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#DogDecoding | Potty Training Littermate Puppies

Decoding Your Dog

Decoding Your Dog: The Ultimate Experts Explain Common Dog Behaviors and Reveal How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones
“I just took her outside, she was out there playing for 20 minute…”

This is a common phrase stated by my boyfriend.  I hear it daily, sometimes a couple times a day, and there’s nothing I can do to get him to understand that it’s a process, it takes time, and our littermate puppies will get there.  To be honest, we both kind of forgot what it’s like.

Potty training littermate puppies isn’t really any different from potty training one puppy, except for the obvious –  when you clean up one accident, the other one is in the process of going potty on the opposite side of the room.  So we went back to the basics when we brought Zoey and Scout home.

Our Potty Training Routine

When you read books on raising puppies, most will say the same thing and Decoding Your Dog isn’t any different and this works!  We take Zoey and Scout outside to potty when…

  • They wake up from a nap or in the morning.
  • After they eat and then 15-20 minutes later.
  • After they have a play session.
  • After they have a bought of excitement, like one of us comes home or they get a treat.
Puppy Play Pen, Potty Pad

But we’re not ready to take a nap.

Dogs Don’t Think Like Humans

But Decoding Your Dog takes it one step further and reminds us of a few things and I believe every new puppy owner needs to understand…

  • Accidents don’t happen because our dogs are lazy or mad at us.
  • Accidents are our (the humans) fault – we waited too long, we expect too much, we haven’t established a routine.
  • Puppies and dogs don’t associate our unhappiness with the accident when we discover the potty pool after it’s happened.
  • We need to celebrate and praise the wins – using the potty pad, walking towards the door, ringing the potty alarm (whining as they walk to the door).
  • Rubbing our dogs’ noses in an accident isn’t an effective way to potty train them – I so appreciate that there is a significant section about this misconception.

Our puppies will be 3 months old on January 31st and I’m pretty proud of them.  Yes, we still have accidents, but they happen when our puppies aren’t taken out quickly enough OR when we forget to take them outside after they get super excited.

Decoding Your Dog is a much anticipated book in the dog lover world, when I announced on Facebook that it was being launched and we’d receive a free copy through the BlogPaws Network, I was excited to see so many comments by people who were eagerly awaiting their copy.  The book seeks to define common dog behaviors and is a great reminder that our dogs are dogs – not tiny humans with soft coat.

The book covers things such as…

  • how to speak dog
  • how to curb unwanted behaviors
  • separation anxiety
  • giving our dogs a job
  • dog aggression

I’m the type of person who wants to jump around a book like this, so I hit potty training first and will heading over to learn how to speak dog next.  Although we have a lot of experience with reading and communicating with your dogs, it’s always cool to get another take on the whys of their behavior.

  • why Rodrigo jumps and lunges at cyclists – is it his herding tendencies? is it aggression?
  • why is Zoey so submissive and how can we build her confidence?
  • why is Sydney always in my shadow?
  • why were our girls harder to potty train than our boys?

Back to the potty training, I’m excited to share that after sharing what I learned in Decoding Your Dog with J, he and I were able to make slight adjustments to our potty training, making sure to celebrate each win and remain silent with each mistake.  As a result, the puppies walk to the door (or to us) when they need to go potty and and we’re getting better at recognizing the “I need to go potty” signals they give us.

What’s something about your dog that you’d like some insight on?


  1. Sounds like a great book, I’m going to check it out. We never had many potty training issues with Cody and Nikki, but Nikki is a counter surfer and I would like to stop that behavior. Cody is sweet to humans, but aggressive to other dogs, so that’s something we could work on. Thanks for the info, and those puppies are so cute and getting so big!!!

    • Rodrigo is a counter surfer too. The second he could start doing it, he didn’t stop. He just wants to see what’s going on, but we’re still working on it.

  2. I have 5 month old Yorkie brother and sister. I would like to understand why when I give them each their own exactly the same treat or toy that Gertie only wants what Gus has and won’t eat or play with her own. He is of course possessive of his and she stands there and incessantly barks at him to no avail. Neither one gets to enjoy what I’ve given them and the barking is troublesome.

