How To Potty Train Your Puppy

Knee deep in urine and feces …. ohhhh the joy of being a dog mom! 

If you just got a puppy, or plan on getting one, then potty training is something that’s definitely on your mind. It’s unrealistic to think the day you bring your new puppy home that he will magically know to “go” outside. To the contrary, he is going to pee. Then he is going to pee some more. Then, after he’s emptied his bladder, he’s going to leave you a little present. One that isn’t on your holiday wishlist. 

It typically takes about 4-6 months for a puppy to be fully potty trained. For some puppies, however, it may take up to a year. Usually, it takes smaller breeds a little longer to go accident-free, since they have tiny tanks. Throughout the puppy training process, it’s important to remember that your pooch doesn’t want to be a dirty dog. You just need to be patient and teach him what to do. Check out these tips to help you successfully potty train your puppy:

1) Crate Training

Before you bring your new puppy home, get a crate. Dogs by nature are den animals. They like to be in confined spaces because it makes them feel safe. Also, they don’t like to “go” where they eat and sleep. When picking out the perfect crate, you need to make sure you get the right size for your dog. It should be large enough for your puppy to stand up, turn around, and stretch. But it shouldn’t be so large that they can go the bathroom on one end and then sleep on the other end.

*Click here to learn more about crate training and how to pick out the perfect crate. 

2) Don’t Turn To Puppy Pads

I know some people will disagree with me on this one. However, I am not personally a believer in puppy training pads. Think about it — they are teaching your fur baby that it’s okay to go to the bathroom in the house. That’s the total opposite of what you are trying to teach them! So unless you are going to use the pee pads for the rest of your dog’s life, then they are simply adding an extra step in the training process.

3) Have a Set Schedule

Trainers recommend feeding your pup at set times every day and removing their food once they’re done eating. Always take your pooch out for a bathroom break right after they are done eating. By doing this, it can help get your pup on a bathroom routine, making it easier on you and your dog. 

Also, make sure to walk your dog immediately after waking up from a nap and right before you go to bed. 

4) Go For Frequent Walks

Typically, puppies aren’t mature enough to control their bladders or bowels until they’re about 16 weeks old. So if you bring home a 2-3 month-old-puppy, take him outside every 30 minutes. Until your puppy is fully trained, go for walks every 1-2 hours. 

5) Watch For Signs 

Does your dog look distracted? Is he sniffing the rug, whining, and/or pacing? These are all signs that your pooch needs to go to the bathroom. As soon as you see any of these signs, take your dog out immediately. 

6) Positive Reinforcement

Treats and praise can go a long way. If you celebrate your dog’s success when he does something right, he will keep doing it. Always remember – your dog wants to make you happy. You just need to show him how to do that!

7) Don’t Punish

You never want your dog to think the “going action” is a negative thing. If you catch your dog in the act, definitely don’t scream at him. You don’t want your pooch to fear you. Rather, if you see your dog having an accident, clap loudly. This will alert him that he’s doing something wrong. Then bring him outside. Once he’s finished his business, give him a treat and praise him. 

If you find an accident on your floor but didn’t catch your dog in the act, simply clean it up and try keeping a closer eye on him. Don’t get angry or rub your dog’s nose in it. Puppies aren’t able to connect your anger with their earlier accident. 

Additionally, never use the crate as punishment! 

– Good Luck!