I knew I shouldn’t do it. I gave them the cute eyes so they could understand I didn’t really mean to do it. But I just had to go! What’s a pup gotta do?! When you gotta go, you gotta go! It doesn’t matter that I was literally outside just 5 minutes ago. I didn’t have to go then. Well…. Maybe I did have to go, but that leaf distracted me! Did you see how it was just hovering around?! It needed to be stomped on and chomped on, and that’s what I did. But then I felt so proud of myself that I totally forgot why my humans took me out in the first place. Then I remembered, but I was already inside and, well,… queue the cute eyes to say I’m sorry.
I hear some pups learn the routine pretty quickly, but I wasn’t one of those pups. It took me until I was almost five months to become accident free, but if you have to blame something, blame my small puppy bladder!
The disposable pee pads didn’t help because all I wanted to do was eat them up. So my parents got these machine washable welping mats that I could tear up, but that just frustrated mom more because every time I had an accident she had to do another round of laundry. Clean up got a bit easier when they put down these foam tiles in my play area.
But let me tell you how extra my parents were: they thought I had a UTI because I would go potty in the house right after I was outside! Or because I would relieve myself in my crate if I barked too long. Um, no, I didn’t have a UTI. But I can see how you thought I was barking for attention in my crate rather than actually needing to use the bathroom.
Every time I had an accident, one of my parents would take me outside and sit me down while the other parent cleaned up inside. (What would it be like for pups that have only one parent, I wonder?) The parent who took me out would make me sit quietly and think about what I had just done. I wanted to play sometimes, but they didn’t let me. Just made me sit with my guilt in silence. Rude.
Sticking to a strict routine did help me learn how long I needed to hold it for. Rather than thinking, “I guess I’ll just let myself go now”, I remembered “well if I hold it a little longer then mom won’t get that unhappy look when she furrows her brows”.
But equally important was how they set boundaries, so I knew that potty break was not play time. It took me a while to get the message, but it finally clicked. If I wanted to play, then I needed to potty first. It was so fun getting rewarded with one of my favorite stuffies to play with in the garden after going potty! But other times I was still plain stubborn. They would try refocus me by bringing me back to the potty area, but after 5 minutes they would just bring me back inside to reset. Some parents suggest putting us back in our crate for five minutes, but it took longer to simply get me into the crate, so my humans just decided to keep a close eye on me instead.
We all have our unique behaviors, don’t we? It wouldn’t have been fair for my humans to judge my progress with potty training based on how other pups were doing! Part of it had to do with my nature, and the other part of it had to do with how they were teaching me to behave.
To this day I’m not bell trained, but we still stick to a fairly regular (albeit less frequent) schedule for potty breaks. Mom is now much calmer and happier because her worst fears didn’t come true. There was a time when she thought that the accidents would never stop! Thankfully she didn’t lose hope in me because by five months I was a fully house trained pup and gained access to many new areas of the house!
So don’t lose hope, fren! Also, don’t rub it in if you’re a star pupil cause not all of us are like that.
Either way, always remember to take the lead, dood!