    • I know what you mean, Carol.

      Are you in puppy classes? We went to our first one and got some great tips from our trainer. Our puppies do the same thing and it seems to be a game with them. I thought that Zoey was upset, but it’s part of their back and forth and how they determine who’s going to be the leader, so I make sure they have plenty of toy options. If Scout steals a toy, Zoey either takes it back or gets a new one. We think the puppy class is going to give them both some great confidence. We’re also going to take them to puppy play sessions at our local PetSmart which will help with socialization too.

      We didn’t do this with Rodrigo and Sydney and they were able to work it out (with our help). We dealt with Rodrigo’s barking with timeouts. He was older, though (like over a year) when the barking became a problem.

      Best of luck!!!

  3. Our shepherds were pretty easy to house train, but are very different in letting us know when they want to go out. Isis used to chirp at the back door. Unfortunately, she did this whenever she wanted fresh air or attention, not just when she had to go. Leo never learned this technique and I inadvertently taught him to pull papers off a table in the living room whenever he wants to go out. I’d be watching TV, and he’d do that to get my attention. I’d think, “Oh, he’s been cooped up too long and let him out.” Sometimes he wanders over to the back door, but doesn’t say anything, which does no good if I’m not paying attention. I tried getting “Poochie bells,” which you hang on the door for the dogs to ring when they want out. Our dogs kept knocking those down. This morning, Leo actually came up to me when he wanted to go out, and I was quite proud of myself for realizing that’s what he was asking me.

    • Isn’t it a thrill when you understand your dog? Love it!

  4. Yay for potty training wins! Every dog gives a different signal…when Nala was a puppy she would signal, but we didn’t recognize it…it took us a while :). Tristan is still an off and on “marker”…not a good thing…and he does a lot of other things so well. He is really needy, so I wonder if that has anything to do with it?

    • I considered getting bells, but I have a feeling we’d hear bells all day long with our dogs. LOL

      • I’m with you on the bells! I thought about it before, but Biddy is really a diva and can be very demanding and persistent…as soon as she figured out the bell system she would be ringing that thing every five seconds and then barking if I didn’t do something for her! She is vocal and gets excited really easily …I finally got her trained not to bark at me when I am getting the food ready lol

  5. I thought this book was so insightful to the way that dogs think. I was sitting there like “Ohhh! That’s why she does that…” there were a lot of eye openers for me in it. Your puppies are still young and it sounds like they will be potty trained in no time!

  6. I keep telling myself I am going to order this book…then I get distracted and forget! I can’t wait to read it.

    The other day Wynston had an accident in the house, and it was diarrhea. I felt so badly because he tried to make it outside but the back door was closed so he just went on the floor. Luckily, it was on the tile so no big deal! But it was totally my fault because the door was not opened and he tried to go outside. I felt so horribly guilty!

    • I’ve so been there. I try to pay attention when our puppies need to go out. But if I fail, there’s a potty pad that they are kind enough to use. We really need to stop using those, but not yet. I’m not ready.

  7. I started training my pug on 2nd day.. After 6 months, he comes to any of the family member and starts sniffing like he has found something.. This is the sign for pugs when they need to go for potty.. We immediately take him out for poop.. We do not introduce him to crate yet.. I really don’t feel to introduce him to crate anymore..

    He is so intelligent and its really so much fun when he is in a playful mood.

    • I so agree. The crate isn’t for everyone. Our dogs aren’t crate trained. We have crates but we never use them.

  8. I like books that go beyond the basics. The basics are awesome for first-time dog owners, but for those of us who have had dogs before it sounds like this book is perfect.

    I’m curious if it’s been tough to potty train two puppies at once? Or not really? For example, do they distract each other if they head outside to go potty at the same time? I’m still so jealous that you have not one but TWO puppies!

    • There are only two tough things about potty training littermates – (1) you have to dogs going in different directions and you can lose track easily and (2) one always learns faster than the other. For us, the boys from each of our littermate sets learned first.


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