Potty Training Your Puppy
First off the most important thing to remember with any training and especially with potty training is to stay consistent. If you make rules flexible, they will be broken. If you have bought one of my puppies, she has been started with potty training the process should be a little more pain free so to speak. Also remember that you should not expect a puppy to be fully potty trained before he/she is at least 6 months old.
One of the biggest things that aids in potty training is crate training (please see my crate training article). It helps eliminate some of the temptation for a puppy to potty inside your home. Another big thing is the use of potty pads; I hate them after puppies are weaned! I only use potty pads when puppies are under six to seven weeks old. People put them out for their new puppy and wonder why later the dog eliminates inside. Honestly, what is the difference between the feel of carpet and a potty pad? There isn’t a difference! The issue can be eliminated in the early stages of training if the dog doesn’t ever have the option to a pad.
When a litter begins opening eyes and becomes mobile, I put pads out in several spots and the puppies start to associate it with going to the restroom. I slowly make the pad area smaller and most of the time they aim for it. Once the square is down to about 2 square feet, I begin moving it closer towards the doggy door and after they figure out to go outside to relieve themselves, I take it completely away. By making the area smaller and moving it to the doggy door, I am training the puppies, not only to go out the door to potty, but to also eventually go to the grass.
Here is where you come in:
When you get your puppy home, know that AS SOON as she wakes up, she will immediately need to potty. It doesn’t matter how long she has slept, she will always need to potty right away after waking up. Another time, essential to take her out pretty quickly, is any time after she has eaten. Do this about ten to fifteen minutes after eating and play outside for at least thirty minutes so that she can go poop. If she doesn’t poop, take her inside and in another five to ten minutes repeat the process. Don't worry, you will learn her signs and become more adapt at recognizing when she needs to go outside.
Puppies have small bladders and need to pee about every twenty to forty minutes in the first three months of age. After this, you will learn your puppy’s pattern and know when and how long to leave her inside before taking her out to potty. I take my puppies out every twenty minutes and as soon as they potty, they get to come in to play. This makes them enjoy pottying outside because they get to have fun afterwards.
Reward, Reward, Reward! Be sure to reward your puppy with tons and tons of praise as soon as she is squatting to pee or is pooping. Positive reinforcement is the best way to encourage your dog to do what you want. I don’t use treats when they potty, I’d rather save this for commands and such. I like to use praise and very happy verbal cues during potty training.
If you do catch your puppy going potty inside a lot, begin to reprimand even if she’s still currently peeing/pooping. Scare her first and quickly take her outside. Unlike other potty training methods, I would not rub her nose in it unless it is happening a lot. Initially, and early on, the idea is to just scare her, and not necessarily let her know that it’s you scaring her, but rather, that it’s scary to potty inside. I use various ways to scare them when pottying. One favorite is a coffee can with coins inside and I shake it, unless you need a dog that is de-sensitized to loud noises- hunting, service, etc., then do not use this method. then grab her and take her outside. If she peed, clean it up immediately. I like vinegar for this job, as it takes away the smell, then follow the vinegar with water. If she pooped, take the poop outside, leave it in a designated potty place, and show her. Early on, good hygiene of your back yard is good but remember, they will learn to eliminate where poop already exists.
The whole idea is to take your puppy outside often enough so that she never potties inside. If she never has the opportunity to go potty inside, then you won’t have to clean anything and she will automatically associate the outside with pottying. I also do not supply water up to thirty minutes before bed time and always feed at least an hour and a half before. Don't expect your puppy to be fully trained until she starts asking you to go outside to eliminate. Typically, they grasp the concept by 6-8 months of age. Setting up potty bells on your door is one way to allow your pup to tell you when she needs to potty if you don't have a doggy door.
These are simply my tips for being successful and quick with potty training. I advise contacting me or your dog trainer if they are not working. I am always happy to help!