Puppy Potty Training – Facts and Myths

Puppy potty training is the bane of many new dog parents. That is why there are so many tutorials on how to housetrain a dog, with promises of how it can be simple and effortless.

The fact though, is that potty training requires time, patience, and consistency. How simple or difficult it is, will depend on our dog’s temperament and our own temperament.

Some dog breeds such as the Shiba Inu, are naturally clean and are relatively easy to housebreak. My Shiba was housebroken when we first got him at 10 weeks old.

Shiba Sephy does not even like to eliminate in our backyard. Instead, he prefers to wait until we go for a walk. In contrast, my second dog (a Siberian Husky), was more difficult to housetrain because she did not mind frolicking close to her own waste products.

It took a few weeks to housetrain her.

Puppy potty training also depends a lot on us. If we are naturally calm, consistent, and patient, housebreaking will seem easier and require less work.

Whatever the case, always remember that we can successfully housetrain a physically healthy dog, at whatever age (after the weaning off process), no matter the history.

And that is a potty training fact!

1. Set Up a Schedule

Puppy potty training begins, by setting up a schedule. Initially, we want to bring our dog out often, and reduce the chances of her making mistakes inside the house.

I observe my puppy closely, and try to identify patterns in her potty behavior. For example, she usually has to go when she wakes up, and after a bit of vigorous play. Therefore, I took her out after nap-time and after every 10-15 minutes of play. Different dogs may have different patterns depending on size, temperament, routine, and more.

I stop giving her water about 2-3 hours before sleep time, and take her out right before I crate her for the night. If I need to reward her during that time, I only use moist dog treats such as boiled chicken, so that she does not get thirsty from them.

FactDogs learn through a process called conditioning. They repeat behaviors that get them good results and stop behaviors that get them bad results.

The more we reward a puppy for eliminating outside, the more she will repeat that behavior. When my puppy does her business in the backyard, I mark that behavior (Yes!). Once she finishes, I treat her with something special that she only gets for potty success, and give her some good affection. Then, I reward her more with play-time and her favorite activities.

Similarly, the more a puppy practices eliminating inside, on her own, the more she will go in the house. After all, it is convenient and nobody is teaching her that it is inappropriate behavior.

Therefore, we want to not only maximize the number of successes, but also minimize the number of mistakes. In this way, our puppy will learn that doing her business outside is extremely rewarding and fun. On the other hand, when she does it inside, she consistently gets interrupted and taken outside.

MythMy dog cannot be housetrained because she comes from a stubborn breed, she is too stupid, she is too dominant, she doesn’t listen to me, she is too old, etc.

Any physically healthy dog can be housetrained. The key to potty training is patience and consistency. Always be around to supervise our puppy when she is inside. If I do not have the time to supervise, then I crate my puppy or put her in a long-term enclosure with puppy pads.

Myth: Screaming and hitting the dog will show her that I am boss and make her stop pottying inside the house.

Screaming and hitting a dog does not work well, and usually makes things worse. How well do you learn when somebody is screaming at you, or hitting you? It is the same way for a dog, especially a puppy.

The fastest way to housebreak our puppy, is to remain calm, and consistently let her know that going inside is inappropriate (Ack, ack), and going outside is appropriate (Yes).

2. Prevent Potty Mistakes

There are three ways to prevent mistakes inside the house:

a) Be there to supervise.

When our puppy shows signs that she has to go potty, take her outside right away. If I do not catch my puppy in time and she starts to do her business, then I interrupt her with a no-mark (Ack, ack) and take her outside.

MythI can potty train my puppy by rubbing her nose in it after the fact. She always looks sheepish and puts her head down when I shout at her. She knows she has done something wrong.

Dogs will only learn when we catch them in the act.

If we are not around and our dog makes a mistake, then we have missed a learning opportunity. All we can do is clean up the mess and move on. It is true that a dog may look sheepish when we shout at her after the fact. This is because she knows that we are upset, so she uses submissive gestures (e.g. putting her head down) to try and appease us.

The dog does not know what particular event has caused our anger, but just that we are angry. Shouting and rubbing a dog’s nose in her own waste does not teach her anything. All it does is confuse our dog, as well as create stress and fear. This can make things worse by causing submissive urination.

b) Crate train our dog.

Dogs do not generally like to soil where they sleep. Keeping our puppy in a crate can discourage her from pottying because she does not want to soil her sleeping area.

When I got my first dog, I was a bit concerned about crating him. Here is what the Humane Society of the United States and the American Dog Trainer’s Network have to say about crate training

MythA crate will magically keep my dog from pottying for any period of time.

The crate is not some magical cure. A crate discourages a dog from eliminating, but if a dog absolutely has to go, she has to go.

Keeping a puppy for too long in a crate, will force her to potty in the crate, possibly traumatize her, and greatly set back our potty training program.

The maximum crate time is dependent on the age of our puppy.

AgeMaximum time in crate
8–10 weeks30–60 minutes
11–14 weeks1–3 hours
15–16 weeks3–4 hours
17+ weeks4–5 hours

Maximum crate time from ASPCA Weekend Crate Training.

Note – this is just a general guideline for the maximum crate time. I usually take my puppy outside more frequently than that. I take her out as soon as she wakes up, and right after any heavy activity.

At night, I crate my dogs in the bedroom. Keeping our dogs with us in the bedroom will help with the bonding process, and show them that they are part of the pack.

When puppies are really young, they may not be able to hold their bladder throughout the night. It may be necessary to make an extra trip outside at night, or really early in the morning. Once they get a bit older though, this will no longer be necessary.

