How do I house train an 8/9 week old puppy WITH OUT use of a crate?

I’m pretty sure my dog is also Deaf… (he’s double Merle)

I’ve learned about 10 ASL signs and using them already. He’s pretty good about wanting to go on the potty pad but every once in a while slips up and pee’s on my nice area rugs. I thought about taking the rugs up until he is house broken. But I have kept my Bissel steam cleaner handy and don’t think that will really help him progress.

I just don’t want to buy a crate. Partly I just don’t feel like spending the money or driving all over town getting one cheap on Craigslist and I’m very particular about my decor. (I have Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder and design and decor is one of my obsession it hurts to think of a plastic BLEH looking thing sitting in the middle of my living room LOL.. there I was candid and honest!!!)

I’ve been taking him outside and to the pad OFTEN and clapping hands big expression giving treat after he eliminates. But there are still those slip ups. Is he just too young to really count on him 100%. It’s been decades since I’ve had a puppy.

Anyhow I don’t see any literature on potty training w/out use of a crate. Any suggestions?

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9 Responses to “How do I house train an 8/9 week old puppy WITH OUT use of a crate?”

  1. wishnuwelltoo says:

    Well crates are metal, and maybe you could drape a pretty blanket or something over it, but the point of the crate is so the puppy can see you and be reassured you have not abandoned him. I think a child gate would distress you more, You know you only need the crate until it is potty trained. I think the pee pads and outside methods are confusing, pick a method and stick to it. I guess if you have issues with plastic, a laundry basket wouldn’t work. They used huge cardboard boxes in the olden days, but the puppy can’t see you and it is distressful. I wonder if you would be o.k. with an x-pen. You don’t mention the breed, so it is hard to guess what would work. Limit the space he has in the house, don’t allow full run of the house, it is overwhelming for a puppy. One room at a time, supervised, when he can behave in that room, he can graduate to more space. I used sign language with one of my dogs, with his daughter I just used thumbs up for good things and I shook my finger like a scold for things I didn’t want her to do. There are sites like and I would still use the bell method, he doesn’t have to hear the bell, just know that if he moves it you will let him out to potty. I use a crate* to potty train with, but only for potty training and then I break it down and store it. I put blankets and a small food and water dish in the crate. Dogs don’t potty where they eat and sleep. When they are first little, I only expect them to hold their potty for 4 hours, and then 6 hours, then 8 hours and so on. So when they are first little, I set a timer or alarm clock to wake myself up at night to take them *out. I only allow my puppy in the bedroom* or the living room, only one room at a time. They have to graduate to more space. If I allow them to have full run of the house, it will overwhelm them. I take them out the same door each time. I tie a dinner bell to the door handle. Do not use a jingle bell as they could get their toe caught in it. So when they are little, I ring the bell for them, and then open the door to go *outside to potty. When they get bigger, I take their paw and whack the bell and open the door to go potty. Eventually getting to the place where the puppy will ring the bell and let me know when they need to go potty. Dogs want to please you, so it is your job to let them know what behaviors please you and what doesn’t. So when my puppy goes potty, I give her a treat*, and clap, and make a fuss and praise her. So she learns that going potty outside makes me happy. If she has an accident, make a disgust sound like “tsst” and take her out right away. I never yell* or spank* my puppies. Take them out when they first wake up, after they eat or drink, before nap, finish romping, when their activities change, or when they are sniffing around. Some puppies go pee right away, but may not go poop until 10 minutes later, so wait for the poop. I have a little play time here, because sometimes I think they are done, and they are not. Puppies train at their own pace. While I may have a puppy that hasn’t had an accident in several weeks, I don’t let my guard down. I don’t expect my puppies to be "fully potty trained" until one-year-old. If they have a setback, shake it off, and start over. I only have my puppies in the crate when I am not watching them. When I am sleeping, cooking, ironing, doing chores, basically when I am not watching her. All other times, she is out of the crate practicing being a "big girl." This is the time I train her how to behave in the house. So we are practicing "no barking", ‘no biting", "no jumping", and "don’t eat the furniture." I also have to practice "playing inside" so she doesn’t knock over things. You must keep the puppy in sight when they are little because they don’t know the difference between newspaper and carpet, and you don’t want them sneaking off and getting into trouble. Some puppies can sleep through the night around 3-months-old, but their bladder is grown around 6-months-old.

