Bringing home a new puppy is undoubtedly an exciting time in life. They are cute, silly, cuddly, and loads of fun– until you have to clean up an accident.
Fortunately, puppies are quick learners and can be potty-trained within a matter of days with the help of a consistent schedule and an open-minded owner!
House-training a puppy takes a bit of patience and puppies need to be taught the correct and incorrect places to eliminate. By following these steps, you’ll be on the right track to a fully toilet-trained puppy.
Step 1: Go out frequently
Puppies have small bladders and should be given regular, frequent opportunities to go outside for a potty break. As they grow older, they will be able to wait for longer periods of time, but new puppies should be taken out about every 2 hours. Keep watch on your puppy just in case he begins to pace or is seemingly sniffing around for a spot to “go” so that you can hurry him outside.
Take your puppy outside to a preferred spot and tell him to “go puddles”. It may take some time, but as soon as he goes (even if it’s just a little) be sure to praise!
Tip: Take your puppy out immediately after he wakes up, after every time he eats/drinks, and after play sessions.
Step 2: Reward for a job well done
By praising your puppy every time he successfully “goes puddles” outside, you positively reinforce desired behaviour which means he is more likely to continue “going puddles” in the correct place. Give verbal praise or a treat immediately after your puppy finishes.
Tip: Wait until your puppy finishes eliminating before offering praise. If you praise your puppy while he is going, it may cause a distraction and prevent him from finishing.
Step 3: Get into a routine
By introducing your puppy to a regular eating, sleeping, and potty schedule, he will quickly learn to expect certain activities at certain times of the day. Your puppy should be receiving meals 3 – 4 times per day, so make sure that these occur at the same time every day, followed by a potty break after each meal.
Putting your puppy on a consistent schedule will help him learn more quickly, and he may even alert you when it’s time to go out.
Tip: Write down your puppy’s daily schedule, including potty breaks that are no more than 2 hours apart, and stick it to the refrigerator. That way, all household members can work together to keep the puppy’s days consistent.
Accidents can happen, but don’t worry, they are a normal part of the house-training process.
Between potty breaks, be sure to always supervise your puppy so that you can catch him if he begins to squat. If you can catch him in the act, try to interrupt him with a startling noise and rush him outside to finish.
If your pet finishes eliminating before you can take him outside, simply clean up the area but do not punish your puppy because it could cause him to be afraid of eliminating in front of you.
Tip: Keep a cleaning solution made specifically for pet stains in order to thoroughly clean any accidents. Puppies are likely to continue eliminating in the same area if it smells of urine.