My corgi girl, Jinger, is 5 1/2 months old and we are really struggling with potty training. I don't know if I should be worried yet, but I am starting to. Can anyone tell me, what age should she be potty trained by?? She pees and poops what seems like way too often and doesn't make any effort to let us know when she needs to go. She sleeps in a crate and holds it all night, but during the day she can pee as often as every 1/2 hour. She poops from 5-7 times a day! She is now on her third food, because her vet told us the food was the reason. The pooping frequency seems to be improving slightly, but not much. We're hoping this will get better with age.
Jinger stays in a larger crate during the day when my husband and I are at work. A lot of people have told me that's not good and I should leave her in a smaller crate so she won't want to potty, but I think she still would. I just can't bear to leave her in a small crate for that many hours. She has a pee pad in the large crate, which she goes potty on when we are away. However, she loves to eat her poop, which has also been a big problem for us. I don't know if we're doing something wrong, so any suggestions would be appreciated. We like to have her out in the house with us when we're home, but it's very hard because she will just potty wherever she pleases. We show her what she did, tell her its wrong, and then show her where she's supposed to go. Maybe she's confused because we use potty pads and going outside, but I think she's smart enough to learn to use both.
Please help!! I'm starting to worry that she'll never be potty trained. We want to be able to eventually put all the crates and her play pen away and just let her have the run of the house and be part of our family. Am I worrying too early? I hope so, but I am reading other corgi owners write about how their puppies are potty trained at 4, 5, 6 months.
I'm sorry to hear that you are having potty problems with Jinger- I understand how frustrating it can be. Luckily there are many resources on this website to help you!
What kind of food is Jinger currently on? How much food and how many times per day does she eat?
You're right- she shouldn't be in a crate all day. Puppies can't hold it in very long... do you have time to come home on lunch break to let her out or take her on a short walk? Can you walk her for at least 20 minutes before work? That should help with her "getting it all out" until later in the day. You might need to hire a petsitter or consider doggy day care if you or a friend/neighbor can't come over and take her out. Johann kept going potty inside for a LONG time but only upstairs (carpet) so I figured that he just can't go upstairs anymore except for bedtime. What areas of the house does she go potty in? What kind of flooring do you have?
It's just impossible to expect a young dog to hold it in all day (6-8 hours) because they physically can't do it. Instead of putting her in a crate, you might consider putting her in a guest bathroom for the day with a baby gate and a puppy pee pad. I did this for times when I would be gone longer than 3-4 hours and it worked well (he never went potty in the bathroom). He just turned 1 a few weeks ago and has only had an accident in the house when I was at the university for way too long that day. I just felt guilty that I wasn't able to let him out, because I know he tried really hard to hold it in but just couldn't do it (it was very fresh looking when I got home). So, bottom line is, if you can't have somebody come let Jinger out at least once during the day, you might need to confine her to a bathroom or something and just learn to deal with the mess.
As for the poo-eating... there are a lot of discussions on this site about that. I don't have any experience with it personally, but I know someone else can help you out. Good luck!
First off, I would stop using a pad inside her crate. You are effectively teaching her that it's not only okay to go inside the house, but inside her crate. If you wish to use a pad so that she can potty indoors while you're gone at work, then I would highly recommend getting an X-Pen instead. You can attach the pen right to a small crate and then place a pad far away from her crate. The small crate gives her the option of snoozing in her "den" while the crate allows her to keep her potty area away from that den. She'll also have room to move and play in a puppy-safe area.
Also, I would not bother to "show her what she did" if she potties inside, especially if you don't catch her right when she's doing it. She won't understand what you're doing or why you're doing it. If you catch her in the act, then you'd be better off giving one sharp "No!" and then taking her outside immediately. If she finishes going outdoors then you can praise her like crazy. If she doesn't potty outside after, say, 5 minutes, then take her back inside and put her into her small crate. Wait 15 minutes or so, take her out and try again. At that age, Ellie was still not potty trained and was not allowed outside of her crate for play or exploration unless she first went pee and/or poop outdoors. At 8 months old, Ellie will stillgo indoors if I wait too long to take her out after her signal (which is just sitting by the door). She probably won't be truly trustworthy until after she's 1 year old. Basically, 4 months old is too soon to have the freedom of your house. You shouldn't be letting her roam around unless you're certain she doesn't need to potty.
As for getting her to signal, have you tried training her to ring a bell to go outside? Not all dogs will bark or use another obvious signal that they need to potty. Ellie didn't start signaling until around 6 months and even then it was very hard to spot. She just sits by the door without making a sound. If I'm not in the kitchen by the door, then I often don't even see her sitting there.
