Zak George is here to give us some guidelines on the best way to start potty training your puppy through positive rewards and consistency! Now that’s training without the pain!
Control Your Dog’s Environment
Controlling your dog’s environment is the basis for all indoor training, including potty training your puppy. I already have a whole blog post about how to introduce your dog to new areas of the house so, be sure to check that out! Dogs instinctively like their “home” to be clean so establishing a crate, bathroom, or playpen that is designated for your puppy can aid in training your dog to relieve himself outside. Remember that your idea of ‘home” is very different from your dog’s idea of “home.” Your dog probably considers the place he finds most comfortable to be his “home.” So having a comfortable crate or area where your dog feels at “home” can certainly aid when potty training your puppy.
Establishing A Routine
Perhaps the most important part of potty training your puppy is consistency and routine. Maintaining a schedule throughout the day reinforces to your puppy that the right place to go to the bathroom is outside. By providing your puppy with ample opportunities to go outside, you don’t give your puppy the chance to make a mistake.
How often should you take your puppy outside to go potty? This is fairly dependent on how old your puppy is. Generally, one-month old puppies can hold their bladder for about one hour, a two month old puppy for two hours, and so on. However, you should never leave your dog longer than three or four hours without a potty break, especially during potty training. Here’s a helpful guideline you should use as a reminder to take your puppy outside.
First thing in the morning
Roughly 15-20 minutes after your puppy eats or drinks
Right after your puppy wakes up from a nap
Right after your puppy plays
Every time your puppy sniff the ground and walks in circles
Every few hours throughout the day
Right before bedtime
During the first and second weeks of potty training you may need to take your puppy outside in the middle of the night
When you are outside with your puppy it is important to remember that this is time dedicated to training your puppy. Your patience will be needed because it may take your puppy ten minutes to finally decide on spot to relieve himself. That ten minutes can feel like thirty minutes when you have other things to do. Hang in there and know that if you put in the time and effort now, your potty training experience will be much shorter in the end.
Before you go outside it helps to say something like, “Let’s go potty” so your puppy will learn that it’s time for business. When you first go outside, with your puppy on a leash, you may have to ignore your puppy’s efforts to play and run around with you. The best approach is to lead your puppy to the area you want him to use in the future and remain quiet and still until your puppy is done. If your puppy doesn’t take care of business within ten minutes go back inside and try again in 15-20 minutes. Make sure you keep a close eye on him for any signs that he might need to go outside.
Put Your Paws Together!
As soon as your puppy is finishing up, clearly and cheerfully say, “Good potty!” or something similar, and reward your puppy with something really special like these training treats or his favorite toy. Now is the time to show your puppy how fun and exciting you are. By positively rewarding your puppy for going to the bathroom outside, you will teach your dog to be excited about going potty in the right place.
It may take several weeks before your puppy happily goes outside for a potty break. If your puppy has an accident, remember that it’s like a baby going to the bathroom in their diaper, punishment doesn’t make sense. Instead, look back at your own behavior and see if there is something you can pinpoint as a possible cause for this accident. Not to worry, just go back to your routine and try for a more consistent schedule.
Be sure to check out my Potty Training video for even more tips and tricks to help you potty train your puppy!