Some puppies, e.g. pet store puppies, may already be conditioned to eliminate in their crate, because they are kept in there for overly long periods of time. In such cases, a crate will no longer be a deterrent to potty behavior.

c) Put our dog in a long-term enclosure.

If I will be away for a long period of time, I put my puppy in a long-term enclosure. This can be a secure puppy pen, or a secure and safe room (e.g. kitchen).

Make sure there is nothing dangerous in the enclosure that our puppy can destroy and swallow. Put bedding, a water bowl, some puppy pads, safe chew toys, and safe food toys, in the enclosure. Put the pads in a corner as far away from the bedding as possible.

Instead of puppy pads, we may also use an indoor grass system. However, some dogs may not like standing on or eliminating on the indoor grass surface. Just using regular sod or grass did not work well for me because of drainage issues. The sod gets smelly very quickly because there isn’t anywhere for the pee to go.

When I tried using sod, I had to change it every other day, or my puppy refused to go onto it. This ended up being a lot more work than just using puppy pads.

MythWe cannot train a dog to potty outside as well as on puppy pads. She will get confused and not know what to do.

Yes, it is true that if we can be around most of the time to supervise, it is better not to let a puppy do her business in the house at all.

However, if we will be away for long periods of time, if our dog has separation anxiety issues (which may cause her to need to eliminate when we leave), or if there are other medical issues (surgery) that make frequent trips outside unfeasible, then it is perfectly fine to train a dog to both potty on pads, as well as outside.

Reward a puppy for going on his pads, and reward a puppy a lot more for going outside.

3. Clean Away Mistakes Properly

During the housetraining process, there will be some mistakes. When that happens, I calmly no-mark my puppy (Ack, ack) and take her outside. Once we are outside, I praise and reward her if she continues with her business.

Then, I leave my puppy in our fully enclosed and puppy-safe backyard, come in, and clean up the mess. Cleaning up messes in front of a puppy may sometimes cause her to mimic our behavior, and engage in eating her own poop. In her mind, she is only helping to clean out the den.

Use a cleaner that is made especially for pets. A popular pet odor cleaner is Nature’s Miracle.

Do not use ammonia based cleaners as the ammonia odor, which resembles urine, may attract our dog to urinate in the area.

4. Make Sure the Mistakes Are Potty Mistakes

Not all indoor urination is the result of housetraining mistakes. Other reasons for indoor urination include:

  1. Submissive or excitement urination.
  2. Medical issues, e.g. urinary tract infection.
  3. Marking objects or territory.
  4. Stress or anxiety, which results from being alone or other psychological issues.

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  1. Lizzie says

    My husband and I got our first puppy 2 months ago. A Cocker Spaniel we named Baxter. He was born Jan 5th. So far it’s been rather frustrating for us. He’s not doing well with potty training and we first attributed it to the fact my husband’s parent’s dogs constantly peed and pooped in the house. I did my best to take him out as much as possible and for the first month and a half, I never let him from my sight if possible. I even had him follow me to the bathroom and talked to him, held him, or sat there petting him while I was in there. He was fixed April 22nd.

    We’ve since moved to an apartment (a bit over 2 weeks ago) and he still has about 1 accident every day. A few times he’s went 2 days without anything. It’s mostly peeing for now. He did have 3 poo accidents as well, but he’s been sick since he was fixed. We tried everything to calm his stomach, the vet gave him medicine he’s getting that’s supposed to help, but it’s still soft serve consistency and before he had good, firm poos. We spent hundreds of dollars already, just recently more because of his medicine and the special wet food he was given to supposedly help fix his stomach. They claim it was stress from the surgery, his poo test came back negative twice, and then also from moving stress.

    I’m trying so hard to not get frustrated with him, but it’s just so difficult and I got the dog to help with emotional issues I have while my husband is at work. I had a dog before with my ex and he had only one accident in the house when we first got him, but he was so perfect with everything. It’s frustrating having Baxter be like this because my husband is now getting angry thinking Baxter will be like his parent’s dog and just potty all over for his whole life. I’ve tried setting schedules, walking frequently, I watch this dog like a hawk but he still manages to do something when he’s literally right next to me. Just this evening we were all cuddling together getting ready for bed and I went to get up and stepped in pee. He wasn’t off the bed more than 3 minutes and he had been outside for his nightly walk not even an hour before. (He did pee and poo while we were out there).

    And what’s worse is that sometimes he comes to me and asks to go out, which I praise him for. He’s kennel trained since he came from the breeder, and only has accidents in the kennel if he’s not taken out first thing in the morning. (We once got held up somewhere and he was in the kennel for 7 hours and he had no accident.) Which was the first indication he was ill because he pooped all over the house, his crate, every half hour he was pooping really mucusy and you could tell he was hurting. I did boiled rice, chicken, and pumpkin with an added (tiny) bit of plain yogurt and after a few days of that he finally saw the vet for it. And it’s still not better.

    We just moved so getting him to the vet once again will have to wait so I’ve just been giving him the medicine and just the past few days now he’s had his old food incorporated into the wet they gave me cus it’s almost gone. Between the sickness and his training he’s turning out to be quite difficult to the point that I’m second guessing the decision we made to get him, but I love him too much to let him go back to the breeder (which was the agreement if we couldn’t keep him). In all honesty, we paid too much money and put too much time into him to just toss him away. He’s my child and I love him so much. I just wish I could help him. I want him back to healthy, happy Baxter. And I’d like it without the accidents.

