We are often asked how we “train” our puppies to use a litter box, what kind of litter box do we use and what kind of litter.
First off, we don’t have to train our puppies to use the litter box. They have all learned on their own.
Here is how it happens:
At about 10 days or so of age, the puppies begin to crawl or wobbly walk AWAY from their sleeping area to urinate. IF the dam is not close by to clean them herself that is. It is just natural instinct to keep their sleeping area clean.
We used to start out by putting paper potty pads around the sleeping area but they had to be changed and new ones put in often. As the puppies eyes opened and they were up on all fours, their favorite game was tearing up the paper potty pads! Talk about a mess!
So about three years ago we found a washable alternative to the paper potty pads and have never looked back! There are a few options of washable potty/training pads on the market but we love the Simple Solution Washable Training Pads . We are still using the same ones we bought 3 years ago and washing them every day – we have 4 of the bigger pads (they come two per package) so we can put down fresh clean ones every morning while the diry ones are washing.
We now put the washable pads down until the puppies are about 4 weeks old and we remove the door to the whelping box and add the Exercise or Play pen fencing for them to be out and have room to play and use their muscles while indoors.
At that point in time, we put the washable pads at the far end of the play area – opposite of the whelping box where we now keep only bedding and a few toys.
Within a couple of days, the puppies figure out that their potty pads are now outside the box and they begin to use them, especially when out in the play area. Some will “go” before they are all the way on the pad but eventually they all are able to get to the pads in time, without very many accidents on the floor. THEN, we put two litter boxes out on the floor – half on the washable pads and half off. The puppies are very quick to explore the litter boxes (with litter in them) right away and often will get in, sniff around and pee in them for the first time.
We use the large Puppy Pan from Chewy.com. It is very sturdy and is very easy to wash out. It has shorter cut out area in the front than the sides or back and the puppies can easily climb right in.
The litter we use in the pans is so far, the ONLY one that does not have a synthetic “fragrance” (synthetic fragrances are highly toxic for both us humans and especially for the puppies) added to it and it is formed into pellets so there is no tracking of dust with it. The recycled paper it is made from is very absorbent and the puppies take to going potty on it pretty quickly. The litter is called Second Nature Dog Litter
So, there you have it! Our Standard Poodle puppies are litter box trained when they leave here and they have trained themselves to use a litter box!
By the time they do leave, they are also going potty outside as well so transitioning them to going outside only is a very easy thing to do.