?" -> repeat behaviour -> "Let's go outside" ' sequence because I want my dog to keep trying to tell me he has to go if I'm being a dunce. Plus, I have the notion that he might be willing to wait for me if he knows I understand and am about to let him out. But, that might just be wishful thinking :)
 

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The bell I have hanging at my door is about 3" diameter and hangs from a ribbon on the knob. I got it at a dollar tree store at Christmas time, it does not have to be a small bell. You could even get a small animal or cow bell from a tractor supply or some place like that.
 

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Teach him to ring a bell. I'm telling you it's amazing and so easy to do. My 10.5 week old puppy picked it up so quick and now she rings the bell to tell me when she needs to go outside. Here is what you do:

Put up a group of bells that you can hang by the door to the outside of the house. Before you open the door to let them out, or even if you are just going out the door yourself, just bend down and ring with your hand.

At first the dog will probably just look at the bells, or not react, but just keep on ringing the bell with your hand before opening the door to go outside. Soon the dog will become curious and decide to see what these bells are all about. They may just sniff, but the moment their nose rings the bell, drop what you are doing and open the door for them. Even if they don't need to go potty, still open the door for them.

At first they might ring the bell a few times just to see what happens. Don't ignore it. Each time they ring the bell open the door to outside. They learn really quick that ringing that bell makes the door open. The cool thing is I never have to worry about missing her subtle signs to go outside because the bell ringing can be heard from a good distance.

After the puppy figures out that ringing that one bell opens the door outside then I suggest putting other groups of bells by doors that are further away from the outside if you are having trouble with them not finding the door quickly enough. When adding new bells you will need to repeat the ringing of the bells by hand whenever you open the door, but this way if the dog is upstairs and needs to go out he will recognize the bells and ring them to go outside.

I have a bell in my bedroom, so if my puppy is closed off in my bedroom playing with me then she can ring that bell. I open that door and go to the main door leading outside and ring that bell myself by hand just to keep up the habit. Eventually as they get older they will completely understand how the bells work and you can stop ringing them with your hands.

that sounds like a really good idea, but how do you deal with them ringing it all the time just because they would rather be outside?
 

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The bell idea is great, but it does lead to them ringing it when they just want to be outside. We used the bell until he was 100% potty trained and we "learned" his signal to go if he had to go out before we were going to go out. Right now we go out at about 7:30 in the morning and 5:30 at night and again at like 10:00 at night. Before he would ring the bell, we'd go outside, he'd squeeze a little out, and then we'd go back in. Sometimes he'd ring it 3-4 times in an hour and that was when we realized that he was just ringing to go outside.

For now this is a great solution as its clear that your boy can't hold it for as long as you think, or you're just not taking him out enough. There is no reason a 10 month old shouldn't be able to hold it for 8 hours.
 

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that sounds like a really good idea, but how do you deal with them ringing it all the time just because they would rather be outside?
Only way that I know to stop that is to figure out their usual potty schedule and after they are absolutely 100% in letting you know they need to go, start refusing to take them out if it's not near time when they normally need to go.

The couple dogs I've trained that way did eventually stop asking if it wasn't for a potty break. For one, it took months, but he was miserable to potty train in the first place. My current dog took a couple of weeks to figure out that I wasn't so easily fooled.
 

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Martemchick, i agree with you completely. I would recommend putting your dog on a schedule. I take my dogs out at 6:45 AM, again between 8 and 9 then 4 PM and once more before bed. You could go out more often to start, but every 2 hours should not be necessary.

When I let my dog tell me when he wanted to go out he was going out all the time. When I got a second dog it was insane. So I decided to set a schedule.
 

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that sounds like a really good idea, but how do you deal with them ringing it all the time just because they would rather be outside?
This is definitely something you have to combat, but for me it was worth it. I always go outside with my puppy after she rang the bell. If she went potty then I praised her and we played outside together for a bit. If she didn't go potty within the first 5-10 min then she went straight back inside. I followed her around the entire time she was outside, on a leash, so she knew I meant business.

This was enough for her to learn that ringing the bell didn't equal play time. However, my roommates dog was not so easy. She would ring and ring that bell to go play outside. Eventually my roommates dog got old enough that she would just give her the command to "hold it" when she rang the bell and my roommate didn't want to let her out just to play.
 

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I actually don't have a problem with letting Kylie go outside just to play or watch the squirrels if she wants to. Sometimes she'll ring to go outside and will choose to stay out there for 20-30 minutes. Since I have a fenced yard, I don't have a problem with that.

I do find it annoying when she rings the bell for attention rather than for going outside, but not enough to remove the bell. She rings for attention far less than she used to.
 

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Riley is potty trained, but he does not whine, bark or use the bell we had at the door. However, he would always have "accidents" right by the door. We installed a wireless drive way alert. When he walks by the door it ding dongs and we know he needs to go out./ There have not been any accidents since we installed it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
So he just peed again with no warning. It had only been two hours since the last time I took him. I'm not sure what I should do. Can changing his environment like that really make him forget it's wrong to pee in the house? He even knows he did something wrong because he looks sad but I wish he would do something to let me know. I don't want him to start thinking it's okay to pee in the house. When he was strictly downstairs only, he had only peed maybe 10 times in the last seven months. I haven't changed his routine other than allowing him to come upstairs.
 

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The bell at the door really works! they pick it up quick! In dealing with them ringing it just because they want to go outside: i figure i would rather get up and let her out and not take the chance. These are very active dogs and if they want to go out its also to run/play off some of that energy. my 11 week old puppy gets nippy when she's bored so i'm happy to let her out to play.
 

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You might consider something else. I teach my dogs to go on a schedule and I make the schedule. As pups they start out every two hours. Then every four hours then whenever it's convenient for me but never more than 9 hours when I'm at work. I never wait for a dog to get desperate, when I'm home they just get let out for a run every 4 hours. No problem and no accidents. Much easier for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I put him on a schedule for potty breaks since day one exactly like yours. I know he can hold it for longer than two hours. It's just that ever since we've let him roam the house he apparently can't hold it any longer than 2 hours and he gives me no warning signs that he needs to go compared to when he was strictly only downstairs. When he peed in the house two days ago, I had just taken him out to pee 2 hours before that. Can the change in his environment really disrupt him this much?
 

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Stop letting him roam the house. The more often he has accidents, the longer it will take to house break him. Give him more boundaries, if he's in the house with you have him on a leash tied to your waist. Dont let him wonder and sniff and do whatever he wants. Because he can roam, it makes no difference to him to pee somewhere and then walk away from his waste.
If you cannot watch him or leash him or have him outside, then crate him. The longer you let this go, the harder it will be.

You still need to treat him like a 2 month old learning to go potty outside. When its time to take him, take him on a leash to the potty spot, tell him to go and praise him/treat him when he does. Set a times, watch him carefully and take him out. Because you will be watching him all the time, you will catch it if he starts to go in the house. Dont get him in trouble, but get his attention so that he stops, and then take him outside to his potty spot. Praise him when he's finished.

The bell is a good idea. WHile you're housebreaking him, ring it before going outside. YOu can coax him to ring it before going out.
Whenever he rings the bell on his own, leash him, take him potty, and bring him back in. That way he associates the bell with ONLY going potty. If you let him potty and then wonder outside, he will ring the bell anytime he just wants outside. SO if thats not what you want, its up to you to make sure the bell means potty only.

Good luck :) :) Hope you can get this nipped soon
 
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