Oscar has been doing really well with his potty training. Now that we have our routine down, it’s been a long time since Oscar’s last potty accident. I take Oscar outside every few hours and, for the times when he needs to potty outside of that schedule, he squeals and lets me know. When he does have a rare accident, it’s mostly due to us giving him too much water or not getting him outside in time, which is more our fault than his.
I was feeling really confident about Oscar’s potty training, and then this week everything fell apart when Oscar had three accidents inside. Oscar is only outdoor trained and has never used a litter box, so he knows not to go in the house. What frustrated me most about the accidents is that he didn’t even attempt to squeal or let us know that he needed to go outside. He just quietly found a spot and went.
The potty accidents were so unusual for Oscar that I worried he might have a health problem. Male mini pigs are prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs), so it’s always important to start there when a mini pig has unexpected accidents. After making sure Oscar didn’t have any UTI symptoms, I checked that off my list and moved on in trying to figure out why we were suddenly having potty training problems.
I finally put everything together and figured out that Oscar was going potty in the house to avoid going out in the cold weather. He didn’t want me to know before he had an accident because he didn’t want to be taken out, and he was going before his normally scheduled times in hopes that he wouldn’t have to go outside at all. Mini pigs hate being cold, and this is our first real hurdle in dealing with Oscar’s first winter.
Now that we know what the problem is, we are fixing it by taking a few steps back in his potty training. We are taking him outside more frequently and making sure he actually goes while he’s out there. If given the opportunity, he will just run back inside or even try to fake it quickly and then head back in (mini pigs are sneaky). We are also putting him in his crate some throughout the day to reinforce his crate training while he adjusts to the winter. To make things more comfortable for him outside, we put his coat or sweater on him to keep him warm and happy. As a last measure, we gave Oscar his potty bells back to encourage him to let us know when he needs to go outside.
Oscar has been accident free for the past few days, so our tactics are working so far. If he continues to have accidents throughout the winter, we will consider training him to use a litter box in the house but are saving that as a last resort. Although his accidents are frustrating, we anticipated some setbacks and adjustments with winter since pigs avoid the cold at all costs. It will be interesting to see what else we run into as the weather gets even colder and we get closer to Oscar’s first snow!