Our Goldendoodle | House Training Tips

Welcome back! This is my second post since we’ve added Henry to our family. Today I want to share the tips that have helped us successfully train our little guy. I was definitely nervous about house training prior to getting a puppy. Growing-up my family had a shih-tzu who wasn’t the best with house training. My parents now have a havanese and he has been very difficult. When we met Henry’s breeder for the first time she told us not to use “potty pads.” She told us to take him right outside and he would learn. With consistency, patience and praise we have had a lot of success house training Henry.

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Henry the Goldendoodle at 11 weeks

#1 – Designated Potty Place

The day we brought Henry home we took him to his “potty place,” directly from the car. To our surprise he quickly went to the bathroom then we brought him inside. We have consistently taken him to the same area to go to the bathroom. Henry knows that area is for potty and generally goes pretty quickly. He is always on a leash. Early on, we only gave him a few minutes to do his business. If he laid down or started playing we took him inside and tried again in about 15/20 minutes. As soon as his goes, we give him lots of verbal praise {no treats – we don’t want him to start faking us out for snacks}. When he is finished we take him back inside. We want him to learn that at this point in is life, outside is for potty time only.

#2 – Crate Training

If you have done any research on crate training you probably already know that dogs naturally do not want to sleep and potty in the same place. Crate training your puppy will help him hold his bladders until he is able to go in the correct area. The crate should be a safe and cozy place for your pup. We were fortunate that Henry took a liking to his crate from the day he came home. He will go in and out on his own throughout the day to nap. Henry was about 9lbs when we brought him home and started him in a 24 inch wire crate. We borrowed this crate from someone. Otherwise, we would have bought a large crate with a divider. Around 14 weeks and 13-15lbs, we switched him to a 30 inch wire crate that we’ve borrowed as well. He is growing length-wise faster than he is in weight. We decided to switch him to a bigger crate because he was starting to seem cramped. Although he still had room turn, he always had to lay scrunched up. To this day he has not had a crate accident or cried through the night. Inside his crate we keep a machine washable crate bed, a thin towel and 1-2 toys. The crate is located in his room or ‘puppy area’ right next to our bedroom. We have kept the crate in the same exact spot since day one {consistency}.

#3 – Puppy Area

As many resources state, it’s usually the owner’s fault a new puppy has an accident, not the puppy’s. From experience, we could not agree more! We decided it was important to us that we confine Henry to limited area where he had easy access to his crate and his potty place. In our house, we have an office with a separate door into the backyard. Henry’s potty place is right outside that door. This room was the perfect option for our puppy area.

Henry’s crate is in the office and he has constant view of ‘his door.’ We only take him outside to the bathroom to through this door {consistency}. For about the first two weeks he was home he barely left this room {patience}. When we let him explore he had an accident even though we were watching him like a hawk. This made us realize how small he was in comparison to his new home. By taking him out of his puppy area we set him up for failure. He was too far him ‘his door’ and easily confused in what seemed like a giant house. Until we knew he was able to hold it longer, we kept him in ‘his room’ unless we were holding him.

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#4 – The Schedule

For the first two weeks, we wrote down every time Henry went potty, ate or drank. This was helpful for us and Henry. These notes helped us learn a lot about Henry and forced all of us on to a consistent schedule. Within a few days we were able to see a pattern between eating, drinking and potty. We compared day to day notes to see if he made progress and set expectations for the day. During the first two days home Henry peed 14 times before dinner! Henry generally had to pee 20 minutes after drinking water during his first two weeks. As the days when on he was able to stretch this time. We also realized he pooped around the same time 3-4x per day. This all sounds crazy as I type it, but the schedule gradually made the whole situation less stressful. We knew what to expect and when to expect it.

When we took Henry home, the breeder strongly recommend we limited his water the first few days home. She said he had never had is own water bowl and would likely over drink and make a huge mess. It only took one little bowl of water for us to realize that he was OBSESSED with water. Over the first few days we gradually increased the amount of water he drank. We have continued to increase the amount of water he gets each day while still monitoring his bathroom habits. Too much water at once or too frequently almost always results in an accident. Our vet and some sources I read suggest about 1oz of water per pound of puppy. We started using a mason jar that measures out 10 oz {then some}. This helps us ensure he is getting enough water each day. Henry is about 14 weeks old and we still do not leave a water bowl down. He would drink an entire bathtub if we let him!

During the night we took total control of Henry’s schedule. We were very consistent. For his first five nights home we set alarms every 2 hours to wake up and take him outside to potty. Almost every time Henry was asleep, but we wanted to make sure we got to him before he could get upset an have an accident. Sleepily we took turns taking him outside with a flashlight. No chit-chat, no play time. Just potty. After about five days, he was always sound asleep when our alarms went off, so we were confident that he could hold it a solid two hours. We were ready to increase our trips to three hours for about another five days. Then we increase to four hours. Within 2.5-3 weeks, Henry was sleeping through the night from about 9pm to 5am. As I write this blog, Henry is about 14 weeks old. He is very sleepy by 7:30/8pm and relaxes in his room. We take him out for the last time before we go to bed between 9pm and 10pm and I am happy to report that he can sleep until at least 6am these days.

# 5- Door Bells

The day after we brought Henry home we put bells on ‘his door.’ In the theory, the puppy will ring the bells to let you know he has to go out. I knew of some friends who had a lot of success with this method. Each time we took Henry out {we still carry him out} we touched his paw to the bells and said, “potty.” He caught on to this within two or three days! Even though he wasn’t doing it consistently, we were impressed he was doing it all all. About two weeks after having him we removed the bells for two or three days. He started playing with the bells constantly. Henry is a pretty quiet pup {unless he knows food or water is coming} so we were having a hard timing going when he needed to go out. He occasionally barks or stares at us, but felt bad that we didn’t really know. When we put the bells up for the second time he played with them a lot less. Now he can run from one side of the house to the other to ring the bells on ‘his door,’ when we needs to go out. If he rings the bells shortly after coming back inside we know he just wants to play.

There you have it. My top of tips for successfully house training your pup!

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