Advice for Potty Training a Young Basenji in the Winter


  • @Zande and @aprilk I've been wondering if he's just really shy and doesn't want us to see him poo, so now that you both mention it I suspect that's exactly what's going on for him! We're going to spend some extra time with him outside tomorrow (just so long it's not pouring here) now that we've made it to the weekend and let him explore as long as he likes without watching him too closely. Even though we have a securely-fenced in garden we've been super cautious about him being loose in our garden while we're still living in London, so perhaps we're being helicopter parents and he's thinking 'mom, dad', please let me find a place to do my private business without hovering'! 😂

    @aprilk When you rushed your little guy outside the first time was he able to finish going that time around? We've tried once with Juno but it made him so anxious that he literally sucked it back up and held it for another few hours! It was so soon after he joined us, though, so he may have responded that way because he was still acclimating. That said, it sounds like if we do it a couple more times with lots of treats and praise he'll get the idea :).


  • @bjenkins33 - It helps to tell him to "go potty" while not staring at him... if you see him start to go, tell him "good puppy, go potty"... especially after he eats his meal.... try to catch him in the act in your hall way, pick him up and put him out with "go Potty"... they get the hint.. and of course treat him and praise him when he goes. Even if his has gone, he will get the message that pooing outside is what he needs to do. And if he sucks it back up, leave him out... can you watch him from inside?


  • When we adopted Heather, she was 2-3month old, didn’t get potty training. She pooped 6-8 times every day! We put dogs pad close to the sofa, which she sleeps on. Every night before we go upstairs to sleep, my husband and I would point to the pad and repeated the same words to let her to poop or pee on the pad. Of course she always disappointed us with pooping and peeing outside of the pad for a long time. If she accidentally pooped on the pad, we just gave her some treats and praise her . Eventually she can learn how to pee and poop on the pad at night. When she grows up, she always hold herself without pooping or peeing whole night and wait until morning walking . I don’t know other dogs, but my dog still poops 5 or 6 times a day even she is 1 and half years old now.


  • @aprilk said in Advice for Potty Training a Young Basenji in the Winter:

    he really only took about a month to get there, mostly I think because my girl totally helped train him!

    I hadn't thought of that angle, but yes, Mku had Hoover to help train him (took all of 4 days, during which time he only pooped indoors once or twice) and now Kito is being trained by Mku.

    When Mku goes out - he takes Kito with him. Although, once outside, he tries to shake off his wee follower so he can empty in private !

    I just dread the puppy also choosing to use the shrubbery as his spot - it is along and down a bank and under it, about twice the length of the old tennis court, and I can't manage to get into the depths if he should get lost !

    (But re-call training has started with 'Kito, THIS way !' and he does come back to Mom !)


  • @heather-g-y - What are you feeding her? That is a lot of pooping!


  • @tanza Agree there ! My first thought was - whatever is she eating ?


  • @tanza twice per day . Dogs dry food with wet chicken or pork. She always picks up meat first and finishes dry food later when she is starving...


  • @heather-g-y - Really better to teach them to eat what is given to them in 10 minutes or less, you should remove the food if not eaten in one sitting (again that is my opinion) and not leaving food to free feed... that would lead to pooping more... How much are you feeding? I can tell you that in all the years I have had/raised Basenjis they eat in less than 2 minutes...if not gone in 10 minutes it is removed until the next meal time. They really do not have to eat all day long...


  • @bjenkins33 - What did his breeder use for potty? Newspaper/potty pads? Litter box? I would say also try putting him on a leash and walking him... and re-enforce the "go potty" command and don't bring him in till he goes... LOL however you need to make sure you are dressed warm also!


  • I am new to this forum, but I am learning a lot. I don’t have any advice to offer, but I do have a question. We are picking up our pup next month and our breeder suggested litter box training. This sounds like a great way to train the pup during the winter months, but I am wondering if it confuses the pup when he is old enough to take walks. Any opinions/thoughts?


  • Personally, I have never used either pee-pads OR litter boxes. Except the one time, and I found I had litter all over the place, not in the box and the pups would use it once, one pup, and the rest would say 'yuck ! not going THERE ! its dirty !' So I gave it up within a couple of days.

