TOILET TRAINING PUPPY IN THE CITY - How to train
your new puppy to pee and poop in the correct way
FLOOR GRATE + PEE PAN METHOD
IN TOILET TRAINING OF PUPPIES:
4 CASE STUDIES TO SHARE WITH FIRST-TIME PUPPY OWNERS IN SINGAPORE
Dr Sing Kong Yuen
First written; June 28, 2005
Updated: April 1, 2015
1. CONFUSING THE GOLDEN RETRIEVER PUPPY Dr Sing Kong Yuen,
BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
First written: Dec 17, 2008. Updated: Nov 19, 2009
Subject: Golden Retriever Training
Date: Friday, December 19, 2008, 8:28 AM
Dear Dr Sing:
I sincerely hope you can provide me with your expert advise.
I got a Golden retriever puppy on last Sunday, 13 Dec 2008. It is of 3
months age. I placed it in a cage (4-sided chrome wire with a top and a
wire grating below with a pee tray). I placed it in my planter area in the
kitchen. There is a toilet just 2 metres away. There, I placed newspaper
on a separate pee-tray and placed the "urine-smell" chemical on it.
My wife and I took turns and wake up twice during the night to bring it
there to pee and poo. Meal times are at 7am and 7-8pm. Water bottle is
removed at 11pm. After each meal, we bring the puppy there. I am glad that
within 2 days, by Tuesday, 16 Dec 2008, the puppy knows where to go to do
PUPPY IS USED TO THIS ROUTINE FOR 2 DAYS. IT KNOWS THE TOILET
LOCATION AND KNOWS WHAT TO DO. IT HAD POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT FROM YOU.
THEN YOU START ANOTHER ROUTINE. YOU SHOULD HAVE GIVEN IT 2 WEEKS TO BE
FULLY TRAINED BEFORE SWITCHING TO ANOTHER ROUTINE.
Then we bought a baby gate and sealed off a section of the kitchen (The
sealed area is for the puppy. The cage and toilet is there too).
The questions are:
1) The puppy now does not want to go back to the cage to sleep. We need to
"force" it back in. We still wake up to bring it to the toilet. Why does
the puppy "hates" its cage now?
PUPPIES PREFER FREEDOM TO RUN AROUND. IT ASSOCIATES THE CAGE WITH BEING
LOCKED UP AND NEGATIVE FEELINGS.
2) We intend to let the puppy free roam the sealed section and the cage
unlocked. So it can walk around and go to the toilet by itself.
PUPPY WILL TAKE TIME TO GO TO THE PROPER TOILET LOCATION.
Now the puppy goes and tear the newspaper in the toilet and eats them.
Is it safe? How can we make the puppy go to the toilet with the newspaper
and not tear and eat them?
PAPER SHREDDING IS THE MOST COMMON COMPLAINT from puppy owners. There is
nothing much you can do. Some owners do tape the newspapers to the floor,
edges of pee pan etc. Not safe if the puppy eats lots of newspapers.
3) We noticed the puppy tends to step on its urine or poo if its not
cleared immediately) and walks all over its area thus dirtying the area.
STEPPING ON STOOLS IS ANOTHER COMMON COMPLAINT from puppy owners. Possible
cause could be insufficient space or that the puppy is not particularly
clean due to previous confinement in the cages in the pet shop or
Thus, I removed the wire floor of the cage and placed it on top of the
newspaper and pee-tray in the toilet and secured it with cable-tie (At
least it will not step on its own urine. But if it steps on the poo, no
choice). This is done as I do not want the puppy to tear and eat the
ANOTHER NEW ROUTINE USING THE GRATE (WIRE FLOOR) SERVES TO CONFUSE THE
But worse off, it now refuse or "is scared" to go to the toilet to do
PUPPY PROBABLY GETS SCOLDING/SPANKING FROM YOU when it does not step on
the Grate to pee and poo. Grate may be too small, too dirty and does
not feel right to the puppy.
I tried the same routine again, command it to go, coax it and praise it
when its there but the puppy just refuse to do its business on top of the
wire floor with both soiled and new newspaper below it with the pee-tray.
GRATE + PEE PAN METHOD you are using. First, you need to confine the puppy
such that it has no space but to go to the grate to eliminate. A clean
place to sleep and eat. I presume your puppy has a lot of space and so
does not need to go to the grate to eliminate.
THE FLOOR OF THE KITCHEN AND NEARBY AREAS IS FULL OF SMELLS OF URINE AND
POO. Did you manage to neutralise the smells? White vinegar: water 1:3
with a piece of cloth (not mop which is full of urine smells) to wipe
whole floor. Mop needs to be free of urine smell if you want to use mop.