    Am I asking too much from him at this young age? Is there something else I can try on him? I can’t give him any new treat or I risk setting off his diarrhea again, and now on these new carpets. I can’t just leave him outside because we live on the 2nd floor of an apartment complex. If there’s anything you can tell me to help, it’d be really appreciated.

  2. Paul Henshaw says

    Hi I have an 11 week old French bulldog puppy I have had for three weeks now. I am now taking to puppy classes once a week and he is developing quite well with his potty training and I am now able to take him outside for walks.

    The problem we face is every time I go to clean up after him when he makes a mistake in the house, I use a specific pet odour & stain remover for the wooden floors, I clean his area up (a cordoned off part of the kitchen) and put a fresh potty mat down. When he goes back into his area, he seems to sniff around – I think because he’s trying to find his scent – which he then just pees or poops wherever he feels like. This ‘habit’ has actually been ongoing since I got him.

    He knows where his area is in the house. I never let him out of the area unless he’s with me on a leash and I keep a close eye on exactly what he’s doing. I follow all of the rules that if he makes a mistake I pick him up and I put him on his mat – Which I now know I should start taking him outside – and I intend to!

    Since he started puppy school last week he has become very naughty and not obeying my commands like he used to and just generally being a little rascal. (which I love and adore, but at the same time I thought we were both making really good progress quite quickly, however now it appears I’m going back to square one from the start).

    Overall I think I’m doing a great job raising him and we have formed a really close and loving bond now – he’s my world and my boy who I love unconditionally – but this issue of doing his business wherever he feels like after I’ve cleaned his area is starting to get a little frustrating now!!

    The trainer at his class has advised it’s just a phase he’s going through, however I’m not too convinced so I would like I would greatly appreciate a second opinion please!!!!

    • Laura says

      I have the exact same problem.. It’s driving me insane… Any advise form other pet owners?

  3. Anonymous says

    I have a 7 week old poodle puppy I just bought, I’ve had him for 3 days and trying to train him to go potty outside. I live in a two story townhome so I even taking him outside to a grass area every morning and every night and of course in the afternoon and trying to catch him after every nap. He’s still having pee accidents in my room on the pee pads and sometimes outside the pads. I’m not sure if I’m doing it right or maybe I’m trying to rush the process since it’s only been 3 days. I will continue to take him outside hoping he will eventually get that outside is for potty and inside is a no no. He didn’t like the treats I bought him so the rewarding system doesn’t seem to work for me. I am a first time dog owner so this is also very new to me! Please let me know if I’m doing the right thing or if I need to change anything! I appreciate it.

  4. Gillian says

    Hi there! My husband and I own a five month old shiba inu. She was house broken at nine weeks, but since her spay-surgery last week, she has been doing her business in the house. We have been taking her outside and giving her rewards when she goes outside–but she still comes back in and maybe ten minutes later, she’ll go 1 or 2 in the house. Is that normal or do I need to retrain her? I’m really clueless as I’ve never had this happen with any previous animal that I’ve owned.

  5. Jessica says

    We have an 8 wk. old siberian husky (we adopted her 3 days ago) and a 2 year old Samoyed. We hoped that the Sib would follow our sammy outside and mimic her but that’s not the case. We take the sib outside every 10 minutes after eating or drinking and heavy play and still nothing. We are trying the puppy pad in the middle as well and the “puppy go” spray but still not having any of it. She can go hours and then just run run run .. pee.. run run run… OR we know she has to go to the bathroom b/c she’s circling and we take her out and she seems more concerned about her leash than going out. So we let her out to potty 5 mins at a time, twice … come in and then she goes. We’re good about cleaning up and trying to eliminate the smell in that area and I feel like statistically she should have went outside by now and a little frustrated that I can’t mark a good behavior if she’s never done it. Thoughts/suggestions are truly helpful

    • shibashake says

      For potty training my Sibe puppy, the most important thing is supervision. I want to consistently prevent and interrupt potty mistakes in the house, and in order to do this, I need to watch my puppy closely all of the time.

      I put a drag-lead on her (Only under supervision, and only with a regular collar. Absolutely no aversive collars), so that I can quickly interrupt and get her outside if need be. Management is key so that I can minimize potty mistakes in the house. The more my puppy goes in the house, the more she thinks it is ok to do so. Some people may also attach their puppy’s lead on themselves, so that they are always close-up and can easily interrupt and lead puppy out.

      If I cannot watch my puppy for even 1 minute, I put her in a puppy enclosure with puppy pads. In this way, she either goes on puppy pads or outside. I do not let my puppy roam freely in the house, without very close supervision, until she is fully potty trained.

      My puppy usually has to go when she wakes up, so that is when I take her outside. I go outside with her, so that I can reward her very very well with her favorite food, favorite games, and much, much, more. Consistency is very important with my puppy. I need to interrupt or prevent potty mistakes inside the house very consistently, so that she learns-
      Potty in house = Always get interrupted and taken outside,
      Potty outside = Bonanza of rewards, fun, attention, and much more.

  6. Chelsea says

    I just LOVE your wesite! I am afirst time puppy parent, and though I have owned dogs before I still have so many questions. Even though your blog is for puppies and dogs in general, your experiences with huskies and shibas help me relate because thats exactly what I have! You have already answered many of my questions and calmed mny of my fears, so thank you sooo much! If you know anything about moving dogs abroad it would be a relief to me. I live in China but will be moving back to the states at the end of the year. I want to know what I need to prepare, and how to prepare my pup. Again thank you sooo much for al the information you have already given.

