Potty Training

 

House Training a puppy requires far more than a few stacks of old

newspapers—it calls for vigilance, patience, and plenty of commitment.

By following the procedures outlined below, you can minimize house

soiling incidents, but virtually every puppy will have an accident in

the house, and more likely, several. Expect this—it’s part of raising a

puppy. The more consistent you are in following the basic housetraining

procedures the faster your puppy will learn acceptable behavior.

It may take several weeks to housetrain your puppy and with

some of the smaller breeds, it might take longer.

 

Establish a Routine

 

Housebreaking starts with training yourself to stick with a schedule.

 

Like babies, puppies do best on a regular schedule. Take your puppy

outside frequently—at first, if possible, the top of every hour or hour and

a half — and immediately after he wakes up from a nap, after playing,

and after eating or drinking.  Praise your puppy lavishly every time he

eliminates outdoors—you can even give him a treat—but remember to

do so immediately after he’s finished eliminating, not after he comes

back inside the house. This step is vital, because rewarding your dog

for eliminating outdoors is the only way he’ll know what’s expected of

him. Try not to take your dog immediately indoors after they eliminate,

if your dog loves to be outdoors you may establish a pattern that

eliminating means outdoor time ends. This may teach your dog to

eliminate only when the dog is ready to go indoors.  Pick only one door

to take the dog outside to potty and take your puppy to that spot using

a leash. If you clean up an accident in the house, take the soiled rags

or paper towels and leave them in the designated potty spot outdoors.

The smell will help your puppy recognize the area as the place he is

supposed to eliminate. While your puppy is eliminating, use a word or

phrase like “go potty” that you can eventually use before he eliminates

to remind him what to do. Putting your puppy on a regular feeding schedule

and feed him a high-quality diet can make housetraining easier.

Depending on their age, puppies usually need to be fed three or four

times a day. Feeding your puppy at the same times each day will make

it more likely that he’ll eliminate at consistent times as well, and that

makes housetraining easier for both of you. 

If you choose to leave food available all the time (Free Feed) this can require

a little more diligence in spotting potty behaviors but less work for you as

they grow and become adults with managing a feeding schedule.  They

learn to eat when they are hungry and in most cases less likely to over eat

because food is always available they do not feel the need to clean the

bowl up.

 

Keep Your Eyes Peeled

 

Don’t give your puppy an opportunity to soil in the house; keep an eye

on him whenever he’s indoors. You can tether him to you with a six-foot

leash, or use baby gates to keep him in the room where you are. Watch

for signs that he needs to eliminate, like sniffing around or circling.

When you see these signs, immediately grab the leash and take him

outside to his potty spot. If he eliminates, praise him lavishly and

reward him with a treat.

 

Confinement

 

It is near impossible to watch your puppy at all times.

When you’re unable to watch your puppy he should be confined to an

area small enough that he won’t want to eliminate there.

They naturally do not want to eliminate where they have to eat or sleep

but they will if they have no other option for this reason frequent

trips to the potty spot are a must.

The space should be just big enough for him to comfortably stand, lie

down, and turn around in. You can use a portion of a bathroom or

laundry room blocked off with baby gates. Or you may want to crate

train your puppy and use the crate to confine him. If your puppy has

spent several hours in confinement, you’ll need to take him directly

to his potty spot as soon as you let him out, and praise him

when he eliminates.

 

Oops!

 

Expect your puppy to have a few accidents in the house—it’s a normal

part of housetraining. Here’s what to do when that happens:

 

When you catch him in the act of eliminating in the house, do something

to interrupt him, like make a startling noise (be careful not to scare him).

Immediately take him to his bathroom spot, praise him, and give him a

treat if he finishes eliminating there.

 

Don’t punish your puppy for eliminating in the house. If you find a soiled

area, it’s too late to administer a correction. Just clean it up. Rubbing

your puppy’s nose in it, taking him to the spot and scolding him, or any

other punishment will only make him afraid of you or afraid to eliminate

in your presence. In fact, punishment will often do more harm than good.

In most cases this will cause your puppy to be a little more sneaky about

accidents in the house and they will find hiding places to eliminate.

 

Cleaning the soiled area is very important because puppies are highly

motivated to continue soiling in areas that smell like urine or feces. It’s

extremely important that you use the supervision and confinement

procedures outlined above to prevent the number of accidents. If you

allow your puppy to eliminate frequently in the house, he’ll get confused

about where he’s supposed to eliminate, which will prolong the

housetraining process.

 

Paper Training

 

A puppy under six months of age cannot be expected to control his

bladder for more than a few hours at a time. If you have to be away

from home more than four or five hours a day, this may not be the best

time for you to get a puppy; instead, you may want to consider an older

dog, who can wait for your return. But if you’re already committed to

having a puppy and must be away for long periods of time, you’ll need

to make arrangements for someone, such as a responsible neighbor

or a professional pet sitter, to take him outside to eliminate.

 

Or you’ll need to train him to eliminate in a specific place indoors. Be

aware, however, that doing so can prolong the process of housetraining.

Teaching your puppy to eliminate on newspaper may create a lifelong

surface preference, meaning that even as an adult he may eliminate on

any newspaper lying around the living room. When your puppy must be

left alone for long periods of time, confine him to an area with enough

room for a sleeping space, a playing space, and a separate place to

eliminate. In the area designated as the elimination area, use either

newspapers or a sod box.

 

To make a sod box, place sod in a container such as a child’s small

plastic swimming pool. You can also find dog litter products at a pet

supply store. If you clean up an accident in the house, put the soiled

rags or paper towels in the designated elimination area. The smell

will help your puppy recognize the area as the place where he is

supposed to eliminate.

 

 

 

Home Page