Potty training is one of the most important lessons your pet will learn when it first comes in your life and into your home. A house trained or potty trained dog means a happy and rewarding time with your new pet. If you have been having a hard time potty training a stubborn puppy, then use the following easy ways to help you.
1. Prep your home for potty training
People often buy or adopt dogs without giving too much thought to housetraining and other aspects of raising a pup. The fact is that your puppy is going to pee a lot in the first few months. Talk to your breeder about housetraining as s/he can provide valuable inputs about it. Some trainers actually even train young puppies to void on newspapers. Ideally, housetraining should begin only after the pet is 12weeks old. In the mean time, create designated area in your home or yard (since puppies younger than 12 weeks must not venture outdoors.)
2. Get informed
Understand all the basics of potty training young puppies. It is important to watch some videos or read books on the topics. You can discuss what you have learned with your family members to bring them on board. Housetraining For Dummies by Susan McCullough is a good book and you can also look up some videos on YouTube.
3. Feed him a good diet
You must also feed your pet a good diet because the food you feed him will decide the quality and size of the poop. Some foods contain ingredients which could trigger allergies in your dog causing vomiting, diarrhea and other problems. These could even lead your pet to void indoors. So only feed your dog a diet that the breeder or vet recommends. Also feed at designated times and avoid feeding in between meals. If you are training your pet, use healthy treats that won’t spoil his appetite too much.
Related content – Stop Your Puppy From Biting
4. Have a house-training plan in place
Once you have read up about how to potty train a puppy, come up with a plan along with all other family members to house train your puppy. You need to decide if it is okay for your pet to void indoors all its life. This is usually the case if you work long hours and the pup will be left alone. Indoors voiding is also the only choice for disabled pet owners. If these are not issues you face, then you’d naturally prefer having your pet go outdoors, either in the yard or in parks. Accordingly, talk to your family members so each of you can use the same designated areas while training your pet. You do not want to confuse your pet by changing the rules or places each time. A potty training plan will also help you buy the right tools and items needed for the job: poop bags, crate, training pads, newspapers, litter boxes, cleaning supplies etc.
5. Invest in puppy training pads
Puppy pads with holders are good ways to start your pet with housetraining.
- Place the holder and keep the pad on it. Familiarize your puppy with the pad. You can place some treats to get him on the pad.
- Place him on the pad right after he wakes up, after he eats or drinks and also before bed time. You can also play with your puppy for a bit and then get him to go on the pad. For young puppies, take him to the pad every 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Teach him the word ‘potty’ and when he goes, praise and reward him.
- If he voids outside the pad, pay no attention and just clean up the mess.
- As soon as he ‘goes’ on the pad, praise and reward him. Soon your puppy will relate pad-potty-reward stimulus and will be housetrained in as early as 5 days!
- Be consistent and gentle. Do not scold or shout.
6. Use newspapers
In the first few days of your puppy’s life, it is essential not to take him outdoors. This is because your puppy is not fully vaccinated and that can make him highly susceptible to diseases. Instead of using puppy pads, you can also teach your puppy to void indoors on newspapers or old rags. Make sure to designate an area specifically for the task.
- Place the newspapers and point to it. It helps if the area has a drain and water tap with pipe so you can immediately hose down the mess.
- You can take him to the newspaper after playtime, after he wakes up and also after his meal.
- If he goes on newspaper, reward and praise him. Be consistent and soon he will be trained!
Some pet parents also get their dogs used to litter boxes for voiding purposes. This is a great option for pet parents who work all day, are disabled or live in areas with extreme climate.
7. Crate train your pet
It is often difficult for pet parents to potty train their puppy when they have to go to work. So it helps to get him used to crate. Now, we are not saying that a crate a magical way to housetraining a puppy in 5 days; the length of time needed will vary based on your pet’s age, consistency and also how established house accidents may be. Also, potty training an older dog can take time and it may be months before he voids outdoors. But get him used to a crate as he will never soil his crate. Place plenty of toys and blankets in the crate. Make sure the crate is just the right size. Before sending him to the crate, make him ‘go’ either on potty pads or newspaper or in your yard. Praise and reward him once he does his business in the right place. Pay no attention if he voids elsewhere. Help him wind down in the crate. This way, he should sleep in the crate all night. Upon waking up get him to relieve in the designated area.
8. Understand that scents are trigger
If your dog has urinated even once indoors, he will be able to smell the urine in that spot for days and will continue to void in that spot. If you don’t want him to do that, you need to clean that spot well using vinegar, powerful cleaning supplies and, if needed, a UV/black light. These will remove all odors so your pet will not be tempted to void there.
9. Avoid counterproductive measures
Measures like shouting, scolding or punishing your pet are counterproductive and will not show results. Would you scold an infant if he voided in his diapers? The same goes for your puppy. Never use harsh tone of voice while correcting your pet’s behavior. Be gentle and always use positive reinforcement. Punishment and shouting will only instill fear in your pet’s mind which could even lead to long term anxiety.
10. Use the same ‘potty’ phrase
Certain key phrases can help your puppy understand that he’s supposed to go potty. These are: ‘Hurry up’, ‘Do your business’ or simply ‘Go potty’. Use the same phrase each time you take your pet outside or in the designated area. Bring all your family members on board when using the phrase. This way, there can be consistency else your pup will get confused. Even when you praise your pet, use the same phrase – for example: ‘Good boy, you did your business good’, or ‘Good do your business’. Use the phrase calmly when he is actually doing it. When you consistently use the same phrase, you can get your pet to go anywhere even when you go someplace on vacation.
11. Use the same potty areas outdoors too
Once your vet gives you the green signal to walk your dog outdoors, take him to the same area every day. Having a designated potty area means you will have a cleaner yard-especially necessary for apartment dwellers. For the first few times you take him out, your dog might hold it in. Many pets do that-they walk for hours only to come home and poop! This is why you need to use the potty phrase consistently as explained above; that way your pet will know why he is being walked. Older dogs will come to know that it is okay to void outdoors since they can smell the urine and dog poo of other dogs. So it may be relatively easy to potty train an older dog, of course, depending on his circumstances.
12. Know that it takes time
Some puppies are fully potty trained in 4-6 months but a few could take up to a year to be fully potty trained. Be patient, gentle and consistent and soon you will have a potty trained dog. Understand that during training there are bound to be setbacks. As long as you continue taking your pet to the designated area each time he shows the signs he wants to go, he will learn. Offer him rewards and soon he will know he must only pee or poop in the designated area.