Potty Training

We just had a serious accomplishment this morning, so I decided it must be blogged about!  🙂

Sadie rang the potty bells, I took her outside and she went poop!  I know, it’s a bit TMI, but I’m so proud of her {for ringing the bells}!

Sadie has only had a few accidents in our home and most of those were our fault.

Here are the things we have done that have been very successful with Sadie:

We take Sadie out to potty right after she eats a meal, wakes up from a nap and during/after a big indoor play session.  These activities seem to leave her needing to go, regardless of the last time she went potty.  This means that sometimes she goes out twice in a 60 minute time period.  I know at 10 weeks old, she should be able to hold her bladder for 3+ hours, but that is in a resting state, not during vigorous play.

When Sadie is playing, we watch her carefully for the ‘sniffing’ signal that means I’m about to pee.  I interrupt her (sometimes that means I physically pick her up) and tell her we are going potty.  After potty breaks, she can resume play.

I try to be proactive with the potty breaks.  I am taking her outside A LOT.  The idea is to teach her she can only potty outside.  After a few days of these excessive outside trips, Sadie seemed to understand and would walk to the door when she needed to go outside.  Any accidents she had were because we didn’t see the signals.  Enter: Poochie Bells.  I saw these in a magazine and of course, googled them!  🙂

So far, I love them.

For the first few days, I would take her paw and hit the bells and say ‘ring the bells to go potty’ and I’d take her potty.  Then I introduced the magic weapon – treats!  🙂

I held a small treat up over the bells and told her to ring them to go potty. (I made sure to do this when she did have to go potty.) When she rang the bells, I gave her the one-bite treat and opened the door.

Down the stairs and potty we went.

Then we went right back inside and I gave her another treat and tons of praise.

Of course, she re-rang the bells to get another treat.  No immediate treat, but I opened the door and we went back outside.  I knew she wouldn’t potty, but I told her to.  She started to “play”.  So, I picked her up and brought her back inside.  No treat.  She rang the bells a few more times and I stopped what I was doing and took her out and right back in.  The third time, she did actually potty, so I gave her a treat as soon as we were back inside.  I want to associate the bells with potty only.  Once she learned to ring the bells, I stopped treating the ringing and only treat the potty.  I learned, it is best to keep some treats right by the door for a fast, easy reward.

I have only been using the potty bells for a few days and I know we will still need a lot of practice.  I’m hopeful that in a few days we will hear the results of this training!

I am using a different door to take her outside to play.  I’m not sure this is important, but we have two doors very close to each other, that both lead to the backyard, so it’s not inconvenient.  I don’t want her to hear bells ringing unless we go potty.  I do hang the bells on the door, so they ring when the door opens & closes.  You could hang them on a hook next to your door.

I’ll let you know how this progresses.



Sleepy Saturday

Sadie loves to spend time with Dad.

Sadie and I lounged around most of the day.  She had little bouts of play, but nothing outside.  It was cold and rainy.  Better snuggle weather than play.

Sadie’s big project was trying to jump up onto the couch by herself.  She even tried a running start, but she just can’t quite make it up.  Of course, we give her a boost, she is allowed on the furniture.  Frankly, I don’t think it even occurred to her that she wouldn’t be allowed.  She immediately tried to gain access to the couch when she first came home.  🙂

As we napped on the couch, I considered that maybe I was over exercising her.  She seemed perfectly happy to be a couch potato today.  She proved me wrong around 6pm.  She woke up and had dinner and was full of energy to burn.  I took her outside and she ran circles around the back yard.  We came into the house and she terrorized her toys for 2 hours.  I took her back outside twice during that period and she did even more sprinting.  Lesson learned… she likes and needs all the outdoor play I have been providing her.  It is currently 8:20 pm and she is zonked out on the couch.  Energy expelled.  Whew.

I feed Sadie her food off of a glass pie dish.  I like using this because it is easier for a puppy to eat off of a low dish, but the sides keep the food in while she pushes it around.  We used a cookie sheet for Daisy, but it was so big, she ended up standing on the sheet and getting food in her paws.

I know potty training is a little early until puppies are about 12 weeks old, but since Sadie knows she is supposed to go outside to potty, I decided to start the training now.  I want to teach her to ring these bells when she needs to go outside. They hang on the door handle and I have her hit them with her nose or paw each time we go out to potty.

Home Is Where the Dog Is

If it takes until she is 12 weeks old (or longer) to really sink in, no harm done.  But, there have been a few times she has tried to tell us she wants to go out, but we missed the signals.  She doesn’t whine, cry or bark.  She moves from one door to another to get let out.  It’s much easier to hear bells!  I will not ring the bells when we go out to play… potty only.  I am going to try to be very consistent.  I’ll let you know how it goes.


Living with a special needs pooch

Can I have some?

I knew something was wrong after watching a TV show about ‘signs’ of illness in your dog.

The sign was too much/too little water consumption.  The TV personality gave some figures about your dog’s weight, activity levels, outdoor temperatures and quantity of water consumed.  That stopped me in my tracks.  Daisy was drinking 10 times the quantity she was “supposed” to consume.  I called her vet and made an appointment for the next day.  I tracked Daisy’s water consumption for the rest of that day.  I also had the pleasure to collecting a urine sample the next morning.

Tip:  Get a disposable metal or plastic pie dish.  Once your puppy starts to pee, slide the dish under her and collect the sample.  Help her move forward, away from the dish, when she finishes.  Pour the pee into the collection container (while you are still outside) and throw the dish away.    🙂

Here is a link containing some helpful information about how much water a pooch needs.


The vet tested Daisy’s urine and said the specific gravity levels indicated kidney problems.  The vet did an ultrasound on Daisy and verified congenital kidney disease.  (The vet also noted that her heart looked slightly enlarged, but nothing to be concerned with.  I completely forgot about this statement until November, 2009.)  The vet explained that Daisy was excessively drinking water to flush out the toxins from her body.  She was doing what her kidneys could not.    The vet felt Daisy would live a long, health life.  Daisy’s blood tests were all normal.  We believed she would continue to be a health dog.

We were told to give her all the water she wanted, to provide frequent potty breaks and to keep her on a lower protein diet.  NO table scraps!

I love fruits & veggies!

The only “down-side” to her condition was, while she slept, she sometimes would not be able to control her bladder.  She would often pee in her sleep.  Annoying, but something she could not control.

I got tired of washing her bedding every morning.  Daisy’s tail was docked, so I decided to try extra large diapers on her at night.  It works for kids, why not dogs?!

It worked great!  Over the years, Daisy’s bladder got better.  She would go days with a dry diaper and I started to feel bad about all the diapers I was adding to the landfill.  Since it was only pee, I decided to try cloth diapers.  Loved them!  I had 2 so one could be in the hamper while she had one available for that night.

While we were at work, Daisy was kept in a small area in our basement.  It was large enough for her crate, a small play area with her extra large water dish and her dog litter box.  That’s right, I said litter box.  We trained her on the box when she was a puppy and it was the best thing we did!  It had recycled newspaper pellets instead of traditional cat litter (safer for puppies).  She used it throughout the day and I’d clean it when I got home from work.  Great peace of mind!

Eventually she had access to the entire house while we were gone and she would always go to the basement to use her box.  We even traveled with it on vacations!

Here are the items we used to make our life easier and Daisy’s life comfortable & normal.


Daisy went on to live 6 wonderful, happy, mostly healthy years!!

Loving life!

Then the other shoe dropped.