Speedy, reliable potty training might be the most common request of every new puppy owner. Luckily it is not as daunting a task as it might seem but it requires consistency and commitment on your part. We compiled the most important rules & tips for you and your pup to be successful with this as soon as possible!
1. Establish a Routine
Take your puppy out frequently. A general rule of thumb is that a puppy can hold it for as many hours as she is months old plus one. Pick a spot outside and always take your puppy to that spot. While your puppy is relieving themselves, use a specific word or phrase that you can eventually use before they go to remind them what to do. (for example, “Go Potty!”) Go for a longer walk or some playtime always after they have eliminated and never before.
Cherish their successes: whenever they do it outside and praise them verbally and reward them with treats right after it happened.
Set a daily feeding schedule, because what goes into a puppy on a schedule comes out of a puppy on a schedule. 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 they’ll eliminate at consistent times as well, making house training easier for both of you.
Remove water 2h before bedtime to minimize chances of an accident happening during night time. Most puppies can sleep for approximately seven hours without needing a bathroom break. If you see that your puppy can’t, try to get up once during the night. It won’t be for long, don’t worry!
2. Keep an eye on them
Supervise your puppy as much as you can, to catch accidents before they happen. When you are at home but busy running around the house, attach the little one to you with a leash or crate them for short amounts of time. The space should be just big enough to comfortably stand, lie down and turn around, otherwise your puppy might have accidents in there.
Watch for signs that your puppy needs to go out: barking, scratching at the door, squatting, restlessness, sniffing around or circling. When you know them, make sure to immediately grab the leash and take your puppy outside to their bathroom spot. If they eliminate, praise them and reward with a treat.
3. Accidents Happen
Whenever you catch them in the act, interrupt your puppy with a startling noise (don’t scare them though) and immediately take them to their bathroom spot. Praise your pup and give a treat if they finish there.
When it’s too late, just clean it up. It’s too late and whatever you do won’t help the learning process.
Don’t get mad. Yelling or punishment will only make them afraid of you or afraid to eliminate in your presence so they will do it secretly.
Make sure to clean the soiled area thoroughly. Puppies are highly motivated to continue soiling in areas that smell like urine or feces. There are a number of great cleaning products to remove stains and odor from floors and carpets.
4. Make plans for when you’re not around
Ideally have a friend or family member watch your puppy when you’re not around and give them the above instructions. If that is impossible, get pee pads and a pee pad holder for your puppy to eliminate on while you’re not at home. If you have to clean up an accident outside the pads, make sure to transfer some urine odor on the pads afterwards to help your puppy recognize the scented area as the place where they are supposed to eliminate.
5. Be patient
Be realistic in your expectations: Potty training can take 4-6 months for your puppy to be fully house trained. It may seem like an eternity but it’s only a small sacrifice for all the puppy cuteness and all the love, fun and companionship you will share in the coming years.
Do you struggle with house training an older dog? Next weeks blog will continue with potty training tips for adult dogs!