    *I use a CRATE to train with. It is the method I prefer, compared to other methods I have tried. I noticed that if they are in the crate, while I am doing chores, they are o.k., because the crate allows them to see me and be re-assured. The crate can also be a comfort when stored in the basement for dogs who live in areas where thunderstorms and tornados are an issue. . However, use the method that works best for you…..a laundry basket, a cardboard box, a woof-woof house, x-pen, child gates, whatever works for you.
    *OUTSIDE, pee pad, litter box, whichever method you are using. When the puppy is first little, keep the pee pad, litter box near the food and water dish, so the puppy can eat and drink, and then go potty. You can move it away as they get older. The pee pad has a scent that smells and initiates potty. Sometimes a pee pad makes a sound that scares some puppies, so you might want to use a litter box if that happens. The pee pad allows a puppy to walk around, but a litter box keeps the puppy in one place.
    *BEDROOMS, I use the bedroom and living room for training, because it works for me. Choose rooms that work for you, but watch for rooms that are damp, or drafty. While my puppies sleep in the bedroom during training, once they are trained, I let them sleep where they want to. They don’t have to sleep in the bedroom forever.
    *TREATS. While I use treats for training, you don’t have to. I like Charlee Bears for training (a little cracker for a little mouth,) I use them for training, but once they are trained, I cut back on them.
    *SOME PUPPIES will go potty in the same spot each time. Some puppies have to be told to go potty. A command like "go out" for pee, or "go finish" for poop, might work for you, keep saying “go finish” until the puppy poops. This is a good thing to train if you travel with your dogs. By using commands, the puppy won’t get confused when you are visiting someone, on vacation with you, or when you get to a new home. The command will tell them what you want them to do in an unfamiliar place. You might also want to use a leash method, so the puppy doesn’t sneak off, or for strange places.
    *YELLING. It is not a good idea to "yell" or "spank" your puppy and then take them outside when they have an accident. They may get confused and think that going outside is punishment. While you want to correct them, if you are extreme, they may not want to go outside again. Shake it off, and resume your schedule. You have to keep it real. Puppies train at their own pace, but a puppy can only hold their potty for a few hours. A guide would be 1 hour for each month of age, plus 1 hour, so a three-month-old puppy should only be expected to hold their potty for 4 hours at most.
    SOURCE: These tips, tricks, and ideas were contributed from many brilliant minds. Thanks for your help!

  2. says:

    honey you are on the right track just remember the pup is young go to the pet store and buy this stuff that u spray on the wee wee pad and it stinks but it works and just keep rewarding him when he does a good job and look him in the eyes and tell him he is a bad boy and ignore him for a little while not long because there attention span is very short good luck i have four little house dogs and we have worked out most all these issues let me know how it goes

  3. Mary says:

    Well, you’ve got to contain the dog some way. It’s just part of house training that when you can’t watch him, he’s somewhere where peeing won’t matter. Your only other options for him, besides a crate, are an exercise pen or a small room with no decor for him to mess up.

    I would do the crate. Remember, they can come in pretty colors like blue, green, white, or purple. Although it is true that they mostly come in gray. You could drape a decorative quilt or throw over the crate, which is super cute and creates a den like atmosphere for the dog! Bonus!

    Don’t use both the pad and outside. ‘Cause eventually you’ll just use outside and then he’ll get all confused with the pad gone and he can’t pee in the same spot anymore. If you keep using the pad, move it around every day so he has to go look for it. That way, he’s not learning to pee in just one place in your house.

    At this age, I’d only trust him for two hours at the most to hold it. He needs to go out a lot. When he goes outside, scratch him on the neck or his favorite spot, look pleased, give him a treat, and talk to him! Yes, I know he’s deaf, but talking happily will give your face a more pleasant expression and he’ll get the message more easily.

    Good luck!

  4. RueChan says:

    Well in mu opinion a crate is actually a great idea, but i doesn’t have to stick out like a sore thumb in your house, you can place it in a corner or in a room guests usually wont be in, you can get a wire crate in almost any color now a days, and you can also get or make a crate cover that matches your homes theme so it can "blend" in more. Because personally i find crates very helpful, if i have someone coming over for a quick visit or i’m leaving the house for a few hours and dont want them tearing up everything, because some of my dogs will cause major problems and dont get along with some of my other dogs and not very many people, mostly because they are rescue dogs they all have quirks lol. but here are some cool crate covers you might find fitting to your house,

    of course they are pretty pricey, it would be easier to just go down to your local fabric store and make one yourself, (no sewing needed)

    here’s a great place for crates:

  5. Ashley says:

    To a puppy your nice area rugs and potty pads are the same thing.

    Wire crates look nicer then plastic ones. Put some cardboard on top and a nice towel or something then you have a side table.

    If you have such bad "OCD" then why would you get a very young puppy that is going to potty all over and probably chew on your fancy decor?

  6. Very General says:

    What about buying an exercise pen, or confining him to a room when not supervised?

    Another option would be to attach or umbilical cord a leash to yourself. OR attach some sort of hook right next to the floor where you can attach a leash.

    Found a link – but you’ll have to scroll down until you get to the alternative methods:

  7. Megan G says:

    I would reconsider not having a crate, not just for the ease of potty training, but also when you leave the house, puppies, who don’t know any better, can do lots of damage to your house, not to mention himself. You could buy a baby gate and maybe keep him in the kitchen, or other safe room without wires or other things he could get hurt on.

  8. Drolkrad says:

    Great that you’ve learned some A.S.L. you can take a course in asl online free.
    I’ve trained 2 deaf dogs it takes about twice as long as usual.
    Try this site and buy the book, well worth it.

  9. TK says:

    It’s rather like having a human baby but not wanting to put it in a crib. It is do-able but your entire life will revolve around monitoring. Puppies should be confined when not being directly supervised. Can you puppy-proof a small room and use a baby gate? It won’t be as easy as having an exercise pen or crate near the central part of the home, but it could suffice.

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