Dear Mary Puppins: We’re having some house training problems


Hannah Richter (aka Mary Puppins) is a certified dog trainer and current instructor at Andrea Arden Dog Training in NYC. If you have something you want to ask Mary Puppins be sure to email us at [email protected]!

Dear Mary Puppins, 

I would love some help with housetraining. I have been using wee wee pads with my Schnauzer puppy, Cherry. She has been amazing using the pads, but we would love for her to only go to the bathroom outdoors. She is now 14 weeks and can hold her bladder for about three hours at a time. We often find that when we take her out she doesn’t go and the second we come back inside, she has an accident.

We have been taking her outdoors every two hours and are staying out for thirty or forty minutes each time. How do we get her to understand that outside is the new potty spot? She is currently sleeping in a crate with the door open into a pen with pads. We have tried bringing the pads down (both clean and dirty), but it doesn’t seem to make a difference to her. She just finished up her vaccinations and is cleared to go outside which is exciting, but we can’t seem to get her to go when we take her out! Can you give us some tips to get Cherry to go potty outside?

Thank you,

Ready for the Outside World


Dear Ready for the Outside World, 

I always remind my clients that have puppies who are reliant on the pads that it isn’t a bad thing. Your initial goal with your puppy was likely to make them love to use the pads and it sounds like you did a great job pad training Cherry! Her use of the pads also tells me that she is smart and is able to pick up on training quickly. 

If you don’t already monitor her water intake, I would start to offer water breaks instead of unlimited water. Put the water down for 30 minutes with meals and then give a bit of water at other times that she is thirsty. Now that Cherry is 14 weeks, she can likely hold her bladder for about 3 hours at a time during the day and 7-10 hours overnight

I recommend closing the crate door overnight so that you can offer her an opportunity to go outside first thing in the morning. Get yourself ready first and then take her out and bring her outside. Pick a block or two and pace back and forth. This will allow her to understand that the rest of the walk begins after she goes potty. If she doesn’t go in the first 20 minutes, bring her inside and hold her or put her in the crate for 5 or 10 minutes and then try again. 

Pick a very high value, novel treat to reward with outdoors. Throw a big puppy party with a ton of treats and praise when she goes outside. This will help to give her motivation to hold it until she gets outside. After she goes, write down the time that she went and then try again three hours later. Anytime she wakes up, runs around, or an hour or so after eating she is also likely to go. When she is going at least 25% of the time outside, take the pads away completely. I wish you the best in your potty training endeavors!


Mary Puppins

light blue abstract shape

Throw a big puppy party with a ton of treats and praise when she goes outside!

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