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Puppy Potty Training Guide

Congrats on adopting your new puppy. One you have your dog’s name down, the next big task is getting them house broken -yay! 🙂

Here’s how we’ve potty trained puppies or older non-housebroken dogs we’ve fostered.

The Fastest Puppy Potty Training Method

ONE: Establish feeding and potty break times, and stay consistent.

Dogs learn by repetition. If you’re not sticking to the rules, the dog won’t know how to either. And if you’re feeding him on a regular basis, he’ll eliminate on a regular schedule.

During house-training, puppies should be taken out:

  • every hour
  • 5-10 minutes after every meal
  • after every nap
  • first thing in the morning (run out there!)
  • last thing before bed
  • before they are left alone or confined in their crate/room

TWO: Between potty breaks watch your puppy like a hawk.

Know exactly where your dog is at all times. If you have a very young puppy or just got your dog, tying him to a long leash attached to your hip can be a good idea for the first week.

Once he gets the idea of going to the bathroom outside, slowly give him more freedom (let him go off leash around the house, give him full range of the fenced-in kitchen, etc.)

If he start displaying signs that he has to go number 1 or 2, take him outside ASAP – you won’t have a lot of time. Signs that he has to go pee/poop include:

  • pacing, circling
  • smelling the ground
  • staying close to the exit door
  • leaving the room suddenly
  • whining, crying

THREE: When you go outside…

  • go to the same general area each time
  • use word association (see Tip #5 below)
  • after he’s eliminated, praise him/give him irresistible treats – go over the top here!
  • some dogs like to walk around first before going potty, that’s normal.

FOUR: When you come back from a successful potty break…

  • reward your puppy with play and at least 10-15 minutes of free-time out of his crate.

FIVE: If you catch your puppy in the middle having an accident…

  • clap twice (not too loud, just enough to startle him)
  • he’ll usually stop mid-stream
  • run outside and have him finish there, praise him like crazy for finishing outside.
  • If he doesn’t finish its OK, its just important to go outside right away.
  • come back, let your puppy roam freely for at least 10-15 minutes, and clean up the mess – do not punish your dog for it. Just clean it up and move on.
  • REMEMBER: Do not punish or clap if you did not catch him in the act. He will not understand why you are mad if he did something second/minutes ago.

Eight Important Tips on Potty Training Your Dog

  1. The biggest concept to remember in potty training is … patience. Dogs pick up on energy. If you become frustrated, it will only confuse your dog and delay results.
  2. Never punish a dog for having an accident. No one likes stepping in poop or cleaning pee out of an area rug – but it’s important to not react. If you yell or put him in his crate, he’ll have no clue what it was for and it just confuses him. Plus, he’ll associate his crate with being a negative place. Never hit your dog. This includes putting his or her face in accidents. That does not work and is cruel.
  3. Make sure your puppy gets enough breaks. You do not want to force him/her to hold it for too long. That’s setting the puppy up for failure and could damage its organs if winds up holding it for too long.   How long can a dog “hold it”?   Typical rule is take their age in months, add one, and that’s how many hours the dog can safely hold its urine.(For example, a 3-month-old puppy can hold it for 4 hours – max.). This is different at night when they are less active. Most should last a typical 7-8 hour night, but sometimes it takes 3-4 months until a puppy can hold it through the entire night.
  4. Reward, reward, reward! This is the fun part. Go nuts rewarding your puppy when he goes to the bathroom. Happy words of praise, a pet or a healthy treat immediately after he’s done goes a long way. Always keep treats on you. or you can bring a favorite toy for him and give him crazy play time outside after he’s done.
  5. Practice word association. Pick a phrase (“Potty” or something random like “napkin” if you don’t feel like saying “potty” all the time) and say it in a high-pitched, happy voice as he’s doing it. You’ll look and sound like a psycho, but once he associates “potty” or “napkin” with what he’s actually doing, down the road when you’re walking him out in the pouring rain, he’ll know what you mean when you say “Go Potty!” and he’ll do it on command.
  6. Clean accidents up with a enzymatic cleanser so he won’t smell his old accident and try to mark there again.
  7. Do not take the puppy inside immediately after he goes potty. He may learn to hold it when you’re outside so he can stay outside longer. Let him walk, sniff and have fun after he goes to the bathroom.
  8. Keep in mind it takes most puppies up to 6 months to become “officially” potty-trained. You could be good for a few weeks, then notice a puddle on the floor. Puppies take in a lot of food and water (growing!) and learning to “hold it” takes time. Accidents will happen, clean them up, stay positive and move on.

Next, find out best chew toys for dogs, best dog food for chihuahuas, best dog food for beagles, best large dog beds, best hand vacuum for pet hair, best cordless vacuum for pet hair, best toys for bored dogs and discover the mental stimulation dog toys.

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Good luck! And please leave us comments on how it went.
Thanks for stopping by! –Meaghan