I experimented by removing the wire floor and it goes back to pee but
now choose to poo on the kitchen tiles. Why does the puppy refuses just by
adding the wire floor. Must I toilet-train it again?
THE GRATE (WIRE FLOOR) is NOT accepted by this puppy. I suspect it is too
small, not frequently cleaned when soiled and the puppy does not know how
to use it.
Too much space to roam around for the first 7 days and no ROUTINE for the
first 7-14 days. You keep changing toilet location, toilet and sleeping
areas and the puppy is just confused.
What are your recommendations? Your help is greatly appreciated. I look
forward to yr earliest reply.
YES, YOU NEED TO START ALLOVER AGAIN. Confine for 14 days. Neutralise
smells and a fixed routine. Not all puppies are comfortable with the grate
and pee pan method. If you want to use the grate and pee pan method, put
puppy in one area e.g. bathroom. Put urine smell into the pee pan. Other
floor area has no urine or poo smell (not always possible). Floor area to
sleep is restricted to a small area. Baby gate can be put outside bathroom
door. After 14 days or less, let the puppy out to the kitchen (baby gate
outside the kitchen door). Then more and more free areas as the puppy goes
back to the bathroom grate. Obviously, you need to keep the soiled grate
Unfortunately, the cleanliness of the puppy to sleep and eat in a clean
area depends on its upbringing by the Seller. If it has been forced to
sleep in dirt, it will step on poop. Generally, you will note that the
puppy will prefer a clean sleeping and eating area and a toilet location
further. However, if you give it a lot of space, it will eliminate
anywhere except its eating and sleeping area.
Hope above suggestions help.
One tool used in this case study is a
grate + pee pan
to toilet train the Golden Retriever puppy. For some owners of small
breeds like the Chihuahua, the dog will pee and poop on the grate, saving
a lot of cleaning. Newspapers as toilet location - problem is dirty paws
from newspaper ink. Some owners don't like that.
The grate keeps the paws clean from urine and stools as the puppy does not
step on the stools. In the case of small breeds with smaller stools, this
tool is great. The problem of paper shredding and eating newspapers does
not exist. The disadvantage is that the puppy will never be paper-trained
using this method. The owner NEEDS to remove the stools stuck on top of
the grate and clean the soiled grate promptly (preferred) as the puppy
dislikes soiled areas and will not eliminate on the grate if he has a
choice of other places, e.g. OUTSIDE the perimeter of the grate.
CASE STUDY NO. 2 - SUCCESS IN
FLOOR GRATE + PEE PAN TOILET TRAINING. extracted from Dr Sing's blog:
Monday, February 11, 2008
"Believe me, all sorts of masking tape
had been used to ensure that the Miniature Schnauzer cannot shred the
newspapers," the young man said. Half of the playpen floor was covered
with newspapers which are taped at all 4 sides. Still the puppy shreds
them. So, paper training was not possible for one month.
"What did you do?" I asked.
"I bought a floor grate with pee pan below from another pet shop. Put
urine smell on the pee pan and put the whole set inside the playpen.
Now the puppy just eliminate on the floor grate. No more dirty paws,"
the owner was satisfied with the solution.
Shredding papers is a common complaint of many pups home alone. In
this case, the floor grate with pee pan resolves the problem.
The owner remarked, "The Miniature Schnauzer would stand upright,
front legs against the playpen to poop onto the floor grate. Is this
"No," I said. "A pup will squat to eliminate. He does not want to step
onto the soiled floor grate."
"I don't think so," the owner thought it was part of the personality
of the puppy or breed to stand and poo.
It is difficult for the puppy to communicate with us that he does not
want to dirty his paws. The urine in the floor grate may be soiled,
according to his highly developed sense of smell. The owner would not
think so as the urine would have had flowed into the pee pan.
"The only support for my saying this is that another owner with the
same situation and breed has the same behaviour of the puppy standing
upright against the playpen panel to poop onto the floor grate."
CASE STUDY 3: PARTIAL SUCCESS -
HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY GRATE + PEE PAN
TRAIN YOUR PUPPY
First written: June 14, 2008
Summary: The grate and pee pan set
has been used by many Singaporean puppy owners with varying degrees of
success. This case describes the partial success in getting a small
breed dog to step up onto the grate to pee only. The puppy poops
elsewhere unlike a successful case described in case study 4.
The grate and pee pan set has been
used by many Singaporean puppy owners with varying degrees of success.
This case shows success in getting the small breed dog to step up onto
the grate to pee but not to poo. How did the owner do it?
Positive reinforcement training for the puppy using verbal
commands and food treats whenever the puppy shows signs of elimination
(squatting, sniffing). For the working couple in this case study, it
took a lot of time of many weeks. Training would be done when they
returned home from work.