    • shibashake says

      Thank you Chelsea!

      I don’t have much experience with air travel and dogs, so I have asked a friend about it. She shows her dogs so she has done a bunch of travelling with them. Will let you know if she has some advice. 🙂

  7. Emily says

    Hi there!
    I love your website, you have helped us to have a calmer household with your training tips!
    I have a situation that you may be able to offer guidance on. Loki is our 11 month old red, neutered male who is sweet and perky as can be! He was fully house trained at 4 months old and we had little to no accidents inside the apartment. We moved to a new state about 6 weeks ago. The move really stressed Loki out – messing with his digestive system and perkiness. His perky personality came back when we started unpacking but he only recently (last week) started eating and digesting his food normally. Our new home is 3 times bigger than the apartment we were in previously and it has a backyard, so that offers a lot more space for him to run around in! Unfortunately, he seems to have forgotten all of his house training. We can sit outside for close to an hour with him, take him inside, and then have an accident on the floor within 5 minutes! He has even started going poo on the front entry rug which has never happened before!!! He is outside a lot – we take him on walks, play outside, praise him when he goes potty outside just like when he was a puppy, and scold and put him into the “time out” room when he goes potty inside. We are at a loss on how to make things go back to how they used to be. We understand the move put a lot of stress and confusion on him, but we never though he would “unlearn” his house training. Do you have any suggestions?

    • shibashake says

      Did he start this behavior right after the move? Did the previous owners have dogs or cats? Smells left behind by previous animals may encourage a dog to try to cover the scent. Does he do this more in certain locations in the house? At certain times? Does he do it more when he is alone? What is his daily routine like? Is it similar to his previous routine? Does the new environment have more traffic, dogs, noise, etc.?

      My dogs do not fully transfer their potty training across different houses or inside locations. For example, they will sometimes try to pee in the vet’s office, training class, or pet-store. They may also pee while visiting inside a friend’s house, so I make sure to have them on lead and to supervise.

      When I move to a new house, I repeat house training lessons as necessary. I *do not* use time-outs or any type of punishment for house training mistakes. With potty training, the behavior itself (peeing and pooping) is not wrong or undesirable. I am simply trying to teach my dog to go outside. More on how I potty train my dog.

      Time-outs are most useful in situations where my dog is over-excited when seeking attention or interaction. I would not use it for potty training or stress/anxiety related behaviors.

      The first thing I would do is to identify the source of the behavior. For example, is it a potty training issue, is it a physical/health issue, or is it a stress issue. After I identify the source of the problem, then I can take appropriate steps to fix it.

  8. Taylor says


    I have a 9 week old Goldendoodle, and her potty habits are worrying me a little. By no means am I complaining, but she’s almost too good and I’m worried something might be wrong.

    Every website I have read has indicated that puppies need to relieve themselves after 10-15 minutes after eating and also need to be taken out of their crate every hour or so in the middle of the night.

    My puppy went 7 hours through the night without needing to go outside (she did not cry or bark and went right away as soon as she was outside). She also does not go potty when I let her out 15-30 minutes after eating. It has now been an hour since she ate and she’s just sleeping away (no signs of needing to go to the bathroom).

    Is this normal and did I just get extremely lucky or could something be wrong medically?

    • shibashake says

      My Husky pups didn’t go potty after eating either. They usually fall asleep and then they need to go when they wake up. Heavy activity and excitement makes them have to go too.

      How often does your pup go per day? Does she drink pretty often? When I get a new puppy, I usually take her to the vet right away for a check-up to make sure that everything is ok, and to get advice on vaccinations, heart-worm medication, etc.

  9. Miranda Kenny says

    Hi, I have a 6 month old Siberian Husky. We kennel him every night for bed but lately he has been pooping in it. Every morning when we wake up to take him outside there’s poop. Did I do something wrong while potty training? Why is he doing it? What can I do to stop this? Thanks

    • shibashake says

      How long have you had him? What did you do for potty training? Is he fully potty trained or are there mistakes in the house? Where is his kennel? Can he see you from his kennel at night? Does he vocalize, pant a lot, or show other stress symptoms while in his kennel? Is he eating and drinking normally? Is he playing and moving around normally? Is his poop normal? Did this behavior start suddenly? Did anything unusual happen when the behavior started? What is his daily routine like?

      Dogs may sometimes poop because of stress and anxiety. There can also be other causes, which is why when it comes to dog behavior, context is very important.

  10. Dai says

    I have a 2 month old Siberian Husky puppy. I have been trying to crate train him. And he has been sleeping in the crate since the first night. But the thing is I have to sit nearby and wait till he falls asleep. Is that normal? Also we live in an apartment so how can I potty train him to eliminate in only one area?

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, I slept nearby my puppy as well for a few nights.

      With my Husky puppy I set up an enclosure with puppy pads. As soon as I see that she needs to go, I take her outside (or put her on the puppy pads) and give her the “Go Potty” command. I make sure to reward her extremely well with her favorite food, her favorite games, affection, and much much more when she does the right thing. Setting up a schedule, supervision, and everything else is as I have described in the article above.

      Congratulations on your Husky pup! 😀

  11. itzy says

    Hello i have a 2 month old husky, and so far it has only being hell with her. We r trying to potty train her to go outside and she does her business and we give her treats but as soon as we go inside she goes and does her business on the carpet or in the cage an then she lays on top of it. I can’t even trust playing with her inside the house because sout of the no where she will run away from you making your think she is going to get her toy but instead she does her business, and was soon as I take her outside she only wants to play and thee whol cycle happens again. What would you recommend to brake this horrible behavior?

