Puppy Potty Training Tips
Bringing a new puppy home can be very exhilarating, but also overwhelming. You need to set boundaries and become familiar with your dog immediately. Dogs learn constantly and you have to be consistent in what your expectations are. Puppy potty training can be very challenging and seem never-ending. Do not get discouraged, I will share with you 5 suggestions that work. Anyone that has a puppy now or in the past can relate to what you are going through. Most dogs develop their behaviors in the first few weeks. To ensure they are developing appropriate manners introduce them properly to their new home. Potty training is not as hard as it seems, if you follow a few simple guidelines.
- Take Them to Potty Often Puppies have small bladders and cannot hold their pee very long. The smaller the dog the more frequently they will use the bathroom. Example a Chihuahua cannot hold their bladder as long as a German Sheppard. Typically, a puppy can hold their bladder one hour per month of age. In the beginning, you should set an alarm at night and take them to potty. The less accidents they have, the more successful their training will be.
- Choose a Designated Area Always take them to the same spot in your yard and tell them to “go potty”. Do not let them run around when it is potty time. They will quickly realize that they need to potty outside in their spot, not in your house. Find a spot with minimal distraction when you begin their training. Puppies get distracted easily, so it is important for them to understand why they are there. You should not stay outside more than 15 minutes with them each time. If they do not use the bathroom take them inside and put them in their crate or watch them closely. Try again every 15-20 minutes until they use the bathroom. When your puppy uses the bathroom outside tell them “good boy/girl” or whatever keyword you choose. Immediately reward them with a treat while praising them. Everyone likes praise and puppies thrive on positive reinforcement. Do not wait until you go back inside to reward them! They will not understand why they are getting a treat, which can increase the length of potty training.
- Patience Potty training does not happen overnight, so patience is a virtue. Your puppy can sense when you are frustrated, then they become frustrated. Your puppy will tell you when they need to potty, you have to learn your puppy and their behavior. Common signs are:
- Hiding in a corner
- Going to the door
If you see any of these behaviors, take them out ASAP! They also need to potty after playing, when they wake up, before bed, after they eat or drink, or if they get excited. Keep a leash at the door along with treats. The more accidents they have the more confused they become about where they need to use the bathroom. Consistency is the secret to positive results. Make sure you continue their schedule until they are 100% trained. Ensuring their positive behavior is embedded in their mind is essential to them being fully housetrained. Never leave your puppy unsupervised. Think of your puppy as a two-year-old child. They cannot be left alone. This is for their safety and their progression in training.
- Schedule Having your puppy on a schedule teaches them your expectations. I do not recommend leaving food or water down for them to have unlimited access to. Feeding them is a bonding experience and it teaches your dog when they can expect to eat. Proper scheduling their food, snacks, and water sets their little bodies on a potty schedule. You can give them as much water as they need, just watch them and take them outside shortly afterwards. If they have unlimited access to food and water, it leads to more accidents. If you are unaware that they are eating or drinking, you might not catch them in time to take them outside. Puppies potty quick inside the house and the more accidents the harder the training becomes.
- How to Handle Accidents All puppies have accidents, some until they are a year old. Every dog is different. When they use the bathroom in your house, be calm and verbally tell them no and redirect them outside to their spot. If they finish using the bathroom outside reward and praise them for their good behavior. Never punish them or rub their nose in it! Clean up the accident ASAP with a sanitizing pet-safe cleaner. A dog can smell their urine or feces even after we have eliminated the smell for us. They naturally return to the spot they marked their territory in. That’s why it is imperative that they use the bathroom outside in their designated area.