Changing the box

Indy’s girls turned five weeks old today, believe it or not!

We’ve traded their UGOdog for a regular litter box. For those wondering, it’s just a large Sterilite/Rubbermaid container with a thin layer of wood pellets in the bottom.

This first plastic litter box fits in about half of this puppy pen. So it’s about 36″ x 16″x 6″ tall. But for this age, we like to use the box that hubby has cut the side down on, for easy access. They could probably crawl over the 6″ side at this age, but I want to make getting into the litter box as easy as possible while they’re being introduced to this new style.

This is the size I use a lot in my puppy play pens and in the play area because they work well, are large and fit these areas. If you’re thinking of getting one for your new puppy, get the size that will fit in your puppy’s containment area. But the bigger the better. By the time these guys are eight to nine weeks old, they will be using the litter box really well. But they tend to back up to the corner or edge to poop and sometimes “it” goes over the edge even with a bigger box.

And a box that has edges about 6″ tall is a good size for your new pup. We don’t want it much taller than that and deter them from using it easily, nor too short and have the pellets get kicked out. (Although sometimes they do anyways). A regular cat litter box is probably too small.

The pellets that we use are for a pellet stove. They are just pine sawdust compacted together with wax so there is nothing harmful should a silly pup try to taste one, which occasionally happens. You can find a 40# bag at your local feed/farm store, or places like Lowe’s or Home Depot. If you can’t find one there, your pet store will have some but it will be a much smaller bag with a much bigger price tag. Look for “pine pellets”. Don’t be tempted to get paper pellets, kitty litter or anything else. They only other thing I would use are alfalfa pellets (also from a feed store). These are actually pellets fed to horses. They will cost more, but smell good.

To clean the litter box, I just use a cat litter scoop to scoop the poop out with. Hubby has built me a giant screen sifter that I then use to dump the box into, shake the screen so the “fluff” fall into a container and the remaining will be your good, whole pellets. The pellets are added back to the box (if it’s messy I will wash or wipe the box out with disinfectant wipe) then add a few more pellets. I just want a thin layer on the bottom of the box, otherwise it’s gets cumbersome to pick-up, dump and clean. But since you aren’t going to have a nice screen sifter to do your whole box at once, I would first pick out the poop, then go through the whole box, scoop by scoop and sift each scoop letting the sawdust fall into the box then dumping your “clean” scoop into another bucket. Once you’ve sifted the whole box, dump out your sawdust, adde your pellets back to the clean box and add a few more pellets if needed. The pellets can be a bit messy, but we have found them the best potty training asset ever!

As for potty pads, this is the only stage and age I will use one directly with the puppies. When I set up a small play area in the living room while I’m cleaning or working with the pups, I will throw a potty pad done because its convenient. But that’s it! Puppies tend to think they are just a toy. Yes, they’ll potty on them, but then they drag the pads around, shake them like prey and tear them up! It can be a mess. Plus if we potty pad trained our pups, I believe they will think the rug is the same thing and will be more likely to use your rug as a “pad”.

And here they are in all their five-week cuteness!




2# 8 oz


2# 2 oz

“Snow White”

2# 10 oz


2# 9 oz


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