    • shibashake says

      How long have you had her? What is her daily routine like? Has she been to the vet for a check-up? Has she always gone in her crate/cage? Is she from a pet-store or online store?

      In terms of potty training, the key with my puppy is very close supervision. I put a drag-lead on my puppy if necessary, so that I can keep her near me and can quickly interrupt her potty and take her outside if necessary. I do not let my puppy freely roam the house without very close supervision, until she is fully potty trained.

      I observe my puppy carefully and take note of all her potty signals. For example, if she always tries to run away before she needs to go, then I take her outside as soon as I notice her showing this behavior. In the beginning, I err on the safe side and take her outside as soon as I see any possible signs. Sometimes, I am wrong, and she doesn’t need to go. However, this enables me to minimize mistakes inside the house.

      If I am unable to supervise for even 1 minute, I put my puppy in a safe and secure enclosure, with puppy pads. In this way, she either goes outside or on the puppy pads.

      I need to maximize successes for potty outside behavior so that I can keep reinforcing it, and reinforce it well. I reward my puppy extremely well for pottying outside with special treats that she only gets for potty success, fun games, attention, and much more. The more rewarding I make it, the more my puppy will be motivated to go outside because she gets to do her favorite activities and eat her favorite food.

      At the same time I also need to minimize mistakes inside the house. The more my puppy goes inside the house, on her own, the more she will learn that it is also ok to go inside the house. Close supervision, management, and a fixed schedule are all important for potty training my puppy.

      I describe what I do in much greater detail in the article above.

  12. Huu Trung says

    Hi, I am having a 4 month old husky. At the very first days, me and my wife let him sleep with us. However, we just built up a nice backyard for him with a big house and toys as we want to keep him outside. However, he follows me all the time and it is hard to leave him outside without barking and crying. So how do I teach him to know that he can come inside when we allow him to and stay outside without crying?

  13. Amanda says

    Hi I just recently got a Siberian husky she is just a little over 3 months old. When I crate her at night or while I get ready for the day she whines the whole time. She also tries to bite her way out of the cage and I just recently notice she will drool prefusly. What can I do to help her stay calm while she is in her crate?

    Thank you for the advise

    • shibashake says

      Has she been to the vet? When I get a new puppy, I always bring her to the vet as soon as possible for a check-up. In this way, I can be sure that she is physically healthy, and I can also get my vet’s advice on vaccinations, etc.

      Where did you get your puppy from? Did she previously have bad experiences in a crate? Does she only do these behaviors when she is alone? Where is her crate at night? During puppyhood, I crate my puppy in the bedroom with me at night. In this way, my puppy can still see me and be with me, and thus feels safe.

      If she only shows these behaviors when she is alone, then it could be separation anxiety.
      ASPCA article on separation anxiety.
      With my puppy, I very slowly get her used to alone time. I start with very very short periods of alone time (e.g. seconds) and slowly build up from there.

      I also slowly crate train my puppy so that she associates her crate area with positive events and safety. However, dog behavior is very context dependent, so each dog and situation are different. When in doubt, I get help from a good professional trainer.

    • Anonymous says

      I got her from a dog store and I have family that had gotten puppies from there as well. As far as I know she hasn’t had any bad experiences at least with me. She displays the bitting of the kennel and drooling when I am not there. If I’m there she will just whine and paw at the kennel. I keep her kennel in my bedroom right at the end of the bed. I have not brought her to the vet yet but do have an appointment set up. We have been working on create training and I always reward her with a treat or a kong with peanut butter but she is not a huge fan of that.

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, some puppies have it rough at the pet store. Also, many pet store puppies come from puppy mills.
      ASPCA article on pet store puppies.

      As for the Kong I try to identify what my puppy enjoys most and I use those for crate conditioning. I like using frozen Kongs because it engages my puppy for a longer period of time, and she is usually happy to settle down for a nap after that. Sometimes, I put some sardines at the bottom of my Kong, then I put puppy wet food in, and freeze the whole thing. My dog loves sardines so it can help to give the Kong that extra umph, if necessary.

      For alone time training and crate training, I make sure to start small and very slowly build up my puppy’s confidence and tolerance. Anxiety attacks and negative experiences will undermine my puppy’s confidence and significantly set back training. Therefore, if I need to leave the house, I get someone trustworthy to keep my puppy company. I try to set my puppy up for success and manage her environment so she is not exposed to situations that she is not ready to handle.

  14. Vanessa says

    I take him out every hour and 30 minutes after meals and don’t give him water before bed time. He still barks all night and pees most of the night even though I take him out at 2:00 am . He’s algo startin to growl when put in his crate. We’re doing better with him teething.

  15. Vanessa says

    Hi, I but a old English bulldog puppy from a pet store. Sadly I didn’t know they came from puppy mills…I was told by a friend that it harder to train them because of their previous living conditions. he was doing good with potty training but lately he’s peeing and pooping in his crate. He doesn’t lets us know…barks after so we can take him out and clean it. I was told that does hate to lay on their waste but he doesn’t seem to care

    • shibashake says

      How long have you had him? For how long was he doing good with potty training and when did that change? So initially he did not go in his crate? Did something unusual happen around the time of the change? What is his daily routine like? Have there been any changes to his routine or your routine?

      In general, dogs do not enjoy laying in their own waste so a *properly sized* crate can be a useful tool for potty training.

