If you have ever potty trained a child, you should know that potty training your puppy will be just as challenging, but should take far less time. Puppy potty training helps you not only avoid having to deal with messy “surprises” your pet leaves for you, but it can also help you establish a strong bond with your puppy.
1. Crate train!
One of the best things you can do for your puppy is to crate train him. Dogs do not want to soil their sleeping area, so if you purchase a crate that is only big enough for your dog to lie down in comfortably, it will go a long way in helping you to potty train him. Put your puppy in the crate at night or when you are away from home. Be sure not to buy a crate that is too big. If you do, your dog can relieve himself in a corner and then go back to his sleeping area. This is counterproductive.
Some people think that crate training a puppy is cruel and unusual punishment and that the dog is being forced into confinement. This could not be further from the truth. Crate training your puppy is the most effective way to housetrain him, keep your house safe and mess-free, and increase his sense of security and safety.
Crate puppy training is the best way to allow your pet to feel secure, keep your home from being chewed on, and to help him learn how to control his bladder and bowels. It is not a form of punishment and should not be used as such.
If you punish your puppy by putting him in his crate, you are undoing all of the crate training you have already done. Find another way to discipline your dog, like squirting him with a water bottle or rewarding good behavior. Crate training a puppy is effective and safe: your puppy and your shoes will thank you.
2. Use a puppy potty training chart!
If you keep a record of when your puppy eats and how long after he typically has to relieve himself, it can help you get him outside in time.
3. Be consistent!
Feed your dog and take him outside on a consistent schedule. Also, take him out frequently when he is learning to puppy potty train.
4. Give praise!
This is really important. Make sure you catch your dog doing good things and praise him for it. This encourages him to repeat good behavior. Try to do this instead of punishing negative behavior.
5. Establish his potty territory!
If you have a yard, make sure your dog goes to the same area there to relieve himself. Sometimes dogs get excited to be outside and forget they have to go, but being in that same area will remind him and he’ll do his doggie business quickly. Don’t let him play until he goes because playing is a reward.
6. Accidents will happen!
If your dog doesn’t make it outside and messes inside the house, don’t punish him. He tried. Clean it up and take him outside. Praise him when he goes outside.
7. Start early!
As soon as you get your puppy, take him outside and start the training.
Using these puppy training tips, your dog will soon be letting you know when he has to go outside. It takes time and persistence, but you can do it. You may, however, run into some puppy potty training problems. What do you do then?
8. What if your puppy refuses?
If your dog eliminates inside and refuses to go outside, you could have unintentionally taught him that behavior. This often happens when dogs go and then have their noses rubbed in it or are otherwise punished. If you don’t actually catch your dog soiling the floor, do not punish him. If you wait until after, he won’t understand why he’s being punished. Keep your dog on a regular schedule, don’t punish, and remember to praise. You may also want to read our post “How To Housebreak A Stubborn Puppy“
9. What if your puppy marks his territory?
Some dogs – especially those who are insecure – may mark their territory. If yours does this and is male, consider getting him neutered. You can also make sure you take him outside regularly. Don’t punish him because that may make it worse. You’ll need to build trust with the dog to make sure it feels secure.
10. Submissive urinating?
Submissive urinating is when the puppy pees when he’s upset and excited. This is not controllable and should not be punished. Your puppy should outgrow this by four to seven months.
The most important thing you can do when potty training a puppy is to praise him. Don’t ignore good behavior. This can be a tough period of dog ownership, but it also helps build trust and good relationships with your pet.
If you need puppy potty training help, there are a lot of resources available:
Download Shirlee Kalstone’s excellent eBook: How to Housebreak Your Puppy in 7 Days or Less. It comes with everything you need.