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QUESTION: We have a 10 week old puppy. We got her when she was 8 weeks. We are crate training her. She does well in the crate-no accidents overnight. She can tolerate 2.5-3 hours at a time in the crate during the day. We have her on a schedule where she gets an allotted amount of free time every 2.5-3 hours. When we let her out of her crate we immediately let her out to potty. We watch her to make sure she goes. The problem is that during free time, she is very unpredictable with her potty habits. I have read that when puppies are active they need to go more frequently, so I try to take her out about every 20 minutes. Today I had the timer set for 20 minutes, but after about 10 minutes, she squatted and wet. How can I ever trust her inside if she goes so frequently? Also, at what point should she indicate to us in some way(barking, going to the door, etc.) that she needs to go out? Thanks in advance for any advice.

ANSWER: Hello Jennifer,

I red-flagged your question as sounding very frustrated and am wondering if you're a first-time dog/puppy owner. Usually when questioners don't greet me or thank me in advance, what sounds like someone being impolite is often frustration. So, chalking that tone up to frustration, I've decided to answer your question, and I'll assume you don't really mean to sound impolite or brusque. :-)

I've previously answered many questions on this AllExperts site on house training a puppy. In addition to the above, you may want to take a look at my previous responses to questioners on the same topic and see if you can get a head start on what the trainer you hire (more on that in my next paragraph) may also impart to you. In fact, I took a quick look at my previous responses on this topic, and there is a response I offered to a questioner on page 4 of my 'Answered Questions' to "Gina" which can help get you started before you meet with your trainer. You are also welcome to look at the subject headings of my responses to find additional responses of mine on this topic.

I think you're expecting too much from a very young puppy. The general rule is that a pup can hold her bladder contents for as many hours as weeks old she is, plus one, so your Internet research has informed you well on the three hours of crating you mentioned. However, the rule is general, and may not apply to every pup, particularly as bladder sizes vary.  I also suggest you need to hire a trainer to educate you on developmental periods in dogs so you can have reasonable and realistic expectations, and show you how to recognize the body language signs your pup is giving which will alert you she has to potty. As well, if she is squatting that frequently and, perhaps, giving no discernible warning beforehand which you may be missing, you may want to take her to the vet to find out if there may be a medical reason for her pottying so frequently.

Best of luck, and remember to be patient with such a young pup.

Best regards,
Madeline Friedman, M.A.
Hoboken Dog Training
Hobokem Dog Trainer
Middlesex County NJ Dog Trainer
Bergen County NJ Dog Trainer

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Many apologies if I sounded impolite. That was not my intention at all. I am a bit frustrated, but also new to using a site/forum such as this. I apologize for not greeting you before going into my question. I added a "thank you in advance" at the end, but maybe should have started with that, so again I am sorry.
I am not new to owning a dog, but this is our first puppy. We currently have a 15 year old Lhasa Apso, who we acquired at one year old, so she was already housebroken. Before our Lhasa we had a Terrier mix. We got her when she was 4 years old, so she was also housebroken. This is our first experience with housebreaking a dog. I have found it extremely stressful. Thank you for replying, and I will look at some of the other responses you mentioned.

Thank you, Jennifer. I appreciate your response. I figured you were a first-time puppy owner. Some pups are easy to housetrain, and some take longer. The first few months can be stressful. Working with a trainer can help take some of the stress out of it for you. Thanks again, and best to you and your pup.  


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Madeline Friedman


I respond to public questions only. I'm not a veterinarian & do not respond to medical questions.Suggestions: Submit a question in one area of priority, as what I am able to address in this venue is limited. Provide as much detail re: the behavior & issue as you can. Tell me how & if behavior is a change from previous behavior & when the changes occurred. Let me know what you think may have triggered such changes & what you have tried so far to resolve it, & what the results were. Let me know what you want help with & what are your concerns & questions about the behavior. I have set up a payment/donation to myself for responding to questions. I donate most of it to animal shelters & rescues. I keep a small portion for my time. The minimum donation is $25.00 on PayPal. When I see that a donation has been made, I will respond to your question. You will be prompted to make the donation before submitting your question. When you have read & rated my response fairly, which must be at the time you read it, I will refund $5.00 back to you IF YOU REQUEST that I do so in your rating comments. If I ask for more details, please respond as a "follow-up" & not as a new question. If I don't respond to your question, I will refund your donation less $5.00. DO rate me fairly at the end of our exchange. I will be pleased if you DO nominate me for volunteer of the month - why not, if I was generous in my response? I may suggest something you were not necessarily ready to hear, but I am honest in the interest of helping your dog, & that is my goal. Please keep that in mind. Please do NOT contact me privately about Allexperts questions through my e-mail or website unless I have invited you to do so. That is an invasion of my privacy - thank you for respecting it. If you would like to contact me for actual dog training & behavior consulting, you may contact me through my website.


Professional dog trainer and behavior consultant full-time since 2002, and hands-on owner and operator of my dog training business; professional dog portrait artist and professional painter for over 20 years. Professional State Certified Educator since 1992. AKC Certified Canine Good Citizen Trainer and Evaluator and AKC S.T.A.R. Trainer and Evaluator. Service and Therapy Dog Trainer (I do not, however, certify dogs for service or therapy work). Experience working with many people on the autism spectrum, including Asperger's Syndrome, both children and adults. Former college and public school instructor. Majored in: Counseling Psychology; Animal Science; Studio Art and Illustration. Professional Teacher since 1992. Degrees: B.F.A.; Master's Degree.

Founding Member of The Behavior Education Network (B.E.N.) of Animal Behavior Associates. Five year professional member of APDT. Two year member of ABMA. Was Animal Science Major, Rutgers University and Psych Major, Caldwell College. Permanently Certified NJ State Instructor Since 1992 and dog trainer/behavior consultant since 2002; AKC Certified Canine Good Citizen Trainer & Evaluator, same for AKC S.T.A.R. training and evaluating; multi-species experience with cats, horses, swine, agamids, birds, rodents, with primary focus on domestic dog. Please keep questions related to dogs only in this forum.

Chronicle of the Dog, Yankee Dog, local news writings, "Popular Dog" Series magazine - Housetraining issue, quoted in Tonawanda (NY) News, July 2007 Join my Facebook page which is NY, NJ and Florida Metro Areas Dog Training if you'd like to have ongoing access to me for occasional questions and advice.

Master's Degree, State Teaching Certification, plus additional undergrad college credits in psychology, and accredited college study in Animal Science.

Awards and Honors
Published author on dog training and dog behaviour, and business aspects of dog training. F.I.T. "Commitment to Illustration and Excellence as an Illustrator" award. Second place internationally in Society of Illustrators international art competition. Jellybean Photographics Award (for illustration). Rondout Valley Instructor's Training Course (I.T.C.) best dog training coach award (which I consider the highest award they gave out for that five day workshop!). I am a true believer that the best is usually saved for last.

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Over 2,500 satisfied customers since 2002.

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