Potty Training Your Puppy Couldn't Get Easier Than This!
Potty training (or also known as house training) your puppy can seem like a Herculean task initially but with patience and perseverance, most puppies are housetrained in a matter of few days or at the most, a few months.
There are a number of factors to consider before embarking on this journey. The age of the puppy, its learning history and its previous environment and situation contribute in several ways to this process.
However, there is no denying the fact that potty training at the right time and the right place are the first steps towards a hassle-free and happy life with a pet dog.
Most often it has been seen that puppies end up in shelter homes because their adopters fail to potty train them and detest the idea of coming back to a stinky and smelly house. This is exactly why potty training is not just an activity but needs to be a well-thought and well-researched plan.
The three most tried and tested methods to potty train a puppy are:
- Method 1: Training in a crate
- Method 2: Frequent outdoor trips
- Method 3: Training with a paper
While these have been successfully implemented over years by a number of dog owners, there are some basic tips that will help you implement the steps more effectively.
- Controlling the diet is the first and most important tip.
- Having a consistent schedule in place avoids accidents.
- Plenty of exercise keeps bowel movements regular.
- Outside trips should be reinforced during the process.
Now that you know the basics, implementation of them will require an in-depth understanding of each of the steps. Being a dog owner myself, I realized while training my first couple of pets that it could become exhaustive if you are rushing into it. Like every other habit, this will also need time and a good deal of patience at your end. Let us find out why.
- Table of Contents
- #1: Method 1: Training In A Crate
- #2: Method 2: Paper Training
- #3: Method 3: Keeping A Consistent Schedule
- #4: Additional Tip #1: Observing and Supervising Your Puppy
- #5: Additional Tip #2: Controlling and Managing Diet
- #6: Additional Tip #3: Never Reprimand
- Final Thoughts – Be Patient, It Takes Time & Effort
Crate training does not really mean making your puppy pee or poop inside the crate.
On the contrary, it is all about making your puppy realize the need to go outside for a bowel movement. Confining your brand new puppy inside a crate could seem torturous but eventually, both you and your puppy will get used to the idea. In fact, you will start recommending the same as and when you come across new pet parents struggling with the thought of crate training.
The idea behind crate training is that puppies (or dogs) will not soil the place that they sleep in. To these puppies, the crate is a representation of their den and sleeping quarters – a place that they wish to keep it nice and clean.
When I started crate training my pups, I soon realized that puppies absolutely detest wet rugs and wet areas to sleep in. As much as they love carving out a niche for themselves in some corner of the house, they will never wet the area where they live. This gave me hope and within a matter of few days, I started noticing signs that my puppy showed to go outside. The signs are mostly like whining or scratching the crate from inside. The one thing that you must absolutely remember is not to delay taking them out. The moment they show signs of restlessness, take them out. This will avoid accidents and prevent your pet from making it a habit to eliminate inside the crate.
However, there are a few things to consider before buying a crate for your puppy. The crate should be able to accommodate your pup conveniently. It should be large enough for it to stretch, turn around and lie down. Too large a crate could end up confusing your puppy regarding elimination and he might as well choose one corner of the crate for the same.
There could be situations in which you have adopted a puppy but you are so busy through the day that taking it outside several times is sort of a challenge. The weather conditions could also be unfavorable for smaller dogs. In such situations, paper training or puppy pads could be employed.
The idea behind paper training is to teach the puppy to go around doing its business on progressive smaller pieces of paper until it becomes well trained enough.
- Identify an area within your house where the puppy can be confined along with its items (Beds, toys, water bowl and food trays).
- Using disposable training pads, cover the entire area.
- Your puppy will initially eliminate all over the area.
- Change the soil pads immediately once your puppy has used it.
- Remove the number of pads one at a time every 2 days, leaving a small portion of the floor uncovered.
- By instinct, puppies do not like to eliminate near to their bed or feeding areas. Hence, always remove the pads closest to these areas first.
- Continue removing the pads until there is just one final pad left. This final pad should be furthest from the puppy's sleeping & feeding areas.
- When your puppy is comfortable with just one pad, slowly start to move the reminding pad to your desired area (usually your toilet or a quiet area in your house).
However, this method is tricky and could have minor disadvantages.
You are basically reinforcing two things at the same time. The first reinforcement is elimination at the same place and the second is elimination inside the house. When situations are in your favor later on, it could be difficult to break off the habit of eliminating indoors.
There are not many differences between a human baby and a puppy. Both adapt to schedules quite easily if you are consistent with them. Puppies can't control their bladders for long. To add to that, they have tiny bladders so whatever goes in comes out right away.
While a 6-month old puppy can keep its bladder controlled for about 6 hours or so, it is not necessarily the same for puppies for all breeds and sizes.
This is why you need to study the habits and activities of your puppy closely.
