Potty Training Problem...

luxury girl

Mar 2, 2007
Houston, TX
I've had many dogs throughout my life and potty training wasn't ever a problem. But recently I moved out and got a puppy with my boyfriend. She's a 5 month old miniature schnauzer and we've had her for about a month and a half now. Since we got her we've had her in a 4ftx4ft pen and we keep her in there unless she's playing with us or eating or when we take her out to potty. We used to put a peepee pad in her pen but she keeps tearing it up and just pees on the floor. We have carpet so I got sick of having to clean it so after shampooing it with an enzyme and carpet cleaner... we not lay down plastic. I understand her urge to chew and we've got her chew toys but it's like she gets bored of it or just prefers to chew up her pee pad?

Now here's the big issue I have... when we take her out to use the bathroom she will sniff around forever! We'll be out there for 45 minutes and she'll just wander around and just get us fustrated. So.. we just assume maybe she's not ready to go yet so we take her back to her pen and AS SOON AS SHE STEPS IN she'll wait for us to turn our back and she pees!

I've been reading up on potty training and have tried lots of different things. Putting some of her pee on the pad so she'll know that's where to go. Nope.. she just tears it up again. Picking up her poop and putting it outside in the grass after she makes an accident inside and taking her out there... Nope, still doesn't fix the problem. My boyfriend is an avid ceasar milan watcher but even he's getting inpatient with our puppy :[

Any advice?

I don't get it, what am I doing wrong?


Apr 22, 2008
Los Angeles - ish, CA.
I only have experience potty training my onw dog but I think I was watching either "dog Whisperer" or "It's me or the dog" and one of them said that when you take your dog outside to potty - set a time limit. So, if by five minutes, she's not sniffing around about to go, take her back inside for a few minutes and then go back out. Otherwise she'll think it's merely exploration time and not potty time.

Also, if she goes the second you put her in her pen, maybe put her in there and watch her vigilantly. A few minutes later you can probably take her outside again since being in her pen may make her want to go, she might have to go badly enough to just do it outside if taken there.

Finally, maybe you should crate train her. a 4 x 4 play pen maybe too much space for her right now so she can have her sleep corner and her bathroom corner.

Someone with more experience might be able to provide better suggestions but I hope I helped a bit.


Mar 28, 2008
Have you tried a pee pad holder?
If she is still small enough, try using a childrens pack and play. Or make her x-pen area smaller.


Jun 4, 2006
It doesn't sound like a potty training problem to me. How many hours per day does he have to stay in that crate? He might be simply trying to stay out as long as possible. He seems to be bored. How to you exercise him? Do you do any mental training with him? Maybe your dog would like agilty training.

If you take your dog outside right after every meal, drink, play time, and nap, it should be housetrained very soon.


Aug 22, 2006
Actually I suggest a crate that is just the right size for the pup to stand up, circle around, and lay down. They don't like to pee or poop and then have to be laying in it. If the crate or pen is too big, they can just walk away from where they sleep and do it.

If she does not pee or poop right away, like PP said, set a limit. If nothing happens, put her in the small crate/pen. 20 minutes later, try again. If she is a normal dog mentally, she will not do her business in the crate.. Finally she will get the idea, that going outside beats having to hold it. Praise profusely when she does correctly (but I think you already know that)

Right now, I think she thinks the pen "is" the place she is supposed to go, because she has the room to do it and has been doing it there.

Just my thoughts...

As a PP said, I don't know how long she is confined (if you work away from home, but a general rule is take their age in months plus one = number of hours they should be able to hold it. (of course this calculation is only for the young, housetraining period)

I have had frustrations, too, alog the way, but the crate-training has always worked the best.
I am crazy - I have had a new puppy in the house every year from 1996- 2007. Ahhhh, finally am taking a break, eceryone is housebroken!


Building a rainbow
Hi luxury! Congrats on the new place and the new puppy!

Sounds like you're on the right track. Just a few tweaks should get you going. Keep in mind that (1) your puppy is a terrier -- he's predisposed to chewing, sniffing and he's got a mischievous streak and (2) potty training can take up to a year to perfect.

My immediate suggestion is to crate him. This is different than offering him a pen, no matter how confining. Dogs take naturally to keeping their den clean, which the crate simulates. This predisposition is a wonderful aid in potty training.

With crate training, which you can find lots of info on online, it's of utmost importance to (1) be very, very, very consistent and (2) have a strict timetable for meals and potty breaks. Your puppy must NOT be allowed to be outside of his crate until after he has eliminated. Even then, he should be watched like a hawk, and his play time should not exceed 15 to 20 minutes at a time. I've trained 4 dogs this way and it is so very hard to follow a strict schedule and strict confinement since they were all so cute, but it has paid off immensely. My current puppy, the one whom I was experienced enough to be most strict with when it came to crate training, took to her potty training in under a week, and has not had an accident since.

It's also good to keep in mind that your puppy should not have run of the apt/house. As he gets more reliable with his potty training, his space is increased incrementally.

Many ppl use weewee pads as the potty-training purgatory. I don't find this necessary. If you have no intentions of using weewee pads in the long run, AND can arrange to take your puppy out on a frequent schedule during his 1st year, I would suggest going straight for full potty training.

If however, you do intend to use weewee pads for a while due to your schedule, you may want to consider changing it to whatever your puppy is more used to. Ask the puppy's breeder what they used for an elimination area. More than likely, it was newspaper. This is what your puppy will associate more with potty. You can purchase a weewee pad holder, which is like a board and clamps the sides of the pad down so that the puppy can't just pick it up and tear it to pieces. It might aid your potty training to cover the weewee pad in this board with a sheet of newspaper until your puppy gets used to the idea of eliminating on the board. It helps immensely to keep the board in one place.

Don't forget profuse praise and treats when he eliminates in the desired area!!

Hope all this information helps. Good luck!


♥Another Semester♥
Jun 21, 2008
Somewhere in the world♥♥
aww congrats on your miniature schnauzer... i have two...
my male dog was almost potty trained when he came to us but the female wasnt.
First, we used pee pad and stuff but she missed and always had to clean up the carpet. We also got the frame but it didnt help. (she pees on the corner and i have to wash the frame)

Maybe shes not used to the surrounding and shes still exploring the new environment.
You might want to use pee pad until she gets used to new environment.

My bf potty trained the female dog around 4 month. He would frequently bring her to pee because shes still a puppy. Probably once every two to three hours and after the nap. First, it was very headache bringing them but now they are completely potty trained.

I think potty trained outside is so much better for your house and for your doggies. Also petsmart has potty training course for 15 dollars. You might want to try that and get professional opinion about your dogs potty training.


Sylvie Guillem fan
May 10, 2006
I train lots of dogs. You are doing nothing wrong.

I suggest that you hire a dog trainer to isolate, solve, and give you instructions on how to train your dog.

Best of luck to you!