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Thread: Housebreaking from paper training to outdoors

  1. #1

    Default Housebreaking from paper training to outdoors

    Hello, we have a 6 month old rottie mix. We got him during the winter months, so we had to paper train him since we had very cold weather and a lot of snow. Now that he is 6 months old and the weather has improved, we are tryint to re-train him to go outdoors. He will sometimes do number 1 outdoors but will try to hold number 2 until he gets back inside to go on the paper. He still is unable to hold it during the day while we work so we continue to have paper down for him. I know this is confusing for him. He gets neutered next month. Will that help? I don't know how old a dog will have to be before they can hold it for most of the day. I take him out in the morning and as soon as I get home. Any help is much appreciated. Thank you.

  2. #2


    Hi Gizmo,

    First off, welcome to the forum From what you write, your training is going to be challenging due to your schedule and your previous 6 months of training. Basically, you have taught your puppy to potty in the house and it sounds like you've done a good job, since your puppy holds it until he has access to his papers. Now you want to change that to outside housebreaking. Before telling you how to work on this, I have a few questions for you:

    Do you have a fenced yard where you can let your puppy spend time on his own or could you build or buy a dog run for him?

    Is a doggy door a possible option for you?

    Have you done any crate training and if so, does your puppy "hold it" while in the crate and for how long?

    If you take your puppy on a walk, how often does he end up going potty?

    Changing established habits is going to take some work from you, because you are basically retraining a new behavior and trying to eliminate (or at least reduce) the old behavior. I'll be able to give you some concrete advice one I hear your responses to my question.

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  3. #3

    Default Outdoor training

    Thank you for replying back to me. Our dog does have a run and he does go number 1 outside. We do not have a fenced in yard so he can not run loose. He has never been crated. We gave him his own room and puppy proofed it so he could have more room to run around. He is a very smart puppy so I think he will be easy to re-train him. I know it will take time. I thought maybe I could move the paper outside on our deck. We have a large deck with a door on it. We live in Maine so the winter's get pretty harsh here and it was just bad timing for us to try and get him to go outside. He does go on the paper though and doesn't make any messes inside the house. If you have any suggestions be happy to hear them. Thank you.

  4. #4


    Hi Gizmo,

    You have a couple possible options to change your training. One would be accepting that your dog is paper trained and leaving papers down as a back up method forever, while encouraging him to do most of his business outside. With a big dog this seems a little icky, but it's certainly your easiest option. The other option is to totally housebreak him which will take more time and may never be perfect- most paper trained dogs will still have "accidents" if someone throws some newspaper down on the floor by mistake, for example.

    If you want to do the total housebreaking, then you need to get all newspaper off the floor (and anything else that he may mistake as a substitute, like towels or other paper) and prevent all indoor potty episodes. This will mean 100% supervision anytime he is in the house, probably for 1-2 months until he is clear on the new house rules. When you can't supervise him, I would recommend using his outside run as a containment area where he can't make a mistake. Since you work, this would mean daytimes outside in the run, at least until you are sure he can hold it for a whole day. You can read more about the details in the housebreaking section of the site.

    The easier option is to leave the papers down during the day, but take your pup on a nice, long walk before you leave him alone to reduce the chances that he will potty inside. Walking stimulates pooping in dogs, so usually you can walk them until they are empty and they will not likely poop again while you are work. Keep in mind that some dogs poop two or even three times before they are empty, so know your puppy's habits and keep walking until you are sure he is done. Once you are home, I would continue to supervise him closely and take him out on regular potty breaks so he learns to go outside when you are there. You won't have to supervise as closely as the other option, though, bc you will have papers there as a back up. The goal here is just to reduce the odds that he wants to use the papers.

    Let us know which direction you go and how it's working. Good Luck!

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  5. #5

    Default Getting there

    Hello, thanks again for your suggestions. Actually, our puppy did really well over this weekend. He still will have to go inside on the paper when we are not home, but he does go outside now too. When he gets a little older and can hold it longer, I think we will be able to do away with the paper completely. My objective is to rearrange the room that he is now going on the paper in and he will no longer have that space available to him. I am just waiting for him to get a little older. I think just by us spending time with him in the mornings and evenings and then on the weekends, he will be able to be re-trained to going outdoors. Thanks

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Sunny California


    Glad to hear he's doing well and that you have a plan in place to transition him to outside as he gets older.

    Keep us updated on how he does and, of course, feel free to check back in with any questions along the way!
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