Clean grate is important. "My dog is very clean. He does
not pee onto the grate if I do not wipe off the urine after he had
peed onto it. I wash the grate with detergent at the end of each day."
I was impressed as it is not easy as most Singapore owners failed to
get the dog to walk up and step onto the grate to eliminate. "Does he
poop onto the grate too?"
"No," she said. "He poops on the tiled floor in the balcony or
kitchen. I just remove the poop, washed the floor with vinegar:acid
spray. It was a good idea to use a spray bottle.
I know of many owners whose dogs just use the grate for peeing. The
reason may be that the grate is too small or not cleaned after the
puppy has had peed. The lady owner whose left finger had a splint and
plaster while trying to save her dog from being killed by a big dog at
the park, probably did not wipe the grate after the dog had peed, at
the beginning of training. The dog is now over 1.5 years old.
Once the dog is used to pooping onto the tiled floor, it is difficult
to re-train him.
"Why don't you put newspapers onto the two frequented floor spots
where the dog poops so that you can just throw away the soiled
newspaper with the poop?"
The lady said: "The dog used to shred newspapers when he is alone. So
I do not use newspapers.
"The dog has grown up and may not shred newspapers," I proposed she
In any case, the young couple is very happy with the dog. He does
not urine-mark inside the apartment despite being a male dog.
But there is some area for reducing her cleaning workload if the adult
dog can be paper-trained to pee and poo since she is no longer
For example, put newspapers on the pee pan. Let the dog use the pee
pan to pee and poop. Use a larger pee pan.
Shredding newspapers may or may not be the adult dog's habit now. Who
knows until we try. If the dog can be paper-trained, so much washing
and mopping is avoided! But many dog owners have not thought of this
2nd stage as they are quite happy with the status quo.
"Vinegar: water at 1:4 spray bottle is a good idea. It is meant to
neutralise the urine smell in the pee pan or floor," I explained
to the happy couple who loved this little rascal whose jugular vein
was attacked by a big dog during exercise in a park. The grate
was washed or wiped by laundry detergent. It seemed to work too as the
dog continues peeing onto it.
CASE STUDY 4:
TIPS FOR THE FIRST-TIME PUPPY OWNER - HOW TO
SUCCESSFULLY GRATE + PEE PAN TRAIN YOUR PUPPY
First written: June 14, 2008
Summary: The grate and pee pan set
has been used by many Singaporean puppy owners with varying degrees of
success. This case describes the success in getting a small breed dog to
step up onto the grate to pee and to poo. Unlike a previous case of
just pee but not poop on the Grate + Pee Pan. How did the owner do it?
Positive reinforcement training for
the puppy using verbal commands and food treats whenever the puppy shows
signs of elimination (squatting, sniffing). For the working couple in this
case study, it took a lot of time of many weeks and probably
months. Training would be done when they returned home from work.
Clean grate is important. The owner cleans the Grate + Pee Pan
every 2 days. Stools must be removed promptly or the dog will not
eliminate on the grate.
I did not suggest any new idea as the owners had complete success using
the Grate+ Pee Pan method for their little breed. The use of a plastic
floor grate may be preferred to a wired one as the latter rusts over time.
"Is it OK for my dog during the surgery?" the lady in her mid 30s were
more concerned as to whether her dog would die under general anaesthesia
"99% of healthy young dogs being neutered
do not die on the operating table," I said. As the dog was docile, I used
the 8% gas anaesthesia to knock him down, put in the endotracheal tube to
connect his lungs to the gas and put on 1% maintenance dose. No
tranquiliser was given so as to prevent anaesthetic complications. There
was no problem at all.
The dog had been so active in humping every towel and other dogs such that
it was anti-social and embarrassing. The couple were knowledgeable and
knew that early neuter was the solution. The dog had no problem with the
anaesthesia and went home to a happy couple. I recorded in a piece of
paper quickly after the interview before I forget the details as writing
takes days in time-pressed Singapore.
The Grate + Pee Pan (Pee Tray) set with a Maltese is shown in this
For some Singapore owners of small breeds like the Chihuahua, peeing
and pooping on the grate saves a lot of cleaning of the soiled paws. In
using newspapers, owners complain the newspaper ink dirtied the
paws in white breeds. Some owners don't like that. An alternative to
newspapers is the use of puppy diapers (puppy training pads).
As each puppy is an individual and has its previous history from the
seller and as each breed has its own traits, there is no one way to toilet
train the puppy.
Confinement, positive reinforcement training, close monitoring and
training for the first 14-28 days and neutralising urine smells in
non-approved toilet areas and a routine for sleeping, eating, drinking and
exercise form the basis of toilet training in the puppy. Please
email@example.com if you wish to seek advice as regards
toilet-training in your puppy or dog.
Toilet training your puppy
All rights reserved. Revised: April 08, 2015