How to house train your puppy: 6 potty training tricks for puppies
- by DR Roxanne Jones
Once you get a puppy, potty training her will be at the top of your priority list, and this requires time, dedication and routine. If you work, try to take a few days off when you bring your new baby home, or try to coincide the adoption with your leave.
With a little free time to focus exclusively on your new pet, you can house train her as painlessly (and ‘stainlessly’! ) as possible. Here’s how, in five simple steps.
- The ‘P’ word
The number one trick when it comes to housetraining a puppy is patience. If you think patience isn’t a trick… well, try potty training a pup!
Toilet training a puppy is actually fairly simple, provided you take the trouble to be consistent until it’s right. That’s where patience comes in. Consistency is time-consuming, but when it comes to toilet training, it’s essential. Creating a routine for your pup as quickly as possible will lead to easier potty training and fewer accidents from the start.
- Eats, poops, sleeps
Another ‘p’ word you’re going to get used to is ‘predictable’. As we mentioned in the previous point, successful house training requires a good routine – and not your own routine; your pup’s!
Fortunately, building a routine around a puppy’s needs is fairly simple, as baby dogs are pretty predictable.
Puppies need to wee as soon as they wake up. Watch her like a hawk and be around to take her straight outside as soon as she wakes up.
Eating also stimulates a puppy’s digestive system, and in most cases, puppies will need to urinate within 15 minutes of eating and poop within 30 minutes. Obviously this may differ somewhat from pup to pup, but on average, this is fairly common with most young dogs. It may help to keep a diary of your pup’s bowel and bladder movements to figure out her individual schedule.
- Take your puppy out often
Puppies pee a lot. They have poor bladder control, which means they need to urinate at least every hour or so – and they’re likely to just let loose spontaneously when they’re excited. So be diligent about taking her out as often as possible, especially when she’s been engaged in activity or explorations.
- Prompt your pup
Come up with words for each action associated with relieving herself – like “wee wee” or “poo poo” – and use them every time your puppy is actually doing that particular thing. This helps you to prompt her when you take her outside, as she’ll learn to associate those words with the action you’re hoping her to take.
- The paper method
If you live in an apartment or have mobility issues, paper training can be an effective way to teach your puppy to wee in a specific area of the home. It involves using smaller and smaller pieces of newspaper or dog training pads to direct your pup to a particular elimination area in your home, with the possible goal of eventually going outside. Here’s a step-by-step guide on paper training your puppy.
- Reward; never punish
You should always reward your pup for relieving herself outside, which means you should accompany her every time she goes. This will help to positively reinforce the behaviour you want her to repeat. Never punish your animal for having an accident inside. Punishing your pet can make her fearful of weeing or pooing in front of you – even outside – and that’s counter-effective.
Remember: it’s your responsibility to toilet train your puppy, and any laziness on your part can result in more accidents and a lengthier training period. Unlike cats, dogs rely on humans to house train them, so it’s up to you to put in the time and effort to get it right.
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Now, take your puppy outside – she’s probably ready to wee again!