I had a difficult time potty training my corgi pup, too, so I can understand the huge amount of frustration you're feeling. All I can say is hang in there. Get a regular schedule going and stick to it. Every puppy is different, so don't worry too much right now. Read the FAQ about potty training, as well as the common mistakes made while potty training. Hang in there, it will get better!
How long is she left alone during the day? It is possible that you have inadvertently eliminated her natural desire to keep her den clean by asking too much too soon. I would give her a larger area covered in newspapers and gradually remove the paper until she understands to use the paper (you should be able to see a preference and leave the paper in that area). Also, can someone take her out once or twice a day? I have never really trained the dogs to tell me they want out but do it regularly. I also, while training go out with them and say "go potty" as soon as they start to go. That way they learn to go on command. It is great when it is raining or you are in a hurry. I think the most important part of potty training is a consistent schedule and lots of praise when they do it. She is still young enough that you can correct this with some extra effort. Sometimes just when you think they will never "get it" they do. Also, I don't think they are reliable until at least one year.
Some dogs can take around a year to be fully potty trained. Here is what I would do. Get rid of the pads entirely. Buy an xpen and attach it to her crate, and put down some newspaper in the pen area away from the crate. This is where I would keep her during the day. Hopefully that will rekindle her natural tendencies not to soil her den area (the crate). Continue crating her at night as usual.
She should not be out of your sight for even a minute at this point. Keep her in the room you are in with baby gates, or leash her to your belt. If you're busy, put her in the crate or the pen. If you find an accident, just clean it up. She should have been in your sight! Showing it to her later or reprimanding her does absolutely nothing unless you actually catch her in the act, in which case you should screech like crazy to interrupt her and immediately take her outside.
I also wouldn't wait for her to tell you she needs to go out. Just do it every two hours or so and praise like heck if she does go. I would not expect her to give any clear signals until she actually understands that she is supposed to ONLY being pottying outside, and she definitely doesn't seem to understand that quite yet.
Thanks for all the suggestions for our potty training troubles! I just wanted to answer a few of your questions:
Jinger is now on her third different food. She started on Wellness: Just for Puppies, but she had loose stools and very bad gas so we switched her to Blue Buffalo. She was still pooping a lot so I talked to her vet about it. The vet said those high quality foods with a lot of protein actually make dogs poop more. Although I trust my vet completely, I have heard the complete opposite from other people. I've heard that on the better, higher protein foods, dogs absorb more nutrients and actually have less solid waste. Who knows? Anyways, my husband and I decided to try something new just to see if she might poop less because we talked to other dog owners who's dogs also tended to poop more on the Blue Buffalo. Jinger is now on Nutro Natural Choice for puppies. It is still a higher protein food that doesn't contain corn and wheat, (the two things that are advertised to be bad for dogs). Unfortunately the pooping has not really decreased. My vet said to put her on one the the regular old foods like Science Diet for her to poop less. But I hate to think of feeding her a low quality food that contains all those fillers and wheat and corn.
Regarding the x pen, we had her in one of those during the day when we were gone, and we'd come home to a complete disaster! She would pee and poop everywhere, and then spread and smear the poop all over the pen. That's when we decided to leave her in a smaller space (a large crate) when we're at work. I know some say it is bad to put a pee pad in the crate, so we tried not doing that, but she still peed and it was a bigger mess. When there are pee pads in her crate, she goes pee on them and it's cleaner. I guess, like many of you said, she simply can't hold it that long at this age.
To clarify about the potty training, we never show her, or punish or yell at her after the fact. We only correct her when we catch her in the act. We tell her "Wrong" and then put her outside where she is supposed to go. She seems to have no fear though. She barks and jumps at us excitedly like we're playing a game with her.
When we're home we try to have Jinger out with us as much as possible so she's part of the family. When she's out she is never out of our sight. She seems to be doing much better in the last week about not just going potty wherever she pleases in the house. When we see her start to pace around or sniff we take her outside and she usually goes. She still pees excessively (sometimes every 1/2 hour), so we're hoping that will decrease. Her vet said she doesn't seem to have a bladder infection or anything, so we'll have to wait and see I guess. Jinger also seems to be making more of an effort to hold her poop until we get home. This past week has been significantly better. We're hoping it's not just a fluke and that she continues to improve. We love her dearly and every day she gets a little sweeter and cuter. I do not regret getting her for one second even though she's been a ton of work. She's such a blessing in our lives and I can't what to see the adult corgi she grows into.
Thanks again for all the advice! I will update later on how we're doing with the potty training.