      However, if a dog/puppy has been forced to stay in a crate for long periods of time, for example in a pet store cage, he has no choice but to go in there. Ultimately, it becomes normal to pee and poop in his cage. In this case, the crate is not longer a good deterrent for potty mistakes.

      When potty training my dog, supervision is *key*. There is absolutely no free roaming in the house until my puppy is fully potty trained. If I am too busy to supervise or need to be away for even 1 minute, I put my puppy in her crate or puppy enclosure. If the crate is no longer a good deterrent, then I use a puppy enclosure.

      I put the puppy enclosure close to where I am, e.g. in the computer room or close to the kitchen so that I can catch my puppy if she tries to dig or chew on her pads. When she does that, I no-mark, and get her to do something else. I change her pads as soon as she goes on them. There are also alternatives to training pads. I talk more about how I use a puppy enclosure in the article above.

      In terms of taking my puppy out, I observe her carefully and try to identify when she needs to go. For example, my Husky puppy needed to go soon after she wakes up and also after about 10-15 minutes of heavy activity. Therefore, I always take her out as soon as she wakes up and also after 10-15 minutes of play. Each puppy is different, so I observe each puppy and schedule accordingly.

      I also watch for potty signals and take my puppy out as soon as I see them. There is more on this in the article above.

  16. Scott says

    Hi! My partner and I have just adopted a Siberian husky from a kennel to save him being put to sleep. His name is Radley and he is extremely intelligent and eager to please and learn. The only problem I am worried about is that my partner is out 7 hours a day and myself 11 hours. He is 18 weeks old and shows signs that he may already be housetrained but due to being in kennels and separated from his original family we are worried that he may have anxiety and separation issues. Can you advise the best way to ease this and combat it so to reduce as much stress as possible, given that we are out all day.

    The weather is ok and I have a large bricked outhouse and garden he could be left in during the day…or is this a no at a young age?

    Any help appreciated. Like I said, he learns very fast and is so eager to please so with positive reinforcement I don’t think there is a lot he Couldn’t learn.

    Thanks in advance!! X

    • shibashake says

      Four paws up for saving a Husky in dire need!

      Does he show any anxiety or separation issues currently? With my dogs I make sure to exercise them well before I leave. Most of the time, when I leave, I keep them inside the house. This is because the house is more quiet and low stimulus, so they are generally more calm and relaxed inside. In the backyard there are more interesting smells, more noises, etc. In addition, there are some naughty squirrels or cats that sometimes sit up on the fence and tease the dogs. 🙂

      Also, my Huskies love to dig, and they can do it very well. My younger Husky dug her way into my neighbor’s lawn once when going after an Earth critter. Now I place concrete blocks all along my fence line to prevent digging.

      However, a puppy probably can’t hold it for that long inside, so something will have to be done for potty.

      In terms of separation anxiety, it depends on whether there is anxiety now and how serious the anxiety is. With my puppy I slowly desensitize her to alone time by starting with very short periods and slowly building up from there. The key thing with desensitization is that during the entire process, it is important to keep my dog from having any panic or anxiety attacks. The more positive and calm alone experiences my dog has, the more confidence she builds, and the greater her tolerance will be. Similarly, anxiety attacks will undermine that confidence, significantly set back training, and increase her level of stress. Therefore, it depends a lot on the current level of anxiety and how much the dog can currently tolerate.

      With my Shiba Inu, I also hired a dog walker who took him out on group walks to the park. In this way, he is not alone for very long, and he gets to do a fun but structured activity while I am away. Just be very careful about choosing an experienced walker who knows how to deal with Huskies. Pet sitter or having a neighbor drop by are also possibilities.

      This ASPCA article has more on separation anxiety and how to do desensitization exercises.
      More on my experiences with separation anxiety.

  17. Vincent says


    should i put the crate in the safe room(Kitchen in my case) with pads? and then when i get home i can take him out every time i see he wants to eliminate.


    • shibashake says

      With my puppy I put a bunch of bedding in there for her to sleep on. I did not put her crate in there, coz it does take up a bunch of the space.

      I think it depends on the puppy. Does your puppy like sleeping in his crate? Does his crate help him to relax and be more comfortable?

    • Vincent says

      He loves to sleep in his crate. Right now i have the pad on one side of the kitchen and his food and bed(Crate) in the other side, now that he’s 2 months old and i can take him out.

      Since he’s a medium dog(Blue nose pitbull) i don’t want to train him to go inside the house, but again, i have to work and leave the house usually at 6:00 am and i come back at 3:30 5 days a week. on my days off i spend all day take him into the crate then every 2 hours out to eliminate and he does! but when i’m not home i don’t have more options to leave him loose in the kitchen..

      what should i do? set a smaller place(like a pen) with pads or papers for him to stay while i’m not home? and then when i get home take him out to do the housebreaking training?.


    • shibashake says

      If he is doing well with the crate in the kitchen arrangement, then I would stick with that. It sounds like a good setup to me.

      With my dog, I just make sure that the kitchen or whatever enclosure I use is puppy-proof and safe. When I am home, I take my puppy outside to do his business.

  18. Zoe Saunders says

    I’ve read a lot of your replies to others and it has been very helpful. I have a 13 week old husky that we have managed to train to go out side now & we have only had a few accidents in the hous 🙂
    The only concern we have is that his poo is still soft/runny, how long should it take for them to become solid. He full of beans and it doesn’t seem to affect him

    • shibashake says

      Runny poop can sometimes be the result of some kind of food allergy. Both my Huskies have very sensitive tummies, so I try to limit the type of food that I give them. They are both allergic to many types of grains, so I use a grain free, high protein kibble. Eating too much has also resulted in my puppy having soft poop.

