4 months old and difficult potty training


  • Hi. I have a 4 month old 12 pound basenji female. I am having the hardest time potty training her. I have had males in the past and never had this much trouble. I take her out in the morning, after eating and after naps and she still poops and pees indoors. We go for walks and sometimes she does her business and sometimes not. Does it get better? I’m trying not to get frustrated. I take her out in the evening and I swear she saves it and then pees and poops in the house.


  • For starters, she does not get to come back in until she has done her business. If you absolutely must bring her in before she "performs", put her in a very small space (a crate will do) and then take her out again in half an hour. Rinse, repeat. Don't give her the opportunity to go in the house. Every time she does it reinforces the idea that it's "O.K." (this reminds me of a friend's cat that used to meow at the door so he could come in to use the litter box). Somehow the penny has not dropped that she is meant to do it outside. Of course, when she does successfully relieve herself outdoors, praise and perhaps a treat are in order. Inside, watch her like a hawk whenever she isn't confined and get her outside at the first sign of "action", carry her if you must. Good luck.


  • And stay with her till she goes potty... reward and praise after... if you catch her peeing/pooping in the house, immediately pick her up, tell her "NO" and take her out and tell her "go pee/poop outside". And if you are not catching her in the act, you need to keep a leash on her so you know where she is... If she is napping pick her up and take her outside and tell her "go pee", praise and reward after she does. If on walks and she goes, praise and reward! Note also that I have had females that when they start to teeth they totally forget about "potty training"... that too will pass.


  • We discovered that our female had a few secret pee spots in the house. We used a towel to soak it up and placed it on the lawn in the back yard. When she smelled it she got the idea. At night just before bed we take them both to the back yard and tell them “Go potty!” We do not go back in the house until they both do. Rainy winter weather was a test of will between her and I. Once they do they get lots of praise and a treat. The house peeing had stopped.


  • Some good suggestions. Agree with @tanza and @eeeefarm that you need to stay with her until she does her thing. May take a while to get through that hard head that the fastest way to get back to the house is to pee/poop.

    The only other suggestion I have is to go with @eeeefarm and treat and reward when you take her on her walks or when she is outside.

    I've never heard of the trick @JENGOSMonkey suggested but it's very clever. Unfortunately it also requires some indoor "accidents".

    No silver bullets but she will get there.


  • I do praise her when she goes on walks and pees/poops. I work from home so it’s been hard to watch her like a hawk. I blocked off the steps so she only has 2 rooms to go into. My office and bedroom where the pee pad is. I’ve been trying to take her out after naps, food, and then every hour she’s awake. She’s like a tourist when she’s outside in the yard or on walks. She’s so busy looking around and enjoying the walk that she forgot to go potty! It’s kind of funny if I wasn’t getting so frustrated. Don’t even get me started on going outside when it rains! As we all know that is always a battle 🙂

    One other thing that’s funny is when she is outside with my male basenji she is fascinated with watching him pee and poop. In fact, she had gotten so close to the action that he has peed on her head. She forgets to pee herself! I keep hoping that he will teach her the ropes


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  • I have had two males, both very easy to train, no problems. My female was difficult and even after being almost 100% trained she would still occasionally poop in the house. It was 18 months before she stopped and after that she was fine. Never had another problem, so be patient, consistent and I am sure you will be fine. Basenjis are notoriously clean by nature.


  • @margiem said in 4 months old and difficult potty training:

    I do praise her ...where the pee pad is. ...:

    Pee pad? Well that's a BIG mistake that explains a lot. A pee pad only teaches her it's OK to go inside. Get rid of it immediately. The above advice is all good: crate train, keep potty visits short not fun so she gets the purpose. Praise when doing it, not when get back inside; only scold inside while doing it, never after. Weather is irrelevant. Here in MI I was taking out 6 week old when it was 8 deg. See this and all of Michelle Lennon's videos.

    https://youtu.be/hiioIet6A3A


  • @margiem

    "In fact, she had gotten so close to the action that he has peed on her head."

    Hmm...my girl also did this, several times....sounds like you may have her reincarnated lol.


  • I have the pee pads because I work from home and if I have a conference call then I may not be able to get her outside when she needs to go. Work also means that I can’t be outside with her for as long as it takes. Recently I have been putting her outside, then I have to run back to work and then 10 minutes later I go back and get her. I know it’s not ideal. I have a 4 day weekend coming up and hope to work with her more closely


  • @margiem said in 4 months old and difficult potty training:

    I have the pee pads because I work from home and if I have a conference call then I may not be able to get her outside when she needs to go. Work also means that I can’t be outside with her for as long as it takes. Recently I have been putting her outside, then I have to run back to work and then 10 minutes later I go back and get her. I know it’s not ideal. I have a 4 day weekend coming up and hope to work with her more closely

    But she shouldn't be out for ten minutes. The result is that she will not see the trips outside as for potty, but for fun. The potty trip should be short, like only as long as it takes to go. When she goes, start doing word association. If she's peeing only, then repeat the word, "good pee, good pee" or something. Use a different word or phrase for #2, and praise at the same time. Then bring in immediately after she's gone. This is potty training.

    If you continue to use the pee pad, she'll only learn that going inside is OK. The crate helps because, unless under extreme circumstances, a dog won't defecate where they sleep. Develop a schedule and work around it.

    Keep track of when she goes, so you know when she'll go next. Usually pee every hour, or after activity or waking up. Take out and start saying the words. She'll get it.

    Poo is about 8 hours after eating, except night, which slightly longer. So if eats at 7 pm, poos at 5:30-6:30. Second meal at noon, poos at 7-8 pm. No water after 7 pm. [0_1617239214781_chart.docx](Uploading 100%) Attached is chart we use.


