Potty training dogs is one of the most important first steps in training a new puppy. Nothing is more frustrating than coming home to a ruined rug, or a mess on the carpet after a long day at work. In fact, failing to potty train puppies the correct way is one of the leading causes to why families give their puppies up for adoption. This is why it is crucial to know what you are getting in to, and have a plan already in place for when you bring your new puppy home. The sooner that you begin this process, the better, and you won’t have to worry cleaning up little (or big) accidents on day to day basis.
Potty Training Dogs: 5 Steps
Step 1: Select a Training Technique That Will Work Best For You
There are three different techniques that you may use when it comes to potty training dogs: kennel training, frequently bringing your puppy outside, and paper training.
Using a kennel in the potty training process is a huge tool and can help you in more ways than one. First of all, if you decide to use this technique on your new puppy, make sure you acquaint them to their kennel first and make sure they are comfortable being in there. It is not like they’ll be left in there all day, but you also don’t want their anxiety levels rising because that could cause them to eliminate in their kennel anyways, and it’s not always pleasant to clean up afterwards. The reason using a kennel is an effective tool is because puppies are clean animals, and then enjoy keeping their living space clean as well. By this logic they’ll be sure to whine or scratch at the door of their kennel to let you know that they need to be let outside to do their business. If you use this technique, make sure that your puppy’s kennel isn’t too big so that they feel comfortable doing their business in one end of the kennel, and then laying down on the other end. You want to make sure that their crate is only big enough for them to stand up, turn around, and lay down in.
Another technique you could try is setting up a schedule of times throughout the day to let your dog outside to go to the bathroom. Daily events that you want to let your dog out during the day for include: when you wake up in the morning, after you feed them a meal, after playtime, after naps or long time periods of being in their kennel, after chewing on a toy or bone, and before you head to bed at night. If you start this idea of a schedule and your dog becomes familiar with it, it will also be beneficial to hire a dog-sitter to keep your dog on schedule for the days you are either away from home or at work and unable to follow through with the schedule you’ve developed.
Training your puppy to eliminate on a puppy pad can be a little difficult, but they are also incredibly beneficial in certain situations. It can be tricky to train your dog to only eliminate in certain areas of the house on the puppy pad, and outside as well. Although, for dog owners who are unable to make frequent trips home throughout the day to let their dogs outside to relieve themselves, or for small dogs who live in harsh winter climates and have a difficult time going to the bathroom during the winter months, by using a puppy pad it makes it easier for them to relieve themselves. If you use this technique be sure to teach them specifically where their puppy pad is, and don’t move it from that spot once they’ve used it. If you move their pad after they’ve used it in the house, they may still smell their scent in that area and tend to do their business with or without the pad being there.
Step 2: Observe Your Puppy’s Patterns
After you’ve chosen a technique that you’d think would work best for you and your puppy, go ahead a try it for a few weeks and observe your dogs patterns and reactions towards the technique you’ve picked. If you find that your dog isn’t adapting quite right to what you are trying to train them to do, then it may be time to switch to more simple technique. Keep in mind that it may take a few weeks to completely train your puppy, so keeping your patience is a crucial task in this operation.
Step 3: Watch What You Are Feeding Your Puppy
When you bring your dog out to do their business, it always counts to take a look at their stool once in a while to make sure that everything is flowing through their digestive system properly. If they tend to always have especially smelly, or coarse looking stool, it may be time to check in with your vet about different types of food options. Overfeeding your dog may also lead to frequent cases of diarrhea, so that is another thing you want to look out for, especially in the potty training process because we all know how big of a pain it is to clean up.
Step 4: Let Your Puppy Know When They Do a Good Job
A huge key factor is potty training dogs is all in the positive reinforcement that you provide for them. When they successfully whine in their crate to let you know that they need to be let outside to use the bathroom, praise them on their way in to encourage this kind of behavior. Praising your puppy for good behavior is much more effective than disciplining them for the wrong behavior. Especially if it’s after the fact of what they’ve done, if you try to punish them, they won’t know what they are getting in trouble for and only get mega confused at you.
Step 5: Staying Consistent and Having Patience is All it Takes
Potty training dogs is always a different experience for everyone. Some dogs take longer than others, especially if the ages of the dogs vary greatly. It will take considerably longer for a 6-month old dog to learn a new potty training technique than one of only 9 or 10 weeks. As long as you stay consistent in the training process (and by “consistent” we mean not taking breaks from training every other day) and have a great amount of patience, the entire training process will come together and pay off in the long run. This will be a skill that your puppy will use for the rest of their lifetime.
A Few Mistakes You Need to be Sure That You Don’t Make While Potty Training
A common mistake that many dog owners tend to make is not cleaning up messes 100% after your dog has accidentally wet themselves on the carpet or on your furniture. By owning a new puppy you’re bound to have a couple of accidents here and there, there’s no doubt about it. Although, if you clean it up properly your dog won’t go back to that same spot, smell their scent, and feel as though it’s okay to eliminate in that same place again.
If you start to pursue a new training technique, don’t drop it after a few days of trying. Potty training dogs will not always be sunshine and rainbows and will definitely be difficult at times, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to quit. If you drop, or take frequent breaks from training, your puppy(s) will never learn and only carry on with the awful habit of having accidents all over the house and on furniture. Not only will their habit continue, but they will also think it’s okay to continuously to do.
Owners of small dog breeds (such as a Chihuahua, Yorkie, Terriers, etc.) who often force their dogs to hold their bladders for long amounts of time will often come home to find small accidents around the house. This becomes a big problem when you leave little dogs alone all day, with nowhere to go to the bathroom. One, they will think that it’s the normal thing to do. Two, they have no choice because their bladders are a lot smaller than those of larger breeds and simply can’t cross their legs for that long. This is why trainers suggest using the puppy pad training technique on smaller dogs for days the owner gets caught up at work, or leaves their home for a significant amount of time. Another way to prevent accidents from happening around the house while you’re away is to hire a daily dog walker to take your dog out or for a walk several times a day when you are unable to.