Though we try to implement certain elements of potty training through most of the whelping process, over the past few weeks, we've really started to cement their understanding of where to sleep (crates), where to play (carpeted area so they don't slide around), and where to go to the bathroom (newspaper area over easy to clean surface).
We've also been fortunate to have great weather lately, so we've been teaching them to go to the bathroom outside. We're happy to report that the puppies are quickly learning to come straight to the newspaper area (by the puppy gate and near the door that leads outside) when they need to go to the bathroom - they cry to let us know, we let them out and they do their business.
Regarding crate training, we keep the gates open to two large crates and allow them to come and go as they please - if they fall asleep outside of the crate, we just encourage them to go in to sleep. As time goes on, we occasionally start to close the gate during the day when it's time for them to take a nap, and then eventually start closing the gate to the crate for short amounts of time during the night. As they get bigger, we start to separate them out - maybe 4 per crate, then we introduce smaller crates and do 2 per crate, then before they turn 8 weeks old, we start keeping the puppies in individual crates during the night.
Keeping the process gradual like this really allows the puppies to make an easy transition to sleeping in their crate peacefully at night. Though the potty and crate training may not be completely finished by the time they leave our house, they'll hopefully be well on their way.
Jason and Alysse Ottinger of Stonebrook Retrievers - we thought this would be a good way to keep everyone updated on what's currently going on at Stonebrook Retrievers. Thanks for viewing!