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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can anyone tell me when a puppy's neurological system develops to enable concious bladder and bowel control? I cannot find anything relevant online so i guessed there would be someone here who would know!
 

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Probably because the words you use are over most of our heads!

Do you mean 'At what age will my dog start to pee in the garden and not the living room floor'?

If you do, it depends how you train them. It shouldn't be longer than a few weeks of when you first start to train them though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
No, sorry, that's not what I mean.

What I mean is at what age does their nervous system develop so they can conciously control where and when they pee and poo. For humans this occurs between 12 and 36 months. It cannot occur untill the nerves and muscles have deveolped significantly. I'm assuming it's the same with dogs (being mammals and all that). My pup is clean and dry 90% of the time, but that, i'm pretty sure, is because I am predicting when he needs to eliminate, not because he has the muscle and nerve development to retain his waste untill a suitable place and time become available.

I could be very wrong about this. I'm putting 2+2 together.
 

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Must admit I've not seen any categoric answer to this...

Terry (Leashed4life) usually mentions this in housetraining threads, although I can't remember the exact age she usually gives or where she gets the info.

I must admit, whilst I usually trust Terry on behaviour issues, I did question this one... the age she stated I think seemed very late to me; given that my first pup housetrained really quickly (by about 12 weeks) despite me NOT being the best trainer!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My pup (16 weeks) does conciously choose to go outside sometimes. Yesterday, he came in from the garden, and just as he stepped in to the house, he turned round, went back out and peed immediatly he got to the bottom of the step. He then climbed back up and into the house. He clearly chose where to pee. he has also chosen to go outside when we are in the kitchen with the door open, peed, then came straight back indoors. Unfortunatly he doesn't do this consistantly :(
 

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I don't know the answer to your question, but having observed very young pups approx 4 weeks take themselves off into the outside area to toilet, I would say early, how old they are until their bladder/bowel is large enough to hold on if there is no current access to out door I don't know.

My guess would be toileting outside the den is a motor pattern that kicks in when physical movement allows it to take place.

The other thing to consider is sometimes they can be too busy/engrossed in what they are doing to toilet in the correct place, just like young children.
 

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and then there's the time gap between pup realising he needs to pee, and not being able to hold it until he gets outside. With my collie, that seemed to be at around 8 weeks. She was fully trained by 14 weeks, moved to the door when she needed to go out, but I had to get up straight away to take her out until about 12 weeks.

It will likely vary between breeds, as well as individuals.

Good question though.
 

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During my training I was told they aren't fully able to control their bodily functions until 8 months, although many are house trained well before then.

I wasn't given any references, but I'll have a quick flick through a couple of my books to see if I can find anything more concrete.
 

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Dr Linda Case says not reliable before 6 months, although nothing to explain that.
Karen Overall again mentions 6 months, but does state females may not develop full sphincter tone until the first season.

I would say there is a difference between a puppy being able to wait until you let it out once it's asked, and a young dog, who might be left alone all day by accident (say you get stuck in a terrible tailback on a motorway, road closed, can't move for hours etc). I would expect my adult dogs to be able to wait until I got home, but I wouldn't a dog under 6 months. I'd expect a puddle or pile.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm finding my current pup is taking a little longer than my other pups (he's a Brit, all my others have been collies). However, provided I watch him ALL the time and anticipate his need to pee, he's pretty much relaiable, but if I fail to notice, or hesitate the SECOND I think he may need to go, there will be a puddle (bowel is more reliable, but possibly because I know his routine and his wee body seems to work like clockwork in that department!).

I've also had a small setback (my fault entierly). He was confined to a travel carrier at night and had never soiled, so I stupidly decided he was big enough for a full sized crate. All to predicably, this has set back his training as he both peed and pooed in it. I have gone back to the travel crate and have decided that when I shift over, this time I will block off part of the crate to make the area smaller (to begin with).

Thanks for the replies. 6 months sounds reasonable. Untill then I shall keep vigilant!!
 

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No, sorry, that's not what I mean.

What I mean is at what age does their nervous system develop so they can conciously control where and when they pee and poo. For humans this occurs between 12 and 36 months. It cannot occur untill the nerves and muscles have deveolped significantly. I'm assuming it's the same with dogs (being mammals and all that). My pup is clean and dry 90% of the time, but that, i'm pretty sure, is because I am predicting when he needs to eliminate, not because he has the muscle and nerve development to retain his waste untill a suitable place and time become available.

I could be very wrong about this. I'm putting 2+2 together.
It depends exactly how precise you want to be, but a puppy in the second/third week of life will start to urinate and defecate away from the nest, so clearly this is already forming neurologically then. Think eyes opening - 12 days or so, exploration of environment, new textures, scents, energy expenditure, the weaning process beginning and so on.
As you mentioned, the dog is then developing for the next year or so, so the body is building this whole time, mind included of course. Add to that the fact that most pups and young dogs are on four or three meals and will be drinking plenty, will be getting treats as training begins etc. and you can see why they have so many accidents.
And finally, as you said, the way around that is anticipation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I suppose you have to also remember the huge variation in the time it takes human babies to develop full bladder/bowel control. There is no reason to thing dogs would be any different. i wonder if there is a breed varaition in all this?
 
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