      What food is your Husky currently eating? Does he get additional treats or people food?

      More on how I pick food for my dogs.

  19. Josephine says

    Hi I’m on my second husky (i now have two the first one is a lot older we’ve bad him for 3 years)

    The second husky is only a month and two weeks old (I didn’t have my first puppy until he was 3 months old) … it’s December now and really cold is it okay to take her out to pee and poop in this cold weather? I tried and she was just shaking and walking around very little. She would not poop or pee outside only inside. Her dad lives with us and they are getting along a little bit but the dad is too hyper … the mom lives somewhere else.. a little help please?

  20. Kenny Dang says

    I have a 4 months old huksy puppy and I dont know how to potty train him. I mean i would do everything in the “book” like when they pee or poop outside i show him love but alot of the time he just goes in the house. Even after 20 mins of going outside he would pee or poop. EVEN IF HE ALREADY WENT OUTSIDE! I really try my best to not get mad and hit him (sad to say) but i do hit him when time gets hard. please help me.

    • shibashake says

      When potty training my Husky, supervision is the most important thing. I try to not only maximize successful outings, so that I can keep reinforcing good behavior, but also to minimize mistakes in the house. If I cannot supervise for even 1 minute, I put my puppy in a safe puppy enclosure with puppy pads. In this way, my puppy either goes outside or on pads. I do not let my puppy freely roam the house until after she is fully potty trained.

      I also want to reinforce the potty outside behavior *very very strongly*, especially in the beginning. Therefore, when my puppy goes outside, I make sure to reward her EXTREMELY well, not just with affection, but also with her favorite food that she only gets on potty success, with her favorite games, and more.

      I make sure *not* to hit my puppy for potty mistakes. Hitting her will only make her more nervous and fearful, and may cause things to get worse because of submissive urination.

      I talk more about how I potty trained my Husky puppy in the article above.

      More on how I trained my Husky puppy.

      Supervision, consistency, patience, and repetition are the key ingredients for successfully potty training my Husky puppy.

  21. Storm says

    I have a 9 week old Australian Shepherd at the moment. She is very very smart and has already learned commands such as sit, lay down, and turn around. We’ve had issues potty training her though. She only sniffs and whines when she needs to poop but when she has to pee its a whole different ball game. Willow (my puppy) will be playing or laying by me and will look as though she is walking to go get some food or water or even a toy and just stop and pee. No whine, no sniffing, NOTHING. I don’t know what to do about it. It has proven to be very difficult to potty train her in my house. I haven’t had issues at anyone else’s house. Maybe I’m more cautious but she pees throughout the house without a thought. I don’t no what to do about it. Sometimes she doesn’t even really stop and just pees. I’m trying my best but this is my first puppy and I am only a college student.
    Willow has even peed in her crate sometimes but I think that is my fault considering I didn’t cut her water source off soon enough.
    What should I do though?

    • shibashake says

      Does your puppy ever pee when she is lying down? Has she been to the vet for a check-up? Does her pee look clear?

      The thing that was most important with potty training my Husky puppy (Lara) was very very close supervision. Sometimes, she doesn’t have very strong signals, but whenever she moves around, I am following her. Usually she walks to the corner before peeing, so as soon as I see her walking towards a corner, I take her out. I am following her and close by, so I can do it quickly before she starts. Also, as soon as I see her start to squat, I take her out.

      No free roaming for Lara without me shadowing her, until after she is fully potty trained. 😀 After that, I can ease back a bit, but still supervise to make sure she interacts properly with my other dogs, and that she is safe.

      I also try to predict when she needs to go. I do that by setting up a very fixed schedule and observing her closely. For example, I noticed that Lara often needs to go very soon after playing/activity. Therefore, I take her out after 15 minutes of play whether she shows any signs or not. She also usually needs to go soon after she wakes up from her scheduled naps.

      When I cannot supervise very closely, I put Lara in an enclosure with puppy pads. Crates can work with some dogs, but if a puppy is already used to going in her crate because of past experience (e.g. some pet store puppies), then using a crate is no longer a deterrent.

      I talk more about what I do in the article above. When in doubt, I get help from a good professional trainer.

  22. shanu says

    I had a shiba Inu and am now thinking to get an Alaskan Klee Kai, I noticed you have a shiba and a husky, are huskies easy to potty train like shibas? On a separate note is your husky okay with being left alone for hours. My shiba was fine alone 8 hours while I worked and wondering if that is the same as huskies?

    • shibashake says

      I didn’t really have to potty train my Shiba. He only made 1 mistake in the house on his first day, and after that he always let us know when he needed to go out. However, my Huskies needed proper potty training. It took a couple of weeks of close supervision.

      My Huskies are *a lot* more affectionate than my Shiba and like people attention. They are also a lot more energetic, and need more exercise. They also like being outside a lot more than my Shiba and they like digging. Husky Lara dug under the fence once and ended up in my neighbor’s yard. After that, we put concrete blocks all along our fence line to prevent digging.

      At most, I am away for about 4 hours, and that doesn’t happen very often.

      However, my Husky breeder tells me that the Klee Kai has a different temperament compared to a Sibe, and that is what I have read as well.

      More on Shiba vs. Siberian Husky.

  23. kirsten says

    I have a 14 week old puppy (husky) he is in full puppy mood..i have two other dogs that I successfully crate trained.. This pup how ever goes out side then even more as soon as I get in hse..

