Puppy Potty Training 101

Posted on Posted in Dog Training Tips & Advice

Step 1:  Understand the type of dog or puppy you have brought home.

How old is your new dog?  There is a rule of thumb in the beginning days of puppy potty training that your new puppy can only hold their urine 1 hour for every month they are old.  If you have an eight week old puppy they should be let them out to potty every two hours the first few days.
What breed of dog do you have?  Your miniature and Tea cup breeds require a little more patience with house breaking as they have such small bladder’s and bowels.

Step 2:  Make sure carpets and floors have been sanitized prior to new dog coming home.

Many dog owners have multiple pets or have had pets in the recent past, make sure to sanitize any accidents previous family members have had.  If puppies or new dogs smell old urine they are likely to potty there as well.
Puppies have a hard time understanding the difference between carpet and grass. Dogs are contextual learners so the feel of carpet is similar to the feel of most grass on their feet; don’t be surprised if they always find carpets or rugs to potty on.  Don’t worry this can be fixed with schedules and consistency.

Step 3:  Purchase a crate.

The crate should only be big enough for your dog to stand and turnaround.  You do not want to put a small dog in a huge crate.  This will result in the dog messing in the back corner and then laying on the opposite side to get away from the mess.
Crates are not punishment; most dogs have a natural desire to rest in enclosed areas.  Feed your dog in the crate; give those treats and appropriate toys for crate time.  The end result is that most dogs do not want to potty where they eat and sleep.
Crates teach dogs how to hold their urine and bowels.  You will see that when playing or in motion puppies have little control over the urge to go to the bathroom as their organs are still developing.
Warning:  Do not leave your dog in the crate too much or they will never understand when they are to be let out.  You have to maintain a strict schedule for the first few months.  Dogs left in crates too long will prolong puppy potty training issues and also your dog may develop anxiety and other destructive behaviors.

Step 4:  You will have to break your puppy in the middle of the night

Those first few nights will be lots of crying and whining. You must learn the cries of your puppy.  When they are frantic it’s usually because they have to potty.
Once they come in from their potty break, put them back in the crate. Ignore the whining or you will start a vicious cycle of constant whining and barking. This behavior typically only last a few nights so be strong!

Step 5:  Go in and out of the same door and sit or lead the puppy to the same spot in the yard.

If you would like your dog to use the same area in your yard for easier scooping you must hand walk your dog to the spot every time they go outside for potty breaks. This process may take several weeks of hand walking until they fully understand.
Puppies and dogs need routines so using the same door if very helpful in limiting confusion over where the dog needs to go. In time your puppy may have accidents near the door that you take them in and out of.  This is a good problem; they are starting to understand where to go.

Step 6:  Be patient

Dogs and puppies will have set backs.  Whether they get an upset stomach, or gorge themselves on water, these things will happen.
Don’t yell or spank your dog for potty training issues.  Like humans dogs will not all learn with or understand as quickly as past dogs we have had.  Yelling or spanking for something they don’t understand will only cause future behavioral issues.  Typically when a dog has an accident it is the result of the humans not staying on schedule or not paying attention.
If you have an older dog that constantly urinates in the house you should always check for a medical problem first. Second talk to a professional dog trainer to discuss if it’s possibly a behavior issue like marking.

 

 

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