Missing the potty pads

Puppy won’t poop on housetraining pads.

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Q: My daughter has a 12-week-old Silky Terrier named Lola. Lola is pretty good about using potty pads for peeing but she won't use them when she poops. Do you have any suggestions?

A: A 12-week-old puppy is still learning all the rules of her home. The fact that she's using the housetraining pads for pee most of the time is an excellent sign that little Lola is really trying to do the right thing. So, please be patient with her and don't scold or punish her for housetraining mistakes.

You didn't mention where Lola is pooping instead of on her potty pads, and that information is important to solving this problem, so I'll offer several possible solutions here, and you can pick the one that's closest to the actual situation.

If Lola's poops end up within a few feet of the pad, she may simply not have enough room on the pad to poop the way she prefers. Some dogs need to circle or walk back and forth before they can defecate, and that may be what Lola needs to do. If so, she could easily miss the pad and poop on the floor in the same general vicinity, but not quite hit the target.

If this sounds like your situation, try making the potty pad area at least twice as big as it is now. Put down a few more pads, or spread newspapers around the area and put the target pad in the middle.

It's not uncommon for dogs to seek a fairly private place to do their “business.” If Lola is pooping in an entirely different place than where her pee pads are, a desire for greater privacy may be the reason why. To solve this problem, try putting a room divider screen near her potty area, so it's not visible from the rest of the room. This should provide the privacy she needs.

Whatever the reason Lola is missing the pad, do not punish or scold her for her mistakes. Punishment in a case like this can backfire, causing the dog to fear pooping anywhere you might find it. She may start going to the bathroom where it's not immediately findable, likely behind or under furniture. She may stop peeing on the pad, too, and hide all her elimination.

Instead of scolding or other punishments, simply take the “accident” and your pup calmly to the pad, drop the poop on the pad, set the puppy on the floor near it, and praise her for having her poop on the pad -- even though you're the one who had to put it there. This way she will learn that you like potty when it’s on the pad, not that you hate poop altogether. Leave a small trace of poop on the potty pad to serve as a scent and sight reminder for your puppy.


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Julie   Atlanta, GA

2/24/2011 10:12:21 AM

My new 4 month-old MaltiPoo is using the potty pad, but is now also chewing at it. It's frustrating and we are going through lots of pads! Please offer any advice on how to stop this behavior. Thanks!

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Donna   Richmond, VA

4/9/2010 8:44:15 AM

I really like that article....I have a 9wk lhsa pom and he will not poop on the pad!!!! I am going to try both suggestions to see which one works the best.

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Jen   Parkville, MD

4/1/2009 8:19:04 AM

This is the excact problem I am having with my 2mth old chihuahua. Most of the time he pees on the paper but alot of times he hides to poop. It's driving me crazy!I'm so glad I read this.

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