  24. Aisha says

    Hi there. I have a 5 month old shiba inu. He’s done well with the crate training so I’ve given him more freedom. Occasionally he will have an accident. Tonight he drank some water and fell asleep. I take him out an hour after eating or drinking. I woke him up to take him outside and he watched me grabbed the leash and peed at the back door. I don’t know why he did that when he knew I was taking him out. The other thing is he never lets me know he has to go out. I just have him on a schedule. Does your shiba let you know he needs to go outside?

    • shibashake says

      Does your shiba let you know he needs to go outside?

      Yeah, Sephy is good about that. He prefers to go outside, especially during walks.

      In terms of potty training, a puppy does not have as good bladder control as an adult dog, so sometimes he may just go if he can’t hold it in any longer. During potty training, I usually have a drag lead on my puppy (only under supervision and only with a regular collar, *not* a training collar). In this way, when my puppy needs to go, we go right away. I make sure to reward my puppy extremely well with his favorite games, food, and more when he goes outside.

      When I cannot supervise, even for just 1 minute, I put my puppy in a safe enclosure with puppy pads.

      I talk more about potty training my puppy in the article above.

  25. Jeniffer says

    I just got a toy poodle a week ago and she is not 9 weeks old. The first few days she was doing her business anywhere because she was not toilet trained. As she sleeps in my room on a couch she can not get off at night to do her business anywhere she wants, she whines to wake me up and I take her to pee on the pee pad. It was doing great until two days ago. She began doing her business on both the pee pad and the floor and then returning to the pee pad and sleeping on her own mess. Last night she pee’d in her own bed! I don’t know what I’m doing wrong here.

    • shibashake says

      Did anything unusual happen two days ago? Are there any other changes in behavior? Is she pee-ing more often? Does her pee look clear and normal? Has she been to the vet for a check-up? When she peed on her own bed, was she standing up or lying down?

      What is her potty routine like when things were going well? In particular, what happens when she makes a mistake and what happens when she goes on the pad? What is her daily routine like?

  26. Chris says

    I am getting extremely frustrated. I have a 16 week old shepard mix. I got her when she was 11 weeks old. Here is the problem….Since we’ve gotten her, she has a “designated spot” in the yard that we have her peeing and pooping in. She has been doing it consistently until this week. This week, she refuses to go pee or poop there and will fight to leave that area. It seems like she is afraid. She pulls on the leash, and jumps around to leave. This is something new and I can’t quite figure out what has changed for her. I don’t want to keep forcing her but this is the spot for her to go so that she doesn’t just go anywhere in the yard where people sit. She’s been doing it there since 11 weeks old now all of a sudden…….she won’t go. Any suggestions as to why and maybe how I can fix it?

    • shibashake says

      With my dogs, I have noticed that they don’t particularly like being around their own poop. I think it is a smell thing.

      For example, there was one time that I was experimenting with using sod for potty, after Shania’s surgery. She would go on it the first couple of times, but after that she really did not want to use it anymore. When I tried to get her on it, she got really stressed. After I aired the sod out for a few days (took it outside and no potty on it for a few days), then she was ok with it again for a short while. I think if the area smells too much like her own pee or poop, then she really doesn’t want to go near it.

      The same thing with potty pads.

      They don’t seem to have an aversion to poop from other dogs, cats, or other animals, just their own stuff.

      This article from the ASPCA on designated spot training does not deal with this specific issue, but it does have some good information on how to reward and maintain the behavior.

  27. Leah says

    Hi! I recently got a new husky puppy and he’s 9 weeks. I did my research and it seems like crate training works really well. Last night was the first time I put my husky in his crate and he absolutely hated it. He cried and howled for a very long time. I have the crate in my room next to my bed and I tried to calm him down, but the howling and crying didn’t stop. I took him out and let him sleep with me. I know it’s bad to do that because they think if they cry they can come out. But my family was asleep and I had school the next morning so I couldn’t just let him keep crying. Can I train my puppy without the crate? I do take him outside in the middle of the night and he has been going outside. Oh and he eats a lot! Like every second of the day. Is this normal?

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your Husky puppy!

      Can I train my puppy without the crate?

      I find the crate or enclosure to be useful for my puppy during the potty training period because it allows me to prevent potty mistakes in the house, when I am unable to closely supervise my puppy. It also helps me to keep my puppy safe and out of trouble, e.g. chewing on wires, jumping off couches, etc.

      However, each dog and each situation is different, so it depends. Dog behavior is very context dependent, so I modify things as appropriate to suit my dog and my own situation. How is potty training going?

      Here is an account of the first 10 days with my Husky puppy Lara. It is a very good reminder for me, on how very important constant supervision is for a young puppy.

      With crate training, I always start small and slowly build up my puppy’s tolerance for her crate. In this way, she becomes more confident and learns to associate her crate with positive events. More on how I crate train my puppy.

      I also slept with my puppy the first few nights, until she was more comfortable with her crate. However, the problem with this was that my puppy did make several mistakes in the bedroom during the night. I fell asleep and was not there to properly supervise her. Next time around, I may try tethering my puppy to me (in a safe way) so that if she moves away, I will wake up and can take her out.

      Oh and he eats a lot!

      Haha, yeah my Husky puppy loved to eat as well. In fact, she is older now but she still loves to eat. 😀 I try not to overfeed her though, because when I feed her too much, she may get an upset tummy. I tweak things as I go along.

      Has your puppy been to the vet for a check-up? I usually take a new puppy to my vet for a general examination, just to make sure everything is ok, and to set up a vaccination schedule if necessary.

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