    My pups were always semi potty trained before they left me - so new owners had them totally clean within a week or so.

    OUT ! immediately after food, sleep, playtime. No if, no buts. And back in when you have been clean doggie. Lots of praise and they catch on very soon.

    At many of our indoor shows in this country, there are several areas, roped off, with sawdust quite thick on the ground. The intention is that your dog, whatever breed, relieves him/herself in this patch. They are euphemistically called Exercise Areas.

    NOT for Basenjis ! I have had them hold it for hours rather than set foot in the filthy sawdust. They really hated it and would NOT use it, which is why I'm surprised they would use litter.

    One year at Crufts, Plessy was desperate, we were not allowed to leave until 5 and it was about 3 minutes to. I begged the little Hitler on the door to let me take her outside, but no. So my little angel unleashed the floodgates - all over his shoes !

    Lavish praise from Mom !!


  • Just wanted to share that we had a breakthrough with Juno this morning 😀 We finally had a break in the rain so we all went out to the garden just after his breakfast, put him down and within a couple of minutes he went in the tall grass along our fence! We clicked, gave him lots of treats and praise, and he's since gone outside twice more today 🌿

    @tanza HIs breeder used potty pads, but funny enough he didn't seem to associate them with pooing as much as with peeing! Have been using the 'go potty' command per your suggestion and seems to be working very well 🌟 And good call on the warm clothes for sure 😂 It's been one cold January here!

    Thanks so much for all the advice everyone. He's still really young so expecting it to be touch and go for a while, but feels like we're well on our way!


  • @scooper3571 - I have always litter box trained my litters and there was never any issue with the transition to going outside. Takes some time for them to get the hint and some faster than others. Did your breeder litter box them as babies? And I always used more than one box. In fact I used vari kennels for the litter as they come in two pieces. Take each half and put in pellets enough to cover the bottom. Sides are high enough to prevent most of the pellets to stay in and it was easy in/out since there is the cut out for the door


  • @tanza thanks for your opinions. I know we spoil her especially my husband. He always feeds Heather a lot of human snacks and food like cheese or chips or whatever he likes


  • @heather-g-y - Best to keep with snacks that are good for them... I make chicken in the dehydrator... I pound them thin and cook them for 12 hours... great homemade snacks cut them up in smallish pieces... I keep a dish on the kitchen counter for mine... and cheese is OK but not to much, I would stay away from the chips.. LOL. The reason I went to litter box training with my litters is that if you use pee pads or newspaper, anything that looks like they they believe is OK for them to pee/poop on... can't blame them... paper is paper....LOL


  • My pup is 8 weeks old had him for about 3 days now. He peed outside but doesn't poop outside.


  • @heather-g-y Sometimes its best to say no ! Be cruel to be kind and don't overdo the snacks. You won't believe how fast a Basenji can put on weight and that is simply not good for them.


  • Ha! I can see how your pup might have been spooked and sucked it back in, they have an uncanny skill to hold it like no other breed! When I had to "run" my pup out to go poo, the key was to do it very calmly (it took me once to figure this out too). I didn't say anything, just grabbed him and calmly carried him out and told him to go. He figured out really quick that this would happen every time so he just started going himself. They can be subtle about asking to go out, they certainly don't bark at the door so pay close attention to when he is asking to go-if you miss it he could get confused. My boy is real obvious, he'll stare us down or jump up on the door. I'll admit I'm not a huge fan of him pawing at my door but he's pretty gentle now and it beats not knowing he wants to go. My girl is super subtle and its easy to miss-she runs circles around the house. The problem is she always runs circles so its easy to ignore, she just runs faster or slightly different when she has to go, so of the two, pawing at the door is easier.

    With pups, I've always let them out often and every time they asked to go, just so they learn to "ask", but for me it was easy to let them out so it was not a big deal. My goal was just to get them to learn that pottys happen outside period. So a few extra trips to avoid accidents was worth it.


  • @banner098 Welcome to puppyhood! Is this your first dog?


  • Thank you. Yes, our breeder is litter box training. Our first Basenji was a mix (Basenji and Retriever), but she had a lot of Basenji ways. She was already housebroken when we got her, so we didn’t have to worry about that task. We will definitely continue the litter box training until he is old enough to be outside and it is warmer.

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