Knee deep in urine and feces …. ohhhh the joy of being a dog mom!
When you first welcome baby Fido into your home, he’ll have no idea where he’s allowed – or not allowed – to go. So, when he feels the urge to pee or poo, he won’t know to run over to the door and ask to go outside. Realistically, he’ll just let it rip right there on the floor, couch, bed, or wherever he is at the moment. Or, if your puppy is standing on your lap then he may just tinkle on you (let this serve as your official heads up – it happens)!
You also shouldn’t expect baby Fido to settle into his new home and immediately understand the concept of holding it. Puppies don’t have fully developed bladder muscles until they’re at least four to six months old. So, potty training is a process.
Throughout this process, it’s important to remember your pooch doesn’t want to be a dirty dog. You just need to be patient and teach him what to do.
1) Crate Training
Before you even bring baby Fido home, do yourself and favor and get a crate. If you’ve never raised a puppy before then the idea of putting your canine companion in a cage may seem a bit cruel, as if you’re locking him up in a jail cell. I thought the same thing back in the day. But, when used correctly, your puppy will actually enjoy the crate and it will help him thrive … especially in the potty training phase.
When picking out the perfect crate, sizing is key. 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 to the bathroom on one end and then sleep on the other end. Naturally, dogs don’t want to soil where they eat and sleep.
*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. And, sure, they can be beneficial at times. However, for the average dog mom, I’m not a believer in puppy training pads. Think about it: They teach your fur baby that it’s okay to go to the bathroom in the house. That’s the exact opposite of what you’re trying to teach him! So unless your dog is going to use the pee pads for the rest of his life then you’re simply adding an extra step to the training process.
3) Have a Set Schedule
One of the best tips I can offer anyone welcoming a young puppy into their home: Implement a schedule immediately! Because all dogs—and dog parents—thrive on consistency.
First things first: Come up with a feeding schedule. Since puppies generally eat three or four times a day (depending on their age), you can schedule this as you would your own food routine. Once your dog is done eating, immediately remove his food bowl and head outside for a potty break. This will help your puppy get into a routine, making it easier for him and you.
Also, as you’re creating your daily schedule, carve out time for potty runs first thing in the morning, immediately after waking up from naps, after playtime, and right before you go to bed.
Need some help keeping track of everything? There’s an app for that! The Puppy Potty Log app lets you easily log your dog’s meals, pees, and poops. Puppy Potty Log will use the data to create a custom housetraining schedule unique to your fur baby. Check it out!
4) Go For Frequent Walks
Young puppies aren’t mature enough to control their bladder or bowels. For some, it may take four months. For others, it may even take up to six months. So, until your puppy is fully trained, go for walks every couple of hours and stick with your strict schedule.
5) Watch For Signs
Does your dog look distracted? Is he sniffing the rug, pacing, and whining? 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 verbal 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, don’t scream at him. You don’t want your pooch to fear you. Rather, if you see your dog having an accident, clap your hands loudly. This will alert him that he’s doing something wrong. Then bring him outside. Once he’s finished doing 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!