The one unpleasant aspect of owning any puppy is the job of housebreaking. As cute as puppies are, each must be trained but remember that every puppy will conquer housebreaking although at a different rate. While some dog breeds can be housebroken in a very short amount of time, other breeds can be quite challenging.
Paper training or using commercially made training pads should be avoided. While this method of training has long been promoted as being easy and successful, the truth is that it teaches the puppy that going potty indoors is acceptable. Instead of encouraging the puppy to go outside, it actually causes confusion. Therefore, you should consider paper training as a last resort. Crate Training Using a crate to potty train your new puppy is an excellent and very effective method. With crate training, your puppy will, in time learn to wait to do its business outdoors. It is important to remember that puppies, just like babies, have very small bladders. For this reason, getting your puppy to wait through the night without needing to go outside will take a few months. This is normal and requires patience, love, and support on your part. With crate training, the right type of behavior is encouraged in your new puppy. Schedule Regardless of the breed, with dedication and a lot of patience, your puppy will learn the rules. Keep in mind that age does play a role in how easy your dog will complete the process. Since a small puppy eats more meals than an adult dog does, you can expect more trips outside. For this reason, you will need to set up a schedule that coordinates with the puppy’s age.
Typically, a small puppy will need to go outside about every two to three hours. Although you will need to establish your own schedule, the following is what you might expect during the potty training period.
7:00 a.m. – Take the puppy outside immediately after waking up 7:15 a.m. – Feed and water the puppy inside a crate large enough for the puppy to move around 7:45 a.m. – Take the puppy outside to go potty 11:45 a.m. – Take the puppy outside to go potty 12:00 p.m. – Feed and water the puppy inside its crate 12:45 p.m. – Take the puppy outside to go potty
Around this time, your puppy will be tired and in need of a nap. Gently place your puppy inside the crate. To make it feel more comfortable and secure, add in an old sweatshirt of cozy blanket, a couple of soft toys, and then allow the puppy to rest for about an hour. Chances are that you will not need to coax it much since puppies sleep often. Remember, this schedule is to encourage a pattern, making potty training easier.
2:30 p.m. – Take the puppy outside to go potty 4:30 p.m. – Take the puppy outside to go potty 5:00 p.m. – Feed and water the puppy inside the crate 5:30 p.m. – Take the puppy outside to go potty
About an hour after your puppy has had dinner, take it for a short walk and then spend quality time playing and enjoying it. This quality time will help build the bond and a relationship of trust, which only helps to strengthen the desire of the puppy to please its master. In addition, playtime is excellent for socializing the puppy while helping it sleep longer during the night.
7:30 p.m. – Remove the puppy’s water and any food for the night 8:30 p.m. – Take the puppy outside to go potty 9:30 p.m. – Put the puppy in the crate to sleep
More than likely, your new puppy will not be able to go all night without taking care of business. Listen for any restlessness or whining, a sure sign that the puppy needs to go outside. While the process can be inconvenient and tiresome since you never know what time the puppy will awaken, with consistency, your puppy will learn much quicker.
Remember, if the puppy should have an accident in its crate, never administer punishment – it was just an accident. Most puppies that mess in their cage feel embarrassed and ashamed. If your puppy has an accident, take it outside anyway so the association is reinforced. Then, clean the crate, add fresh bedding, and again, tuck the little one in for the night. Word Association During the potty training process, your puppy will begin to give you some kind of signal that it needs to go outside to potty. Your job is to learn those signals and the sooner the better. You may notice your puppy walking in circles, walking toward the door, sitting and staring at you, pawing at you, sniffing the ground, and so on.
When you see your puppy giving the signal that it is about to go potty indoors you need to say to it with a firm voice “NO!” In addition, you will need to establish one word or phrase that will be used to make the outside association. For instance, when you notice your puppy giving the signal, say “no”. Then, use your command, which could be something like “Let’s go potty” or “Potty time”.
With that, pick the puppy up and take it outdoors. Soon, your puppy will begin to respond to that command and know what it means. Sometimes a puppy gets outdoors and forgets about going potty. After all, there are squirrels to chase, leaves to sniff, and flowers to investigate. To help your puppy concentrate on the reason for being outside at that moment, you will need another command.
In this case, you could use words like, “Go potty” or “Do your business.” For quick and complete success, make sure that every time your puppy goes outside, the same command is used. This consistency is establishing the appropriate behavior. While it will take you hundreds of times before your puppy gets it, with persistence and patience, you puppy will catch on. After your puppy finishes going potty, provide lots of praise. Supervision Another key to successful housebreaking a puppy is making sure you supervise it at all times. While this can be challenging, at first when your puppy is very small, keep it in sight. This way, your puppy will not have the opportunity to sneak off to potty in other rooms of the house. If necessary, you can set up a baby or doggie playpen if you are busy. For example, while cooking dinner, you can use baby gates to keep the puppy in the same room with you or while taking a bath, place the puppy in the crate or playpen. Remember, this is only temporary. Indoor Accidents Your puppy will have accidents indoors so expect it. The key is to catch the puppy in the act. As an example, if you have stepped out of the room only to come back a few minutes later to find a wet spot on the floor, correcting at that time is useless. Whatever you do, NEVER rub your dog’s nose in its potty. Not only is this unhealthy, it is demeaning and guaranteed not to accomplish a thing.
Since puppies often forget quickly, punishing five minutes after the fact only confuses the puppy, which can create an entire new array of problems. Remember, you want your puppy to trust you so it has to understand the punishment. If you do find a wet spot, use hot soapy water or carpet cleaner specialized for puppy accidents, cleaning the area thoroughly. Then, sprinkle or spray on a neutralizing deodorant. Although you can buy a number of products on the market, a mixture of 50/50 vinegar and water works quite well. Physical Problems On rare occasion, puppies can have some type of physical problem that inhibits them from being potty trained. Problems such as bladder infection or behavioral issues caused by stress are common causes for a puppy being slow in the potty training department. Therefore, if it seems that your puppy is having trouble going potty outdoors, keep an eye on the situation. If the problem continues, have it checked by your veterinarian.
One other consideration is that dogs that have not yet been spayed or neutered have a higher probability of going inside. With potty training, it is not an overnight fix. Puppies take tremendous time and responsibility to train. The good news is that once the training is complete, you have an amazing friend for many years to come.
Jake Berlin is the webmaster of Easy-Dog-Training.com, where you can learn how to put an end to the stress and annoyance of your dog’s behavior problems…And slash your dog obedience training time in half by using techniques that give you immediate results!!