2 Tested Methods to Potty Train Your Puppy: It Can Be Done!
Bringing a new puppy into your family is an exciting time! In between the treats, playtime, and walks, you’ll soon find proper training is necessary, especially potty training. But how do you potty train a puppy? Sometimes it can feel like quite a task. Turn to our step-by-step guide to training your pup right! You’ll find tons of tips, plus two tried-and-tested tactics.
Before You Start to Train Your Puppy, Know This!
Potty Training Is Crucial
A pet that doesn’t know where to go to the bathroom can ruin carpets, floors, walls, furniture, and other items, and lead to frustrated owners. It can also make traveling or boarding your dog tricky. Poor potty training is one of the top reasons puppies are brought to shelters.
Potty Training Takes Patience
This stage in your puppy’s life takes time. You’ll have to draw on your consistency, patience, and commitment. If you don’t follow through on what you know about the training, you’re likely to experience plenty of household accidents, and potty training could take longer than it would have otherwise.
Keeping a schedule is one of the best ways for you to keep track of your dog’s behavior and make sure you’re on top of what your dog needs. Try tacking bathroom breaks onto:
- Meal times
- Other behavioral training
This will help your pup learn their routine and that of your family too!
“How Do I Potty Train My Puppy?”
There are a few different ways to potty train your newest family member. You may want to use a combination of techniques that work for you and your dog. The supplies you’ll need for each tactic will vary, but you should definitely have at least two things:
1. A collar and leash
2. Treats for encouragement!
No matter what tactic you use, follow these seven tips:
1. Keep a schedule for meal times, removing food when your pup is finished eating – This will help regulate his bowel movements.
2. When outside, always take your pup to the same spot to go to the bathroom – He’ll soon learn what going to that spot means.
3. Even in your yard, early on, stay outside with your puppy as he uses the bathroom – This will help him feel safe and stay focused.
4. Have treats ready to give your puppy when he goes to the bathroom in the correct place – Rewarding positive behavior reinforces positive behavior!
5. Never yell at your puppy, punish him, or stick his nose in his waste if he has an accident – This will only cause him to associate you with fear.
6. If you catch your pup in the act inside the house, make a loud noise, such as clapping, to distract him from what he’s doing. Then quickly carry or lead him to the appropriate spot.
7. Regular exercise is a must for any dog, but it can make it easier for them to do their business as well.
Step-by-Step: Crate Training
Experts regularly recommend keeping your puppy in a smaller space than your entire home, such as a room, until he’s comfortable in his new atmosphere and trained to go to the bathroom outside. A crate is the perfect solution for this because dogs are den animals and love the comfort of their own space.
Dogs don’t like soiled homes, just like you don’t like your home to feel cluttered or dirty. After time in his crate, your puppy will see it as his “home” and be reluctant to relieve himself inside it.
Supplies for Crate Training:
- The appropriate crate for your dog
- Cleaning materials to clean up any crate accidents
- Bedding for the crate, so your pup is comfortable
- Fresh water
Choosing the correct crate for your puppy is essential to this strategy. It should be the perfect size for him. He should be able to lie down, stand up, and move around to get comfortable. If you have a puppy that will grow quickly, you may want to consider getting a crate that can be adjusted in size. If the space is too large for your puppy, he could easily pick a corner to use to go to the bathroom, which undermines the entire process.
5 Steps to Potty Training with a Crate
1. Introduce your puppy to the crate. Ensure he has bedding, so he’s comfortable, and fresh water. Add his favorite toy to keep him occupied.
2. When your dog whines, circles around his crate, or starts barking or sniffing, it could be a sign he needs to use the bathroom. Open the crate, and take him outside right away. Don’t wait!
3. Once your dog is comfortable with this process and scratches or whines at the door of his home to use the bathroom, start leaving his crate unlocked.
4. Clean up any accidents your pup has in his crate (or your home) immediately.
5. Reward him for every successful trip to use the bathroom outside!
Tips for Potty Training with a Crate
- Never leave your puppy in his crate for more than four hours at a time—even less time for younger puppies.
- If the crate is the right size and your puppy is still going to the bathroom there, stop using the crate as a training tool.
- If you aren’t comfortable using a crate, use gates to confine your puppy to a smaller space inside your home.
Step-by-Step: Puppy Pads Training
Puppy pads can be a good tool if you are against the idea of crating or confining your family member and someone is home all the time. Puppies generally shouldn’t be unsupervised outside of a crate because they can easily sneak off and have an accident that may take you a bit to find. This method lets your dog know he has the option of going on the pads or outside, so it may take longer to teach your puppy to go outside only (if that’s what you want).
Supplies for Puppy-Pad Training
- Puppy pads or newspaper
That’s it, though it’s a good idea to have cleaning supplies ready in case your pup misses the pads.
6 Steps to Potty Training with Pads
1. Choose a space or corner of your home you feel is a good spot to lay down puppy pads or newspaper. This space should be easily accessible to your dog. Tile or another hard surface is easier to clean if your pup misses the paper.
2. When your puppy goes to the bathroom in the house, pick him up and move him to the pads or newspaper.
3. Once you have an idea of his bathroom schedule, take him to the pad around that time—regularly. Set alarms to help you remember.
4. Use commands to help your pup associate the pads with going to the bathroom. Many people use, “Go potty.”
5. Give rewards when your puppy goes on the pads or outside.
6. Once your puppy has fewer accidents, it’s time to start training him to only go outside. Over time, slowly move the puppy pad toward the door and then completely outside.
Tips for Potty Training with Puppy Pads
- Regularly change the soiled puppy pads or newspaper.
- Clean up any accidents immediately.
- If you are ever away from home for an extended period, a crate is a good idea to prevent accidents, especially early on.
“How do I potty train my puppy?” is one of the most commonly asked questions by new dog owners. Using these tips and strategies can help you and your new family member adjust to your new puppy’s bathroom schedule. Remember that consistency and commitment will take you far!
If you need help or have questions about potty training or any of your puppy’s other behaviors, schedule an appointment with Cinco Ranch Vet at 281-693-7387!
The Team @ Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital
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