Bringing a new puppy home is an exciting event. But once you get over the novelty of this new little beast, you will need to establish a few ground rules in your house. The most important one will be to teach your puppy to go outside for his business.
Potty training is not a race. It takes time and commitment and there is no written rule as to how long it will take. Some dogs grasp the concept of potty training very quickly and will be house broken in a few days, others may take a few weeks. It is important not to punish your puppy if he goes in the house. If you didn’t catch him in action, don’t punish him. It is also very important to reward the right behavior. Puppy need to know when they do something right.
There are two popular method for potty training your puppy.
This training method relies on the fact that dogs do not like to soil their bed and the crate symbolizes a dog’s den or bed. Using a crate works quite well and most puppies will control their bladder and bowels for quite some time. Young puppies may be able to hold it for 7-8 hours, while in a crate, however, we do not recommend leaving puppies unattended in crate for such long periods of time.
Using this method, place the puppy in the crate whenever he cannot be watched. This may be while you are in the house or away for a few hours. Before placing the puppy in the crate, take him outside to a favorite spot and again as soon as you take him out of the crate. Using this method, puppies should also sleep in their crate at night. Only use a blanket and maybe a chew toy in the crate.
One of the most important advantage of crate training is that it teaches your puppy to “hold it”. He learns that he doesn’t have to relieve himself right away as soon as the urge appears. Puppies that have gone through crate training usually make fewer potty mistakes later on.
Make sure that you buy a crate that is just large enough for your dog to comfortably lie in it. To avoid buying multiple crate, you may want to get one that will be large enough for when your dog is fully grown but you will need to use a divider to limit the space while he is still a puppy. If the crate is too big, the puppy may learn to urinate or defecate in a corner.
This method consists of putting down newspapers or pretreated pads and encouraging your puppy to use them for bathroom needs. Whenever you see your puppy sniffing the floor and walking around looking for a place to go, gently pick him up and place him on the papers or pad. Don’t forget to praise once he goes to the bathroom.
Once the puppy starts using the papers or pads consistently, you then want to move them either closer to the door or to place another set outside. The idea is to transition the toilet habit of going in one spot inside to going in one spot outside. Eventually, you will be able to eliminate the pads. One downside of this method is that the puppy is encouraged to go inside the home. This may slow down the potty training process.
Regardless of the method you choose to use, verbal cues will be very important. It is a great idea to use a word when it’s time to go to the bathroom. You can use “outside?” or ?“washroom?” or any other word that you prefer. Just make sure that all the members of the family are using the same verbal cue. Once outside, you can encourage your puppy to go with words such as “do it” or “potty” or “hurry up”, etc. It is very important to praise them as soon as they eliminate and bring him back in right away. Be sure that you only use the “outside” or “washroom” command for the specific purpose to avoid confusion with outdoor play time or walks.
Accidents will happen. Remember that if you didn’t catch your puppy in the act, you should not punish him. Discipline will not help because the pup will not know what the scolding if for. Do not get mad. The accident was really your fault, not the puppy. If you had noticed the “pre-potty” behavior or sniffing and walking around, you could have brought your puppy outside or to his pads. You also want to avoid getting mad when you catch them in the act. Sternly say “No” and bring your pup outside or to his pads. Reward the puppy with a “good dog” once they are done in the correct location.
For the house training to go quickly, you will need to spend as much time as you can with your puppy. Remember to be patient and to stay calm.