Potty Training Basics

First, remember the only rule a puppy knows when they enter their new home:
I will not go the bathroom where I immediately sleep, everything else is my toilet and my chew toy.

1) Management

  • Do not allow your dog access to areas where they can not be supervised.
  • If you can not supervise use a crate, exercise pen, or a puppy proofed room.
  • If they do not relieve themselves outside make sure they are on a leash when you reenter the house and try again 15 minutes later.

2) If using a crate for potty training

  • The size of the crate should have enough room for your puppy to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably, but no more.
  • Do not confine a puppy to a crate if you work schedule leaves them in their beyond what their bladders can hold.  Otherwise, this will cause them to go the bathroom where they sleep making their understanding of where to relieve themselves that much harder.
  • If needed attach an exercise pen to the crate so they have room outside of their bed to go to the bathroom.
  • Have a friend, family member, or dog walker take them out at lunch time or the times that are needed.
  • If puppy is whining or barking to get out of the crate wait for a moment of silence before opening the door.
  • Once potty training is said and done with, the crate should be the biggest size you can offer your dog.  It should become their safe haven of comfort, not confinement.
  • Please contact us for further crate training tips.

3) Have a consistent schedule

  • The basic rule of thumb is that the puppy can hold their bladder for the number of their age in months changed into hours when resting in their crate.  For example, a three month old puppy can hold it for three hours. After 3 months add an hour.
  • When awake your puppy should be taken out every hour, when they wake up in the morning and after naps, before bed, shortly after meals, and 20 to 30 minutes after running around.
  • Watch for early indicators that they may have to go the bathroom.  For instance, your dog may start sniffing, circling, pacing, acting distracted, leaving the room, or whining.  When seen get them out to their designated area!
  • When they eliminate in the designated area immediately reward with treats, joy, love, and praise. These means you have to be with your dog!
  • As consistency is seen, after they have gone the bathroom, give more freedom in the house with one puppy proofed room for 15 to 20 minutes.  If progress continues the time span does as well.
  • Keep a journal of times when they go and you will see a schedule!

4) When an accident happens…

  • If you catch them in the act DO NOT scare them!  Interrupt with an “Oops let’s potty outside!”
  • If you do scare them you will teach them that going to the bathroom in front of you is scary, so the next time they have to go they will when you are not looking!
  • When you interrupt them in the act, calmly bring them outside to their designated area and after they finish profusely praise and reward.
  • Keep a journal of when accidents happened to ensure you get them out at those times in the days following.
  • When cleaning up the accident make no fuss and clean it up with an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle.
  • If you find an accident that took place minutes or hours ago, do not fuss, life happens.  Remember, your dog can not connect punishment with something that they did hours or even minutes ago.  First and foremost, learning is in the instant!
  • Any new houses they go to are entirely new areas of exploration, so once again supervise and set them up for success.
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