Pads to park: What is the best methods to teach my puppy to go potty outside?

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Hello! This is my first post, how exciting! I have a 4.5 months old mini poodle who reached the rite of passage moment of having to go outside, but it is a bit challenging as we live in an apartment on 5th floor.

Until now he has been very good with potty pads on the balcony, going there 95% of the times, holding through the night and only having sporadic incidents in case we could not hear him warning us to go out (normally he'd bark).

Now we want to transition him to go outside. He is not super regular but I tried to gauge the time he might have to go n#2 and we go for a walk, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. He needs to pee every couple of hours and as I work from home I can't always take him out on the dot.

We have had a few more incidents as he probably is a bit confused. I have not eliminated his pad yet but would only keep it as an emergency.

Here my question: should I have him go cold turkey, eliminate pads entirely or transition a bit more gradually? I am only afraid that as he knows the pads are an option, he is not learning to "hold".

Any advice is truly appreciated 🙂

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