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Toilet training - for the new age....and when it goes wrong.

Sometimes toilet training doesn't seem to happen. Dachshunds have a bad rep, but usually its something we've done (or not done) that's created some confusion.

I would always start with the basics......there's loads of step by step guides out there, here's one I wrote which includes tips that aren't in other guides: I'm sure you've all read similar, so I did it separately so if you are struggling you aren't reading the same old advice, especially as since covid, our world has changed dramatically.

In addition to the basics, I would also add:

  • Go out with them, putting them outside behind a closed door, or without you being there (especially in those early days, or if they have separation issues) is more likely to create a negative experience and not encourage the things they need to do before they go….i.e. sniff and circle.

  • Even if it is raining!  Put on your coat and go out, walk around with them.  Here’s a video I did ages ago where I’m out in my Pj’s, coat and boots  in sideways rain with my dogs talking through getting them over the rain issues:


But lets say you’ve done all that to the best of your ability and you’re still having issues. 

First the more obvious things that most people will say to you when you ask for help:

1.         Use urine neutralizer like this:  The reviews on this product look pretty good, but do look at the comments and directions.

2.        If there is a toileting hotspot, try putting their bed in that area, and feed them there.  Generally dogs won’t want to toilet where they sleep and eat.  They learn this from their mother very early on if they are given the opportunity to move away.

3.        You may find the carpet or flooring has absorbed the smell, even if you can’t smell it.  Unfortunately you may need to replace this area.  You could try putting some furniture in the way to prevent it.

4.        I don’t care who says it, do NOT remove their water at night.  If the urine becomes too concentrated the bladder will essentially “spit” it out making them more likely to pee unpredictably.  IF they are waking at night specifically for a drink, they obviously need one.  Look at their diet and drinking during the day.  Like humans, if we wake in the night because we are thirsty there is usually a reason.  I’d be quite stressed if I couldn’t drink if I needed to. Withdrawing access to water could create other issues. Its one thing for journeys in the car, but a whole other thing for hours at a time.

5.        Bellybands (for boys– I’m not a fan to be honest.  But they can help if you are worried they may mark at a friends home. Here’s a blog I wrote on them:  These are the ones I used with IVDD warrior Fudge:  I liked them as they were water resistant on the outside too.


What about toilet training for the new age?

I have noticed a lot of the people struggling with toilet training tend to be those who are working from home.  I had a really good think about why they might be so different, especially as they are at home with the dogs.  This is what I’ve come up with:

1.        As you are at home you may leave the door open (when its not freezing) meaning the dogs don’t learn to hold it for longer periods.  Its still really important to close the door to help train their bladders.

2.        Its very easy to sit on the sofa doing your admin with the daxies next to you, and then a work call comes in and you are so absorbed in the work you forget to let them out. Make sure you create a new routine for toileting.  When you were going out to work you’d probably walk them before work, feed them and then let them out before you left.  Do you do the same now?  Try to get into a routine regardless of whether you are working from the sofa or an office in the house to walk them and then let them out to the toilet, just as you would before you started working from home,

3.        Number 2 applies even if you are not working from home, but perhaps work awkward shifts or like me, might be studying.  Its very easy to forget as they’re fast asleep on the sofa.  Its habit to let them straight out after you’ve been out.  But if you’ve been absent/distracted for a while, make sure you let them out.

4.        If you’re like me and go into a bit of a focus on work ‘stuff’, pop several reminders in your phone to let them out.  When you are focused you are unlikely to notice them get up for a drink and start sniffing, or even miss them going to the door.  If they do this and they don’t get a response, they will stop asking as their attempts are ignored.

5.        After deliveries, or visitors or any period of activity take them out.

6. A toileting routine does help, massively. But, do bear in mind changes to the routine can cause problems, so try to replicate their normal routine if you go away. Humans are the same.....most people will toilet at the same times of day. This usually surrounds eating behaviours and opportunity. Dogs are no different, except they don't know when the routine may change and won't "go just in case!"

I'd love to hear whether you've found other things that influenced their toileting habits. Please feel free to comment and share what you've noticed in recent years.

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