toilet training, house training puppies

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A veterinary surgeon at and founder of a licensed housing agency for expatriate rentals and sales at

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Success in toilet training 2 Spitz - one case


July 19, 2009
Hi judy,

I hope this is not too much trouble for u. I recently bot 2 japanese spitz puppies. They are with me for 3 weeks now. The first 2 weeks, i admit i make some mistakes in the house breaking training.

Now i have confined the 2 puppies separately in 2 play pen. When the puppies are inside the play pen, they usually most of the time would pee n poo on the pee tray. When i open up the play pen to let them play ard, they would pee on other places. One pee very far, so i thought he prob couldnt find his way back. The other one pee abt 20 cm away from the pee tray. Why is it that when the play pen is opened up, they forgot where they shld pee just like how well behave they are when they are confined in the play pen.

Can u give me some advice as to what i shld do? I am so close to pulling out all my hair.

Thanks n regards

Name of Owner

From: Kong Yuen Sing <>
Sent: Sunday, 19 July 2009 2:55:33
Subject: Re: Pls help me, i need advice on housebreaking my puppies.

I am Dr Sing. Thank you for your e-mail.

1. In reply, I presume you have two puppies coming out of the 2 playpens at the same time.

2. The two are then given a much bigger area to play. They forget about their pee tray.

3. Ideally, you should permit one puppy to come out to an extended area which is around 2X the area of the playpen (e.g kitchen area). Open the playpen gate and monitor the puppy. If he goes to the pee tray, praise and give food treat. If he shows signs of wanting to pee, carry him quickly to the pee tray. Be observant.

4. The other puppy should be confined and not be seen by the other puppy while you train this one.

5. Repeat paragraph 3 with the other puppy.

6. In cases where there is only one puppy, it takes 2-4 weeks of confinement inside the playpen 90% of the time before they know that they must go to the pee tray to eliminate when they are let out of the playpen into a bigger area (not the whole apartment, just the kitchen or bathroom as an example). It is not just 1 week as that was what I presumed you did.

7. Therefore, go back to the basics as mentioned in paragraph 3.

Date: Sun, Jul 19, 2009 at 8:06 AM
Subject: Re: Pls help me, i need advice on housebreaking my puppies.
To: Kong Yuen Sing <>

Dear mr sing,

Thank you very much for your prompt reply. I really really appreciate it. I will listen to your advice and do as u said. I will definitely write back once the house breaking training is successful for the 2 puppies.

A big thank you.

Name of Owner

From: Kong Yuen Sing <>
Sent: Friday, 20 November 2009 8:17:02
Subject: 2 puppies - toilet training in July 2009

Dear Ms ...

I am Dr Sing from Toa Payoh Vets. We corresponded in July 2009 regarding your 2 new puppies and their toilet training. I hope all are OK now in November. Do you mind letting me know how you got the 2 puppies toilet trained?
On Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 7:02 AM,> wrote:

Hi dr sing,

Sorry for the late reply. Yes they are toilet trained now.

Well out of desperation, we hired a trainer to come to our place n teach us how to toilet train the 2 puppies.

Basically he came to see how we set up the playpen. The big mistake we made was putting the pee tray on the outer side in the playpen. The pee tray should always be behind where they will usually walk, jump and sleep.

At first they are in the living room. We told the trainer that in future we like them to pee/poo in the kitchen area. So we moved the playpen to the kitchen. Due to the setting of my kitchen, We know that the puppies will walk along 3 sides of the playpen while the other side is the wall so they won't be there often. So we placed the pee tray leaving space for them to lie down and walk along the 3 sides. So in a way, the pee tray is behind where they move ard.

They stay in there for abt a week or 2 and of course occasionally we let them out to play. While out playing the female went back to the pee tray to do her business. So we started to let her out most of the day time and only put her inside the playpen in the nite. After a few days later, the male started doing the same. So we let the 2 out in the day and put them inside the playpen in the nite. At the same time we expand the playpen size n give them more space.

1 or 2 weeks later, we remove the playpen and let them out day and nite. They are already toilet trained. Once in a while they make mistake by pooing outside. They hardly pee wrongly though.

Now that they are 8.5 months old now. They don't make mistake anymore.

Hope this helps.


Name of Owner

Many thanks for your feedback. It will be very useful for owners with 2 puppies and for me to advise other owners with 2 puppies. There is a lot of questions asked by puppies about toilet training in my practice.

Is it possible for you to give me an estimate of the length and width of the playpen and the pee tray at that time? The standard 4 panels of fencing for a playpen is 3 feet x 2.5 feet. Was yours much bigger since you need to put 2 Spitz puppies in one playpen. Is it 6 feet x 2.5 feet? An estimate will do since it is so long ago.

Is it possible for you to email a drawing/sketch of the floor plan of the pee tray being against one side of the wall so that the pups could walk along 3 sides by drawing and then taking a pic with your handphone if you don't use camera? Do you have a picture of the floor plan of the time you toilet train them and email to me the picture? It will be much clearer as I may be interpreting incorrectly.