While monitoring its habits, try taking it out before and after particular activities because this will carry forward and form positive elimination schedules. Take your dog outside:
- Right after waking up.
- Before retiring for the night
- After spending some time in the crate.
- Right after a nap.
- After playing with a chew toy.
- After meals.
- After drinking water.
This is indeed strenuous for you and you could feel exhausted at the end of the day but once a pattern kicks in, you will feel blessed about doing all the running around in the initial days. If you are too busy to take your dog out frequently, hiring a dog walker could be of great help.
Every puppy behaves and reacts differently during the process of potty training.
You will have to look out for your pup's individual signs and symptoms and keep a track of them till the process is successfully completed. While some puppies will be able to control their bladders for a longer time, some others might leak earlier.
There could be various instances like one of your pups peeing in excitement during game time, pooping right in the middle of a meal, not peeing for hours and peeing right when placed in the crate etc.
None of these signs indicate that you are failing at potty training your puppy. They simply suggest that both you and your puppy need more time at the process.
This is one of the most significant steps in house training your puppy. Your puppies are still maturing and so are their digestive systems. They can handle only a certain amount of food so instead of offering an entire heap at a time, try serving smaller quantities. A puppy should ideally have three small meals for optimal growth.
Apart from the quantity of the food offered, what matters a good deal is the quality. Always ensure that you are offering the best quality food and something that entirely agrees with your puppy's digestive system.
There are several brands of food available for puppies. The one and only thing to check is the presence of real meat and first ingredient and the absence of artificial colors or additives. You can also choose to offer homemade meals if you have the time and scope for it.
The best way to find out whether you are offering the right kind of diet is by checking their stool. Your puppy could be having loose or sticky stools, depending on the kind of food that you are offering. If the stools continue to be similar for a longer stretch, then your puppy has probably got used to the kind of food offered. However, if you notice a change in the consistency, color or smell of your pup's stools, you could consult the vet about switching food options.
Always restrain yourself from over feeding your pup. As thrilling it is to watch it lap up whatever you are offering, it could be quite a task cleaning up later. House training becomes difficult and complicated if you do not set an early routine as far as diet is concerned.
While potty training your puppy, do remember that it is as small as it looks and while you wouldn't scold your baby for peeing on the carpet, you shouldn't do the same with it. Scolding or reprimanding a puppy for soiling the rug or wetting the carpet will not help in any way. I have actually heard of dog owners reprimanding their puppies by rubbing their noses in poop. Not only is it cruel but also extremely unhygienic to do so. I wonder how a pet parent could possibly do such a thing!
While reprimanding or punishing your dog is certainly inadvisable, praising or rewarding your pup for proper potty habits goes a long way. You will be conditioning your pup to understand that pooping and peeing in the right place is a good thing. This will encourage your puppy to remember the house training and not reverse the process if circumstances change. You can offer healthy treats as rewards but ensure that the treats are easy on a puppy's digestive system.
Make your praise or appreciation audible and expressive. Clap and cheer loudly to ensure that your puppy understands your praise. If your puppy ends up making an accident, avoid fussing much over it. Mop it up and use a scented cleaner so that your dog does not use the same place for peeing or pooping again.
Your dog will give you cues about when it is about to poop or pee. Monitor these signs and as soon as you see him/her displaying them, take them out immediately. This will cultivate an early habit of eliminating outdoors and they will get used to the idea of urinating or excreting outside the house.
While all these methods are quite effective and although they take time to work; your pups will eventually become house trained over a period of time. However, you could be facing problems regarding house training even if you think you have followed all the steps and methods religiously. Find out the few commonly occurring problems and the ways in which you can deal with them:
Using The Same Spot For Elimination
A dog tends to use the same place for elimination over and over and again because of the smell that emanates from the spot. If your puppy is doing the same despite the fact that you have cleaned it, it simply implies that you haven't done an effective cleaning. You need to use powerful enzymatic cleaners that are far more effective at eliminating odors than regular cleaners.
Unsuccessful Outdoor Visits
There could be instances in which you take your puppy outdoors frequently but he/she does not urinate or excrete outside the home. It is only after returning home that it finally eliminates. While this is definitely frustrating to do all the work and then tidy up the mess indoors, I would suggest giving it some more time. It is probably because your puppy is still settling down to the idea of the outside world. Every breed is different from the other so it is wise not to compare time periods of potty training with other dogs or dog owners.
House training takes times and a whole lot of patience so the key to a successfully house-trained pup, is to be a patient pet parent.
If you are constantly frustrated over accidents, your puppy will get mixed signals and this will end up confusing it. It could also form a feeling of negativity around the whole idea of potty training.
Be gentle, mop us messes swiftly and use powerful enzymatic cleansers. Spend more time outdoors and very soon your puppy will get into a consistent schedule around elimination.
Hope this step-by-step tutorial helped you to find answers to your puppy house training queries.