We have had several inquiries about Cavachons and housebreaking so I have decided to write about our experience with Kasey going through the process.

Before Kasey even came home, I spent a lot of time reading “puppy books.”  I really did not have much knowledge about raising a puppy.  When it came to housebreaking, I wanted to be prepared with as much knowledge and as many tips as I could find.  I highly recommend this.  What worked for us may not work for you, but, you may come across an idea from someone else that will.  I also purchased a crate before Kasey arrived.  I got the type where you could adjust one of the walls to change the size as the puppy grew.  We started out with it very small, so he felt protected and cozy.  As he grew, we moved the wall to make the crate larger.  We still have that crate and it ended up the perfect size for him.  He loves his crate, it is “his safe place.”

Cavachon in Crate

Kasey in his Crate

From the very beginning, I would set Kasey in the crate with a toy and blanket – the door open – and pet him.  It was great when he would fall asleep there!  The goal was to get him to see the crate as his bed and a safe place.  After he was used to being put in there, I would close the door for a short time – just a few minutes. I gradually increased that amount of time, up to 15 minutes or so.  I was also encouraging him to go in there on his own – usually with a little gentle “persuasion” at first.  Once inside, I would give him a little treat (I used a piece of his food or a Cheerio) and praise him.  I always put him in the crate to sleep at night.

If you are wondering why I began by talking about crate training, it is because it is so important for many reasons.  Your puppy needs a safe, comfy, warm place to go.  That will never change!  Also, dogs usually will not soil “their place.”  That is why the crate is a key component of housebreaking.

In general, every time your puppy wakes up (and they sleep a lot!), runs or plays a bit, eats, drinks or starts sniffing the floor – IMMEDIATELY TAKE THEM OUTSIDE!!!  I would just pick Kasey up and get out there.   In the beginning, do pick them up to go out, especially after sleeping.  You don’t want them to relieve themselves before they get out the door.  I tried to take him to the same general area, not too far from the house, set him down and wait for him to “perform.”  When he did, I would excitedly praise him and give him a treat – the whole family kept Cheerios in our pockets!  We did take him out often, but I think that is what helped him learn.  If you want to play with your puppy outside (who wouldn’t?), go to a different area.  These guys are smart – they will learn that certain places are for certain things.

In the event there is an accident in the house, do the same thing right away, except telling him “no” and to “potty outside!”  If you do not see the accident happen, it is too late to correct him.  He will not know why you are mad at him.  It is important that the puppy understands what he hid, and where he should have done it!  Until you have learned your puppy’s habits, you may want to confine him to a tiled area.  There will be accidents and doing that makes clean up much easier.  Use one of the doggy spray cleaners that neutralizes the smell so they are not tempted to use the same spot again.  If you do not have that, you can use water with vinegar in it.

I did try getting Kasey to use puppy pads at first.  I know some people have success with that, then move them closer and closer to the outside door, and eventually the dog learns to go outside.  We did not have any luck with that.  Kasey just saw the puppy pad as something to chew and never “pottied” on it no matter how often I would put him on there or how long I kept him on there!  We were very lucky to have brought Kasey home in the summer.  We live in Northeast Ohio, so had it been winter, the process would have been much more difficult.

The learning process went pretty quickly.  Kasey would go to the bathroom as soon as he got outside.  Perfecting the whole thing took quite a while longer.  It did not help that we moved to a new house when he was six months old, so our lives were quite chaotic for quite a while.  He was doing pretty well before the move.  We did not have to always watch him and he had very few accidents.  Another thing I had done was teach him the “bell” technique.  I will get into that next time, but I do think it helped somewhat at the new house, once he figured out where the bell was!

It was probably close to a year before I would say Kasey was completely housebroken – meaning no accidents whatsoever.  Between six and twelve months he was still having accidents in the house, but I do believe that our personal circumstances influenced that.  Even during that whole transition, the accidents were infrequent, but none-the-less annoying!

Kasey is now over 2½ years old and I still give him a treat when he “poops” outside.  I just never completely broke that reward habit.  He knows the difference in our outings and runs to the drawer where I keep treats if he went poop while we were out there!  Now, he usually only goes outside 3 or 4 times a day – early morning, late afternoon, then again before bed.  If we are going for a walk or somewhere in the car, he’ll go again.  I usually just take him out when it is convenient for me, but if he can’t wait, he lets me know by ringing the bell!

64 Responses to “Cavachon Housebreaking Tips”

  • Natalie says:

    We have just got our 9 week old cavachon. She is picking up weeing on her pads quite well, but she is not pooing at all. We try and encourage her to her pad after she’s had her food but to no avail. For the past 2 nights, she has ended up pooing in her crate and standing in it and it is everywhere! Giving her a bath at 3 in the morning is not our idea of fun. We are at the end of our tether so any advice would be much appreciated.
    (Also her poo doesn’t seem as if she is constipated, her diet is also the exact same as it was when she was with the breeder).

