How To Potty Train A Puppy
It’s an exciting time when you bring a new puppy home, but a new pack member also comes with additional challenges and responsibilities. Like How To Potty Train A Puppy, so don’t let the fun and excitement of the new arrival misdirect you from ensuring your new pack member starts off on the right paw. Potty training a puppy is not as daunting as it might seem, but It does require consistency and commitment on your part. The goal is to instill good habits in your dog and build a happy, healthy, and balanced relationship with them.
How Long Does Potty Training Take
It typically takes 4-6 months for a puppy to be fully house trained, but some puppies may take up to a year. Size can be a factor. For instance, smaller breeds have smaller bladders and higher metabolisms require more frequent trips outside. Your puppy’s previous living conditions can also be a factor. You may find that you need to help your puppy break old habits in order to establish more desirable ones.
During the potty training period, don’t worry too much about setbacks and don’t discipline them for accidents. As long as you continue a management program and schedule that includes consistency, taking your puppy out at the first sign he needs to go, and offering him or her rewards as soon as they eliminate, they will learn.
When to Begin Potty Training your Puppy
It is recommended that you learn how to potty train your puppy when he or she is between 8 and 12 weeks old. At that point, they have enough control of their bladder and bowel movements, to learn to hold it. If your puppy is older than 12 weeks when you bring him home and he or she has been eliminating in a cage (and possibly eating their waste), house training may take longer. You will have to rehabilitate the dog’s behavior from scratch with plenty of encouragement and rewards.
There are a few things we need to understand and prepare ourselves for when it comes to potty training dogs.
- praise and
Space | Baby Steps
The less space or real estate your dog has, in the beginning, the better, as long as they have enough room to turn around and lay down comfortably. If you have a large breed puppy that will get much larger in time, you may want to consider a crate that has a center divider so that it will grow with your puppy. Like the one shown in the image to the left.
As dogs naturally don’t want to soil their own den, keeping the area as small as possible in the beginning will encourage them to work on holding it in. Remember just like other things, Patrice makes perfect, and if you don’t use it you lose it.
The Den How To Potty Train A Puppy
Many new dog owners cringe at the idea of confining their precious puppies in a crate, but the reluctance to use this tool generally evaporates after a few days of living with a new puppy, especially if the new dog or puppy has seemingly limitless energy. Crates make life easier. It’s a good idea to get your dog accustomed to one for many reasons, such as vet visits, travel, convalescence, and safety.
We start with a crate only, preferably in a corner of a small room. After a few weeks of being accident-free, we can add a sectional exorcise pen(or the like), around the crate to enlarge your dog’s real-estate, but don’t make the porch much larger than the den itself. Remember baby steps.
Keep the crate door open when your close by so they can have access to their new porch once they earn it, as well as their den, and crate them inside with the door closed while you’re away or sleeping. It’s important to remember that puppies can only hold it for a short time, so if you must leave the house for any length of time you are going to want to have a friend, neighbor, or K9 service provider to come and take them for a walk or at least to the potty pen which we’ll talk about later in the article.
Then after a few weeks of accident-free front porch allowance, we can remove the exercise pen and allow them to still have their den in one corner of the room for comfort, but in addition, they can now have the entire room to explore.
With the same baby steps line of thinking, you can slowly introduce your dog/s to other rooms in the house, but only to rooms in which they will be allowed. Remember Rules, boundaries, limitations are important, so there should be places where they are not permitted, whether the door is open or not. You may want to employ the use of a pet or baby gate, in the beginning, to keep them out of certain areas.
There’s a very good reason for training in this way, as it not only helps with potty training, but it also teaches the dog/s that the house belongs to the humans, and only a small portion of said house is allowed to the dog/s.
If you were to let your little buddy go anywhere they want right off the bat, you are telling the dog/s that all this belongs to him or her and that they can do whatever they wish with it, oh and they will. In other words, they will likely not appreciate or respect you or your home. Which is the point where most of the bad behaviors in the home start, and where being the Pack Leader goes right out the window.
In Order for our dogs to see us as The Pack Leader, and for all connections, communications, and training to go as efficiently as possible, we must implement rules, boundaries, limitations, a training regiment, and feeding time, on a schedule, right from the get-go. If you wait till bad behaviors arise now they can be much harder and more time consuming to work out later.
As I always tell my clients, stop it at level 1 so it never gets to level 10.
Use The Leash
keep your puppy on a short leash. Keeping your best bud on a leash, even while indoors, allows you to move more freely while still keeping a close eye on your puppy.
With your dog on a leash, you can move from room to room and keep your puppy with you. This way, there will never be a time when your puppy is out of site during potty training. Having the dog already on a leash also means that you can get to them more quickly in order to take them outside when necessary.
This will also give you a head start with leash training, as before you even go out for a walk in public, your little buddy will already understand that they are to be at your side at all times during the walk.
For Their Comfort
In the wild, a pack will search for a den that’s just big enough for them all to cuddle up together in, so they can stay warm and safe. If the den they choose is too large, has too high of a ceiling, or is facing into the wind, it will be hard for them to stay warm on cold nights. In this same line of thinking, placing a blanket or cover over your dog’s den so that it covers all but the bottom portion of one side, can cut down on drafts and lost body heat, while still allowing them to see out. A blanket can go a long way in making a crate feel like a den, helping them feel much more comfortable and relaxed while spending time in their crate, and don’t forget to give them something soft to lay on.
Timing Will Tame
Feeding time and the inevitable elimination time thereafter are very important when trying to prevent accidents. As well as realizing that adult dogs only need 2 meals a day and far fewer potty breaks, whereas puppies need 3 to 5 smaller meals a day and therefore many more potty breaks.
