How to Toilet Train a Puppy
Toilet training a puppy may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. With our straightforward training guide, you can learn to set clear routines and encourage consistent behaviour from the start. This will teach your puppy to go outside when they need to, leading to fewer accidents inside the house. So, you can sip your morning Earl Grey tea with the peace of mind that comes from a well-trained puppy. Our guide makes toilet training simple and stress-free for both you and your dog. Remember, consistency is key in this process, and soon enough, you’ll have a house-trained puppy!
Here are some common mistakes people often make when toilet training a puppy:
- Not Using Crates: Some owners may avoid using crates because they think it’s mean. However, dogs are den animals and they need their own shelter that is just enough for them to sit, stand, and turn inside and feel secure. Crate training helps with potty training as dogs won’t relieve themselves and lay down at the same place.
- Using Potty Pads: Potty pads might seem easier but they aren’t worth it. Puppies might not understand the difference between potty pads and rugs or carpets, leading to more accidents. Also, what will you do when you are outside and you don’t have your puppy’s potty pad?
- Not Making a Schedule or Not Consistently Sticking to One: Consistency is key in potty training. If you don’t stick to a schedule, it can confuse your puppy and lead to accidents.
- Not Bonding Enough with Your Puppy: Bonding with your puppy is crucial before starting potty training.
- Assuming Puppies Know Right and Wrong Instantly: Puppies need time to learn. Expecting them to know everything from the get-go can lead to a lot of frustrations.
- Unclear Commands: Instead of saying “Outside!”, “Out“, “Not Here“, use clear and consistent commands.
Remember, every puppy is different and what works for one might not work for another. It’s all about patience and consistency.
Puppies require constant management or supervision until they become toilet trained, so it is necessary to put into place some kind of system so you are always available to take them outside. With their small digestive systems, puppies under 12 weeks old may need to go outside as often as every hour or two while puppies from 12 weeks to 6 months may need to go outside as often every 2-3 hours; setting a feeding schedule will make this easier as you will know when and where they must go outside.
Start Day 1 off right by taking your puppy out every two or more hours while awake, as soon after each feeding as well. Select an outdoor bathroom spot, using cues such as “Need the privy?” or “Let’s go potty” to remind them where they need to go. Carry them to their toilet area, wait until they have relieved themselves before returning back into the house with them, and give a treat as an incentive.
Repeat this routine throughout the day until your puppy can take themselves outside on their own after resting or napping and before eating, drinking, or playing – this will reduce accidents while familiarizing your puppy with toilet training and helping him/her adjust.
The most important thing is, understand that accidents will still happen, and accidents will likely require you to get up in the middle of the night with your puppy at some point, but with consistency, your pup will soon learn that going potty at night is a special treat – helping them sleep through the nighttime!
Make it a Game
Establishing a schedule and monitoring for signs that your puppy needs to go potty can go a long way toward preventing accidents, but be ready to take them outside when necessary, giving them enough space and time for themselves. Doing so reinforces their learning that this should only happen within their designated potty spot.
When your puppy needs to use the bathroom, use one of your usual cues such as “Go potty”. As they squat down to do their business, give a cue as soon as they begin and carry them directly back to their toilet spot, giving praise and rewards as soon as they’ve finished to reinforce this behaviour.
Keep in mind that it is normal for puppies to experience accidents when first arriving home, particularly during their initial fear period at around eight weeks of age – this period is entirely natural and should pass quickly.
To prevent this from happening, be sure to take your puppy outside to their potty spot after every activity – including playtime and training sessions – as well as after eating or drinking water. This gives them ample chances to go potty correctly while giving them time to establish patterns.
Rather, simply say something firm like, “NOPE,” without sounding too harsh, and take them outside to their toilet spot immediately so they have time to finish using it. If this occurs again, do not punish your child as this will only serve to further disorient them. Instead, give a firm yet gentle word of reprimand like this, such as clapping or saying the word out loud before taking them directly outside to use their designated spot in a timely manner.
Your puppy should go outside to pee and/or poop regularly, whether with or without an accident, so make sure that you’re there so you can praise them for doing it correctly. Avoid punishing an accident even if caught, as this could create negative associations and make your pup fearful to try again. Instead, clap your hands or gently take their collar and lead them directly towards the toilet area where you can whisper an association between pottying (such as “go potty”) and giving immediate praise or treats when they finally do go potty; be sure that after each time, an enzymatic cleaner should reduce smells in that area as soon as possible!
Keep consistency top of mind as the key to toilet training your puppy quickly. Be prompt in taking them outside for bathroom trips after eating/drinking/playtime as soon as they emerge from their crate or confinement area; at least every 30 minutes during the day take your puppy outside to their designated spot!
If you must leave home for any reason, it is a wise idea to arrange for someone else (such as a friend or professional pet sitter) to assist with toilet training your dog. Do not allow your pup to eliminate inside the home as this will confuse them and extend the toilet training process.
During their first few days, you should always keep an eye on their puppy to prevent him or her from escaping and trying to relieve themselves elsewhere. Also, confine them at nighttime so they won’t wake during sleep trying to relieve themselves and disrupt it!
Remember, your puppy is still young! Even if they are eliminating outside on a consistent basis, accidents may still happen when overexcited when you come home; or because they haven’t connected the dots between going outside and relieving themselves. Don’t punish your pup if an accident does happen inside; that will only teach them fear!
Keep a close eye on your puppy even when they aren’t in their crate – trust is key with them, and knowing when it comes time for poo/peeing! Signs that indicate this need include whining, sniffing around restlessness barking, or scratching at doors (if unconfined). If any of these symptoms appear, make sure they get outside immediately or consider bell training which allows your pup to communicate this need through bells as an effective form of communication between themselves and themselves.
If your puppy is caught mid-action, clap loudly to stop them in mid-action before gently transporting them back to their confinement area and calling or picking them up by the collar. Once there, don’t immediately take them back out into their elimination area as this teaches them that going to the potty isn’t fun! Rewarding them when they do the right thing will reinforce and speed up this process.
Keep It Clean
Consistency and repetition are the keys to toilet training your puppy successfully, so ensure they are always managed or supervised, with access to an area designated specifically as potty time.
Stick to a schedule so you can bring out your cat on a consistent basis, such as taking them outside to their spot every hour after feeding (they have small digestive systems!) and taking them back out on their pad or backyard at the same time daily.
Once they’ve peed or pooped in their designated spot, release them for playtime (preferably outdoors if that is safe and they enjoy it) to help teach them that potty breaks equal off-leash fun. Reward their successes with praise and treats to reinforce positive associations rather than creating confusion or reinforcing negative ones.
Clean any accidents immediately with an enzymatic cleaner to minimize odours and teach your pup that going on the floor is wrong. Furthermore, regularly cleaning his living space should help deter repeat performances in the future.
Be patient, consistent, and kind and you’ll quickly have your dog trained! If this is your first experience with dog parenting, don’t hesitate to seek the guidance of a trainer or pet behaviorist – they can offer invaluable assistance with everything from troubleshooting issues, celebrating achievements, or managing multiple puppies simultaneously. Just keep in mind that it takes work but its rewards more than make up for the hassle!