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Cleanliness, Housetraining, and the Puppy Litterbox

Here at ArticCross we believe that teaching young puppies how to be clean is very important. We believe it aids in having pups learn to keep their area waste-free which later helps us in crate training and house training.

There are two major components to this – the first is clean bedding and the second is a teaching puppies where to eliminate – ie a litterbox.

The bedding we use consists of multiple layers, including fleece that allows urine to wick through down to washable incontinence pads. Because it is done both in layers and sections, it allows us to remove portions of the bedding without having to remove all of it. This cuts down drastically on the amount of laundry we have.

We add a litterbox at 18 days or so. This is comprised of a low rabbit cage pan, lined with a disposable incontinence pad and then sprinkled with equine stall pellets. The pad offers good footing to young puppies and contains a scent to draw them to eliminate there. Introducing the litterbox at this age makes it, to some extent, a part of the scenery and not terribly interesting. This helps to eliminate any mouthing, digging in or intentional scattering of the pellets. The pellets break down into sawdust as they are dampened. As the pups get older we stop including the pad and just use the pellets. The pellets are biodegradable and can composted.

We spend a lot of time between weeks 3 and 4 just sitting with puppies and helping them to the litterbox if we see them start to potty elsewhere in the box. Pups, just after 2 weeks, are getting the hang of pottying on their own. Often, pups figure out that the litter box is the place to “go” after a time or two and will sometimes even line up to potty in the box. We “name” the activity by saying “Go pee now” when we see they are peeing or “Go poop now” when we see they are pooping. This later translates into teaching puppies to go on command.

When pups are sent to their new homes we include a gallon Ziploc baggie of pellets to scatter in the area new owners would like their pups to potty. If the owner so desires they can even make an outdoor “litterbox” area with small fencing and teach their puppy to go only in that area. This can be accomplished by simply keeping the puppy in that area until they eliminate (naming the activity) and then having a playtime or cookie outside the area as a reward.


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