Thank you once again for your detailed reply. I wish you a Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year.

It is a big challenge to get 1 puppy to eliminate in the pee tray (pan). With 2 puppies, it can be very frustrating.

It seems that the location of the pee tray is important.
Locating in the front part of the play pen means that the puppies have to step over them to get out and this makes them soil their paws. Being clean by instinct, they will avoid the pee tray and so it was difficult to pee-tray train them initially.

A house-visit by a dog trainer was important as the housing plan and management was reviewed during the house visit and this resulted in success. I presume that the 2 puppies were pee-pan trained together and that the pee-pan is washed frequently. Is it a grate+pee pan? A follow up is necessary.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mat training Mini-Maltese 80% successful in 2 weeks

Toilet Training Your First Puppy in Singapore

Dec 15, 2009
Vets may be asked about toilet training of puppies and this would take a lot of time. A knowledge of the behaviour of puppies and methods used will be useful for the first-time puppy owner. Below is one example of questions asked in relation to toilet training.

Maltese, Male, 8 weeks, 1.5 kg, 38.4 deg C
Bought the puppy 2 weeks ago.
2nd vaccination
First time puppy owner.
Chinese mum with 2 daughters (14 years and 10 years). Younger daughter would go out of the consultation room as she could not bear to see injections.
Ear Powder X 1 puppy. Ear drops x 1 bottle from the Seller.
Puppy pees outside mat some 20% of the time. So, success rate is 80%.

Method of toilet training.
1. Living area walled off by furniture to give a big spacious space as the mum thinks it is cruel to confine the puppy to a small area.
2. The space is estimated to be 3X bigger than 29"X23" or 72 cm x 58cm (width of Straits Times newspapers opened).
3. Plastic mat with holes placed on top of newspapers (29" x23") with newspapers extending out of the plastic mat. She sprayed training liquid onto newspapers initially. Food and water bowls and towel bed opposite the mat, further away.
4. Puppy will use the mat 80% but has a habit of peeing outside the mat onto the portion of exposed newspapers. Why?
5. Mum said that the puppy is very intelligent as he "runs away when he is discovered not to eliminate onto the mat. He knows he has done something wrong."
6. "The mat is washed once a day in the morning after his breakfast," the mum replied to my query on the frequency of washing. "The dirtier the newspapers, the better for the puppy as he can smell it."
7. Puppy poo is wiped off with tissues. Poops 2x/day.

My advices:
1. Running away. "The puppy is frightened of being beaten when he sees 3 angry faces. So he runs away, " I said. "He cannot relate to some toilet training mistakes done some time ago."
2. Not peeing onto the mat but onto the newspapers at times. "There should be 2-3x washing of the mat per day if you want 100% success in toilet training," I said. "The puppy is clean by instinct. He just does not want to step onto the soiled mat later in the day. So he urinates on the exposed newspapers."
3. Confined area. Too spacious. The toilet area with the mat is also very spacious. So the puppy sometimes pees on the newspapers and the surrounding floor and play on the mat.

1. White vinegar:water at 1:3 onto cloth. Neutralise all urine smell for those floor areas where the puppy is not supposed to pee.
2. The mat area to be reduced by 50%. Confine to an area 36" x 24" for this week to get the puppy to use the mat 100%. Wash the mat 2x/day.
3. Confine the puppy to a smaller area of 3'x2.5' for one week using furniture to wall off a portion of the living area and apply the advices in paragraphs 1 and 2 above . There should be a 100% use of the holed mat for peeing. That should be the way if the mum does not think it is cruel to do so.
4. This holed mat is equivalent to the metallic or plastic floor grate with pee pan equipment. Only that the newspapers placed below the mat are not in a pee pan.
The disadvantage of this method is that the floor is not protected from the urine stains unlike the use of a pee pan in the grate + pee pan method. I did advise purchase of the latter but it may be too late.

Questions Asked by the busy mum:
In addition to the above questions asked, the mum asked the following:
1. Will they get toxoplasmosis from the puppy?
Answer. No. The puppy bred by the breeder does not get fed infected meat, swill or offal's in Singapore as commercial dog food is fed.

2. Why is the Mini-Maltese ears not white but a bit brownish?
Answer. Some Maltese puppies do not have 100% white coat and have fawn coloured ears.

Two slim daughters look much like their mum and would inherit her good looks and clear porcelain skin. They would blossom into heart breakers. The younger daughter, in primary school, braces in her teeth, was afraid of injections and could not bear to see her puppy vaccinated. "She still has 2 injections next year," the elder sister said. As to what they were, I do not know nor did she tell me.
Normally, the puppy does not cry when Mr Saw holds it and I vaccinate under the neck. In this case, the puppy shrieked when injected, upsetting the younger girl who was outside in the waiting area.