Like most trainers, in our course we have always devoted considerable time to the important subject of crate training. Recently we heard of a new twist on crate training: the Potty Training Puppy Apartment (PTPA) from Modern Puppies. We always do our best to keep informed on the latest research, methods, and products relating to dog training. So we contacted the company and asked them to send us a PTPA so we could test it for inclusion in our course.
Fortunately, a darling little papillon puppy named Lyra was soon due to arrive at the home of one of our course editors. So we had a perfect opportunity to test out the PTPA on a new puppy.
What is the Potty Training Puppy Apartment?
The PTPA looks like a sturdy, standard-issue metal dog crate with one important distinction: it has a movable partition with a little open door in it, effectively creating two rooms inside the crate.
The bigger room, fitted with a potty pad, becomes your puppy’s bathroom. Whereas the smaller room, with a sleeping cushion, functions as your puppy’s bedroom. The idea is for the puppy to learn to potty on the potty side so that he or she will always have a bathroom inside your house or apartment. This can function in conjunction with normal outside potty training. However, in some cases, it could be the primary place for the puppy to eliminate. Think for instance of an elderly owner or one with limited mobility. Similarly, someone who lives on the 25th floor of a high-rise apartment building might appreciate an indoor potty solution.
We faithfully watched the 45 minute video that came with the Potty Training Puppy Apartment. It provided not only helpful general potty training advice, but also specific instructions. We decided to use the PTPA as our primary potty training method for Lyra, the sweet papillon puppy pictured above. This review covers our usage of the PTPA for about four months. We started using it the first day Lyra came home at age 10 weeks. She is now six months old, so we have had some time to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the PTPA. Here are our results:
Nighttime Potty Training
The PTPA definitely made the normally exhausting first few weeks of puppy parenthood easier. Lyra slept peacefully in her PTPA next to our editor’s bed almost from the beginning. We were amazed that just like in the video, she would quietly get up a few times in the night to eliminate in the bathroom area of her PTPA. (Yes, we may have stayed up all night marveling at our sweet little puppy; doesn’t everyone?) Then she would return to sleep in her bedroom section.
Six-month-old Lyra has since graduated to sleeping in Mommy’s bed (how long could we really resist?) However, she still feels most comfortable confined to her PTPA when left alone at home for a few hours. It is nice to know that she’s not forced to hold her bladder while we’re gone. Especially with small breed puppies, even 3-4 hours without pottying can be too much for quite a while. So from that perspective, it’s nice to have a structured way for them to eliminate that minimizes mess and confusion.
Daytime Potty Training
Daytime potty training with the PTPA had more mixed results. Lyra resisted pottying inside the PTPA during the daytime, no matter how many treats we offered her. In the end, outside potty training worked much better. She seemed to prefer pottying as far from her sleeping area as possible, and the PTPA bathroom and bedroom are of course right next to one another. We see this as one of the major downsides of the PTPA. Dogs are of course extremely sensitive to smells, and prefer not to potty near their sleeping area.
It should be noted that papillons are notoriously capricious and difficult when it comes to potty training, so other breeds might take to the PTPA more readily. Still, the Potty Training Puppy Apartment is our solution for when she needs to be home alone. For this purpose, the fact that the PTPA readily and securely attaches to an X-Pen definitely makes a nice, easy set-up for when a dog that can’t be given the run of the house must be left home alone.
Should You Try the Potty Training Puppy Apartment?
The Potty Training Puppy Apartment is probably not the best choice for all breeds (and in fact, for larger breeds the sheer size of it might make it impractical). It is also likely not necessary for people who live in houses with yards or easy access to outside. The significant expense compared to a regular crate keep it from being worth it for dogs with access to easier pottying solutions.
Where the PTPA might make sense is for people with a small breed who live in upper floor apartments. Apartment dwellers may be considering paper training or other indoor solutions already, so it makes sense to also consider the PTPA. Elderly or reduced-mobility dog owners who cannot easily take a dog out might also be interested. Similarly, for those having trouble with traditional crate training, the PTPA might be another option to consider. The Potty Training Puppy Apartment and other indoor pottying solutions are something every dog trainer should know about. For the urban dog trainer who deals with many small dogs who live indoors, adding the PTPA to your arsenal of potential solutions for clients is a smart decision.