Bringing a new puppy into the home can be a great occasion and fun for the whole family. A puppy is a warm, loving, loyal and playful little companion. But along with all the fun comes the mess a puppy is sure to bring as well. Specifically, when the puppy needs to go to the bathroom. Let’s talk about potty training.
All puppies undoubtedly need some training, and potty training a puppy can take ample time and patience. Some puppies are very quick to learn, while others require more training.
Potty training a puppy is something everyone in the family should take part in. This helps to ensure both consistency and the ability to track the puppy’s behavior to see how well and quickly it is learning.
The Puppy Potty Training Process
Potty training a puppy does not need to be an overly difficult task. Following a few simple tips and setting a potty training schedule for your puppy can make this task a lot easier.
The first step is to watch your puppy’s behavior, making note of how it acts before it needs to go to the bathroom. This is easy if there is always a family member around to watch the puppy. If not, you may want to crate train your puppy to keep them contained when no one is around, or when everyone is sleeping at night. This will help to ensure that the puppy does not defecate or urinate on the floor or carpet of your home. Common behaviors exhibited by puppies before they need to go are sniffing, circling, erect tail, or even squatting.
Once you have taken note of the puppy’s potty dance, you can act accordingly. When you sense that they need to go to the bathroom, put them on a leash and take them for a walk or place them on potty pads. Make sure they remain in the designated bathroom area until they have done their business. However, if they do not eliminate within five to ten minutes, you may want to bring them back in, and then try again in a little bit. Once your puppy does its business, give it a reward in the form of a treat and verbally praise them for a job well done.
Use a 4-6′ leash, stand in one spot, and ask your puppy to “GET BUSY” (or your choice of potty command). If the puppy goes to the bathroom, praise the puppy both verbally and with a treat. If the puppy doesn’t eliminate within 10 minutes, bring the pup back inside and confine them to a small area, preferably their kennel. Set a timer for 10 minutes and try again. Continue this pattern until the puppy understands that going outside on a leash means time to go potty.
Over time, the puppy will begin to associate the need to go to the bathroom with the act of going outside or over to the potty pads. You can help reinforce this message by giving the dog treats immediately after they defecate or urinate in the designated area. Timing is very important for the dog to make the proper association.
A young puppy will have to go to the bathroom within 10 minutes after eating or drinking. Set your timers!
Set a Puppy Potty Training Schedule
As you are potty training your puppy, you can also try to set a schedule for them to avoid having to take your puppy out at inopportune moments. Eventually, your dog will become accustomed to your schedule and will begin to settle into the routine that you have established.
But remember, there are still specific times when your dog will definitely have to go: First thing in the morning, after mealtime or a large drink of water, and after being in the kennel for an extended length of time. Set your dog up for success by recognizing these moments and building them into your routine.
Other things to Know When Potty Training a Puppy
If the puppy goes in the house when no one is around to see it, do not scold the puppy. Contrary to popular belief, showing the dog what it has done and yelling at it does not make the dog understand that it did anything wrong. Too much time has passed and the association cannot be made.
If you happen to catch the dog in the act, use a negative marker word and take the dog outside or place it on the potty pad. Negative markers are used in operant conditioning to let the animal know they have made a mistake. The most common negative markers are “NO” and “NOPE”, at PET DEGREE, we use the marker “EH EH”.
Before taking your puppy out to play, try to get it to go to the bathroom first. They may try to entice you to play, but you should avoid doing so until it has done its business, unless you are certain it does not need to go.
Being consistent is very important, as is praising the dog whenever it has done as it should. Make sure that other members of your family are also aware of these important puppy potty training tips so that everyone is on the same page. If everyone treats the puppy in a similar fashion, it will help to facilitate the puppy potty training process and ensure that the puppy learns as quickly as possible.