It's not easy task to adopt a puppy, bring him home and have him adjust to the new environment. One of the most difficult tasks of housebreaking is toilet training puppies, because there are always things that will go wrong. It's just the reality of being a puppy owner.
Many new dog owners make tons of mistakes from the get go, which sets bad habits in young dogs and makes it much more difficult to fix those behavioral issues in an adult dog. To avoid problems in the future, and to make the task of toilet training puppies easier today, it's best to follow some proven tips on how to do this.
If you've just adopted a puppy and looking to go through all the basic puppy training, I recommend you read the below articles and watch those videos:
- 8 Basic Tips for Potty Training a Puppy
- How To Toilet Train A Puppy (step by step video)
- 15 Best Puppy Potty Pads for Toilet Training Dogs
- 7 Reasons You Fail At Housebreaking a Puppy
Those who think they are ready and want to learn all about toilet training puppies will find these ten effective yet very basic tips extremely useful.
10 Tips on Toilet Training Puppies
1. Set Your Expectations
Puppies can't hold it in for very long.
No matter how well you're doing with toilet training puppies using the best techniques, small puppy bladders can only take so much.
Expect that your puppy will need to go at least:
- Once or more an hour when awake
- Within half an hour after meal
- Soon after playtime or exercise
- Very soon after waking up (in the morning, or during the day from naps)
2. Feed on Schedule
What goes in must come out.
A regular feeding schedule usually means a regular bathroom schedule. You can generally expect a potty time within half an hour of meal time, so plan accordingly.
As a bonus, since dogs learn by repetition, setting a consistent routine will make it easier for your puppy to learn the drill.
RELATED: How to housebreak a puppy
3. Work with Mother Nature
Canines quickly learn not to soil their living quarters, because they don't have a human around to clean up their mess. Your puppy will try to avoid soiling her favorite places, like her crate or the corner of the living room she usually plays in. She'll prefer to soil parts of the house that she never uses.
At first, keep puppy contained to a small area of the house. Once she's settled in, she'll think of that area as her den. She'll have to choose between soiling her den and waiting to go outside.
When expanding puppy's den, it's better to go too slowly than too quickly. If you give puppy access to a new room, hang out in there with her, so that she learns to treat it as part of her living quarters. If she starts to treat it as a bathroom, take away access to that room, and try again in a week.
4. Be Consistent
Consistency is prevalent in all types of dog training techniques.
Make bathroom time a ritual. Go to the same spot, use the same doors, walk the same path, give the same commands. These patterns are key to toilet training puppies who are new to your home. Puppy will learn the smells, sights, and sounds of the potty time ritual, and will quickly figure out what you're expecting of her.
Unfortunately, this learning process goes for accidents, too. Puppies can recognize the smell of their previous potty spots, and will assume that they are good for future pottying. You should always clean accidents with an enzyme-based deodorizer. If some location is becoming a habitual accident spot, block off your puppy's access to it.
5. Avoid Yelling
Sticking your pup's nose into their own urine is an outdated method that doesn't work.
Contrary to traditional belief, puppies younger than 4-6 months don't have much capacity to understand punishment. If you yell at your puppy, she doesn't know what she did wrong; she just understands that you're angry for some reason, and that scares her.
Yelling or any other type of negative reinforcement normally doesn't work when toilet training puppies. Praise your puppy every time she goes potty in the right spot. A small treat is a good way of rewarding a job well done.
6. Puppies Learn by Doing
Toilet training puppies is easy once you develop a system. If you happen to catch your puppy part-way through the act, try to interrupt with a loud clap of your hands. If the distraction works, immediately start your potty time ritual.
Try to avoid picking your puppy up to carry her to her bathroom. She won't learn much by having you do all the work. With dogs, it's all about developing patterns through consistency.
RELATED: 11 best dog care tips
7. Know the Signs
It's easy to spot when a puppy who is getting ready to urinate – use those opportunities to teach.
Watch for potty time signals from your puppy: pacing, restlessness, sniffing around, or acting like she's suddenly caught a scent, for instance.
Some puppies are more vocal than others about their needs. You know your dog best, and if you don't – make an effort to learn. Every dog is different, so once you train yourself to understand your pup's behavioral patterns, it will be easier to train her for anything else.
8. Don't Undermine Yourself
Any potty-going patterns you have taught your pup must remain.
When puppy has finished her business outside, don't take her back inside right away. Most puppies love playing outdoors. If she learns that potty time means the end of playtime, she might try to hold it in.
Any dog owner who spends time understanding a dog's behavior will benefit greatly by reducing time it takes to toilet train puppies. Dogs are not as complicated as humans, and putting a training system in place to which you always stick to is the best course of action.
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9. A Happy Puppy is a Good Puppy
When toilet training puppies, pay attention to other needs of your pooch, too. Make sure to take puppy for regular walks, and give her enough social time. A happy, well-exercised puppy learn more quickly than a bored or lonely puppy.
Exercise also stimulates the potty time reflexes, so a nice walk is a good way to trigger bathroom time before you need to leave puppy alone, for instance.
10. Be Patient
Toilet training puppies will take time, and the process itself might potentially get boring and annoying, but you must keep at it.
If progress is slow and accidents are frequent, it can be tempting to change your training plan part-way through. Be patient. Different puppies learn at different rates, but all puppies learn best with consistent feedback.
As a rule of thumb, you should only expect your puppy to be physically capable of holding it in for one hour per month of age. That is, a well-trained four-month-old puppy should still only be left alone for four hours at most.
Although dogs can hold it in longer while asleep than while awake (just like people), keep in mind that younger puppies may need to go during the night. Some puppies might bark or whine to wake you up, but shier puppies might not want to disturb your beauty sleep. If you know your puppy will need to go during the night, set an alarm to wake you up.