Puppies potty breaks should be right after
- waking up
- play time
- crate time
- chewing a toy
- or bone
- drinking and
- the last thing to be done before bedtime.
Pay close attention to how long they can play or be active until they need to eliminate. Once you see that it takes say 45 minutes of play before they have to go, now you know you must take them out every 45 minutes. Their bladder schedule will increase over time, so blend with it as it changes.
Control Their Diet
Puppies have immature digestive systems, so they can’t really handle a lot of food. That’s why it is recommended that you break up the feedings into 3 to 5 small meals. Another thing to keep in mind is the food itself, which should be the highest quality. Whatever you choose, make sure it agrees with your puppy.
Examining their stool is the best way for an owner to figure out whether it’s time for a change in diet. If your puppy is consistently producing stools that are bulky, loose, and stinky, it may be time to talk to your vet about switching to a new food. Overfeeding may also provoke a case of diarrhea, which will only make the task of house-training that much more difficult.
Breed specific Behaviors
Understand your puppy‘s particular breed behavior and needs as well. Research your dogs breed traits and special needs or any behavior that you should be aware of and look out for. For example, If your puppy is a tiny little chihuahua, their bladder will be very small and they will need to urinate more frequently. Accidents will happen with this and similar breeds even if they are well trained.
Although most dogs are highly intelligent, they don’t think like we do. It is often a problem when we expect them to understand simple commands or to tell you that they need to pee or poo. For this reason, you must be willing to understand how they communicate with us and study the clues they give and get from you.
It’s Poddy Time
Now let’s talk about how to structure each potty break. Going out and relieving themselves should be a rewarding experience every dog should enjoy. Do not interrupt your dog if they are doing their business where you want them to. Allow them time to relax, loosen up and relieve themselves naturally.
A sectional exorcise pen is a great tool here as well. What we want to do, is set one up a potty pen out in your yard and again consistency is key, so keep it in the same place every time. Shortly after each feeding time, play time or waking up, you will want to take your dog out to the elimination area and stay outside with them until they eliminate.
Keep Em’ Close
Always be with them during potty breaks. Be aware of them so you know when they go, but pretty much ignore them and don’t give any attention, affection, or fun playful energy until they have completed eliminating. Administer affection, IE a loving pet or a treat immediately after, and in the place where they successfully eliminated. Do not take them back inside and then give them the treat. Being consistent with immediate affection in the potty pen will give them an emotional incentive to do their business in the correct place.
If they do not eliminate after several minutes, then place them right back into their den for about 20 minutes or until they are showing signs of having to go. Then take them back out to the elimination area, and again stay with them until they go and praise right after.
learn to recognize when your puppy needs to go out. Most puppies will sniff the ground when they’re getting ready to potty, but there are many other more signals that happen prior to sniffing. Puppies that pace, seem distracted and walk away during playtime are signals that they have to go. If your puppy tries to sneak out of the room, take a potty break right away.
Clean up accidents right away
Use an enzymatic cleaner, not one that contains ammonia. This will help to get rid of the odor and the dog’s attraction to the area.
Urine has a strong smell of ammonia that attracts dogs to smell and mark with their own. For the latter, some training pads are sprayed with ammonia to encourage a puppy to go there. You can use white vinegar to counteract the smell of ammonia.
It also helps to teach your puppy a verbal command when you take him outside for a bathroom break. Associating an audible is a great way to gently remind your puppy what he or she needs to do when they’re in the potty pen. It’s a big help during potty training and you can continue to use for the rest of his life.
Pick a phrase like “potty time” or “go ahead” and say it softly right as your puppy eliminates. The phrase you pick is not important, but the consistency in which you use is of the utmost importance. In time your dog will associate the phrase with the act of elimination, so you can say it when your puppy gets distracted and forgets what he or she is supposed to be doing while in the potty pen.
Potty Training an Older Dog
Just because your new dog is old enough to know where to potty, doesn’t mean that he actually does. An adult dog has the necessary muscle control to hold it for longer periods of time, but if no one ever taught him the potty training rules, then it could be hit and miss. Age should not be equated with house-training ability, so it’s a good idea to treat any dog that’s new to your home as if he’s still learning the potty training ropes.
The process is the exact same for older dogs as it is for puppies. Use baby gates and a crate, create a consistent and predictable schedule, learn to recognize your dog’s potty signals, accompany your dog outside and immediately reward for all outdoor elimination, properly clean any accidents and supervise your dog until you’re sure that he or she understands the rules, boundaries, and limitations of the pack.
Despite all of your hard work, there are bound to be accidents. If you catch them in the act, make an abrupt or startling noise to stop it, then quickly bring them outside and give him or her a reward for finishing in the right spot (it’s okay if you take them out and they don’t go). Don’t punish your dog for the accident; simply clean it up with a pet cleaning product with enzymes and ensure to watch him more diligently in the future.
Like I always say, startle them out of it or, annoy them out of it. But obviously, we don’t want to hit or abuse them. Again what noise you use is not important as long as its, quick, sharp, abrupt, or startling. What is important is that you use the same noise every time, (Consistency Is Key). This is also very useful for stopping any bad or unwanted behavior. I like to make a TssT sound as the letter T comes out very sharp and startling. You can also use a can of air which makes a similar sound and works quite well, or put a few pennies or pebbles in a can or bottle and quickly shake it once to get an unwanted behavior to stop.
The Daily Schedule
Keep a consistent daily schedule, IE
- wake up time
- walking time
- feeding time
- training time
- play time
and have potty breaks after each. You should walk your dog for at least 45 minutes every day depending on your dog’s individual needs and energy level.