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How to Litter Train a Puppy: A Lazy Way to Ease Culture Shock

Posted in: Expat Hacks, Our Perspective

litter train a dog - the gearWhen we moved to Ecuador our daughter was lonely because she didn’t have any friends, and she was frustrated because of having to get used to a new language.  She really wanted a puppy, and we felt it was important to get her one for companionship.

One of the biggest problems that came to my mind was my lazy attitude toward taking the dog out multiple times each day to “go”.  We were living in an apartment, so there was more involved than simply opening the door and letting the dog out to do its business.  So I decided to litter train the dog.

I didn’t even know it was possible to litter train a dog, until I was doing research on dog breeds that do well in apartments.  So I decided to give it a try and now, two years later we have a dog that never has to go out to “go”. She just does her thing in the litter box and I scoop it out once a day, no mess around the house or yard, everyone is happy and my lazy attitude remains intact.

litter train a dogThis is what I needed:

  • A crate (for the puppy to sleep in)
  • A large litter box (I use a plastic under the bed storage container)
  • Newspaper (to start, then I switched to cat litter)
  • A lot of patience and a large portion of stubborn piled on the side

This is how I did it:

  1. Lined the crate with newspaper, and put the puppy in it to sleep
  2. Lined the litter box with newspaper
  3. First thing in the morning took some soiled newspaper out of the crate and rubbed the urine on the paper in the litter box so the puppy got the scent of where to “go”
  4. Took the puppy out of the crate and put it in the litter box, didn’t let it out till it “went,” used a command “go now” so the dog associated the command with “going”
  5. After the pup ate, repeated step 4, after the pup played a lot repeated step 4, after the pup drank a lot repeated step 4, after the pup took a nap repeated step 4, when I saw the pup sniffing and circling the floor repeated step 4, when I saw the pup looking sideways at me repeated step 4 (just kidding, but that’s how I felt)
  6. Had patience and was stoic in my stubbornness because the pup kept trying to jump out of the litter box, I had to keep putting it back, or blocking escape attempts, and I had to keep repeating  the command to “go now”.
  7. Was prepared for accidents, I forgot when to put the pup in the box and the pup had accidents.  It helped to reprimand the pup (with a stern “NO”) and take some of the accident to rub on the paper in the litter box, then put the pup in the litter box and repeat the command. Even if the pup didn’t go again this helped reinforce the association

After the pup was trained I tried switching to cat litter.  Our pup tried to eat the litter, so I had to keep using newspaper and testing with the litter until she was old enough to train not to eat it.

litter train a dogI’m glad I stuck to it and trained the pup because now I enjoy not having to leash the dog, unlock all the doors, and stand around outside waiting.  I’m happy to say that I don’t miss the feeling of embarrassment while my neighbors watch my dog “going” and then watch me scooping.  It’s also nice to have the peace of mind that I don’t have to rush home just to let the dog out to “go”.  There are a lot of dogs roaming the streets here (mostly pets that are just allowed to run) so litter training works well to keep our dog home and safe.

If you have any tips about traveling or making living abroad easier with a pet, please share by commenting on this post.

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Meet the Author

Dena Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. She is a travel blogger and content marketer. She is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Travel.

2 comments… add one
  • AJ Jun 22, 2011, 1:29 am

    I am revisiting Cuenca next week and will be around for 5 weeks. I found your blog very entertaining and informational even though I am not moving to Cuenca. Thank you for the laughs!

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