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  • buzzie1928 says:

    Hello! Our very beautiful Cavachon is 6 months old and just a delight..except we are unable to her peeing sorted out..Poos no issue at all and she will wee outside too..but she suffers from excitement dribbles when folk come in and now she has taken to just relieving herself whenever on what ever..this morning it was the sofa cushion..we have tried the bell system and thought it was working well until she turned it into a game of seeing how many times she could get us to go to the door and chewing the bells themselves..have done the the taking outside every time she wakes, eats and drinks. She has three walks a day..help!

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  • wendy whitbread says:

    we have had our beautiful little cavachon Harper for 6 days, she is a wolf in sheeps clothing, she was so quiet at first, now she is like a tornado, bites everything, trying her on puppy pads and have a bit of success, she is in a crate at night and its not the nights that are bad its the days when you have to have eyes in the back of your head, nothings safe unless its nailed down, any ideas to help her improve, love her to bits but we are exhausted!!!

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  • karen says:

    my parents have a pair of cavachon pups – they are ten months old now but are still chewing furniture etc when left alone – any suggestions please

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  • Anonymous says:

    Sounds like she’s nesting. It is common I think in bitches who aren’t neutered . Id. Let her go through this phase then see vet. Maybe she’s had a phantom pregnancy. Poor love she’s confused,
    Get her done and I’m sure she will b back to her lovely self

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  • Anonymous says:

    My vet told me to use human eyewash as it doesn’t sting, I’ve got a cavachon now and I’ve had bichons and I had same issue, if u so every day it keeps it at bay. It’s just sleepers ie muck in the eyes nothin to worry abounbut if it builds up can cause uncomfortable ness for puppy

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  • ELLIE says:

    Hi Lori,

    We just got a cavachon that is 9 weeks old and we absolutely love her. It has been a week since we had her and she wakes up at 5am and has been crying for week. We think it is because she needs to potty and pee. And she does when we take her out. However waking up every morning early is taking a toll on your productivity at work. We feed her 7am and 7pm. Do you have a good recommendation for a feeding schedule where she could hold herself from 11pm till 7am?

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    Jennifer Replied:

    I am hoping to adopt my first cavachon soon. however I have noticed from other breeds i have raised that if you give no food after 6pm and take the water up at 9pm and let them use the potty before bed they are more likely to hold it a little longer and as they get better you can give food and water whenever and they still sleep through the night.

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    Terry Replied:

    Hi Jennifer, I’d really make that evening feeding time a couple of hours earlier if at all possible? Feeding her dinner at 7:00 pm puts a full tummy on a baby that then has to sleep through the night, I like to feed the evening meal no later than around 5 pm which gives plenty of time for puppy to be “empty” before bedtime.

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  • Ann says:

    Cavachons are high maintenance for grooming, but I wouldn’t trade her for any other dog in the world. She is so adorable and extremely intelligent in understanding commands. We did take her to 2 different obedient classes, and this was really worth it. Potty training was horrible. She kept having accidents no matter what we tried. It took us 1-1/2 years for our puppy to be fully cleaned without any accidents. My husband and I are both working from home. What really helped a lot, and still does, are the reusable potty pads that you can launder. Petco sells them. The’re not cheap but worth the money. I put them in a plastic bag and wash them every 2-3 days. I do change them every day. We now have a doggy door which leads to our fenced deck. We got someone to build us a potty station on our deck. It’s a bottomless box that contains 6 pads. The box is 4’L x 3W’. It’s 3″ in height. That’s the only place she goes to potty. She goes for a long walk every day. We make sure she goes to her box before we go to bed. Her doggy door is closed at 9 pm and reopened at 8 am the next morning. She has been sleeping with us since she has been 3 MO. I used to put her outside on her potty pads every 3 hours. I know! That’s how dedicated I was in making sure she didn’t have any accidents in our bed and she never did. Be very patient with your puppy. It’s well worth the time and the work.

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  • Ann says:

    My Cavachon used to have black stain around her eyes. I now wash her eyes every day with just water and a baby wash cloth, as there this black gunk that collects in the corner of her eyes which stains her eye area if this is not cleaned. I did ask the vet about this, and he had no answer as to why this happens. He did say to continue cleaning her eyes with just water has I have been doing.

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    Cookielou Replied:

    We use a product called Angel Eyes. It works to keep the black goobers out of their eyes!

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    Terry Replied:

    Don’t know if you’ve heard, but Angel Eyes has been pulled from the market and is now labeled unsafe for dogs. It contains Tylan an antibiotic which using long-term can cause health issues. You might ask your veterinarian, but I wouldn’t use it at all. Hope that helps a bit.

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  • rob r says:

    We love our 2 Cavachons, great dogs, have crated both of them since they were 10 weeks old.

    Our 2 year old never has accidents anymore, our 5 month old still doesn’t get the bell/has accidents often. our 2 year old took a while to fully train, it wasn’t until months 9-12 where the accidents stopped. Great breed of dogs we love them. Loved our 1st one so much we got a 2nd and they play together all the time!!! Stick to the advice of bringing them out every time they wake up, drink water, leave the crate. I would hesitate to keep a little pup in the crate all day while you are at work like someone said on here. I’d hire a dog walker if you can’t get home more often during the day

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