  • Well couldn't up load a file. That's odd because one icon is clearly for uploading images (says "upload image") while the other icon says "upload file" but gives error message that isn't an image type of file.

    Maybe the administrator can change settings to allow for docx or PDF files...

    If you email me, I'll send several files that help with potty training, including a chart.

    [removed private email]


  • @sanjibasenji - Disagree with that, after eating they will poop just after eating not 8 hours later. If you watch puppies with Mom, they will poop just about immediately after eating because Mom stimulates them to go... because that is what they do it was easy to litter box train them.... they eat, put them in the litter box, they go... same with then moving to outdoors. As they get older they might hold it longer after eating.


  • @tanza said in 4 months old and difficult potty training:

    @sanjibasenji - Disagree with that, after eating they will poop just after eating not 8 hours later. If you watch puppies with Mom, they will poop just about immediately after eating because Mom stimulates them to go... because that is what they do it was easy to litter box train them.... they eat, put them in the litter box, they go... same with then moving to outdoors. As they get older they might hold it longer after eating.

    Totally agree with @tanza on this one. Eat - poop. Maybe from the meal before, or the meal before that, but when they've eaten, something needs to come out.

    Pee-pads - I have never used them. I actually bought a packet of them for Kito, because everyone told me they are a good idea as a training tool. The packet is still unopened. Tried and tested training methods had him cleanish by 9 weeks old and totally so by 11. I fetched him at 8 weeks. @eeeefarm, @tanza and well - most other people have already given good advice. If she won't react to 'go potty' - mine never have, btw - try 'be quick, be clean !' which has worked for mine through the years.


  • @zande

    I agree with both of you -- the morning and afternoon meals can stimulate defecation within 10-30 minutes. But not always. What's coming out, is what they ate 6-10 hours earlier, depending. We tracked this carefully for a month. Here's the pattern for 10-15 week old puppy, fed three times a day:

    Wakes at 4:30 or 5:30, poos and pees (no meal). Back to sleep for an hour or two.
    Feed at 6-6:30 am, may poo again within an hour, but definitely will poo in 6-8 hours, around noon -1 pm. Noon meal may stimulate that.
    Following noon meal, will defecate around 6-7 pm. Evening meal at 6-7 may stimulate that, may not.
    BUT, feed at 7, won't poo until 4:30-5:30 am.

    As he ages, all this will change of course. As an adult, will eat twice a day, and after evening meal at 6 pm, won't defecate for 12 hours or more.

    Peeing is a different story altogether. Peeing happens all day long. As others have stated, it's crucial to take out after waking from naps, after 5-10 minutes of intense activity, and of course, just after eating (to encourage timely defecation too).

    We use a bell inside and that helps a lot. At first he used it mosly for #2. But now for a week he's been using it for #1 too and is getting consistent. He hasn't peed in the house for a week. SO SO happy about that!!!


  • @sanjibasenji said in 4 months old and difficult potty training:

    Well couldn't up load a file.

    One icon is for uploading images from your computer, one is for linking from another online source (such as OneDrive, DropBox, etc.). I tried to explain it better in this post.


  • @margiem said in 4 months old and difficult potty training:

    We go for walks and sometimes she does her business and sometimes not.

    Go on longer walks. Dogs need walks, they need the exercise, but walks are also a social bonding time for them. And, well... movement begets movement. It also eliminates boredom, which produces a less destructive dog. Plus, no concerns about being interrupted while you are working.

    So, toss on some clothes (since you work at home) and take the dogs for walk together, 30-60 minutes. When you get home, check the water/kibble bowls, and get your work day started. (I need to do the same!) The dogs will take a nap and you will be able to get more done.

    I do agree with @sanjibasenji, @Zande, and (all of us, really)... get rid of the pee pads! They send the wrong signal. Besides, once you start going for walks, you shouldn't need them.


  • @margiem said in 4 months old and difficult potty training:

    I do praise her when she goes on walks and pees/poops. I work from home so it’s been hard to watch her like a hawk. I blocked off the steps so she only has 2 rooms to go into. My office and bedroom where the pee pad is.

    Try putting a crate right where you work and keeping her in it. When she gets restless, take her out. If she does her business, praise and allow access to the 2 rooms for awhile as a reward. If she doesn't "go", back in the crate. Another opportunity after a bit, rinse, repeat. When she figures out that it profits her to do her business, hopefully that will be the end of your problems. The most important thing at this point is to not allow her to keep reinforcing the habit of eliminating in the house!


  • I'm not as experienced as others, but have a 10 month old female so have just come out the other side and found it very frustrating!

    The turn around for me was deciding that I would take her out every hour rather than waiting for her to show signs. Taking her in the garden wasn't working as she would just get really stressed wanting to come in and still wouldn't go, but I found that taking her out for a quick walk around our road was much quicker and more effective and removed the battle of the wills element.

    She didn't necessarily go every time and there were still some accidents but the increased frequency meant that she had many more opportunities to go outside and less to go inside, so going inside started to feel less natural to her and after just a couple of days of this routine it finally felt we were getting somewhere.

    As she matured and obviously needed to go less often I increased the frequency to 1.5 hours, 2 hours etc. and eventually she started asking to go herself. About a month ago she started not needing to go for a much longer period of time and now I don't really need to think about whether she has been unless we are going to bed and I want her to sleep through the night!

    With consistency and physical maturity it does get better! If you have 4 days off you could focus on regular toileting opportunities and hopefully get into a better pattern.

    Personally I found it unhelpful to let myself get overly controlling about it and we both had a much better experience trying to relax if she didn't need to go or.had an accident, but at the same time being disciplined enough to make sure I to tried again an hour later.

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