Puppies are adorable little fluffs of joy that offer unlimited love and faithful companionship. But, if left untrained, puppies will also go about their business when and where they want, leaving you with unpleasant "gifts" to clean up. That’s why it’s vital you potty train your puppy.
There are a few things less annoying than stepping into your puppy’s “gift" on your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. So, house-training your puppy is a must if you want to avoid unpleasant and awkward situations. However, not everyone knows how to train a dog or a puppy correctly.
In today's article will talk about how to potty train your puppy correctly so that they can eliminate, without eliminating the carpet too. We'll cover all the basics, followed by concise explanations behind each step, so you can confidently house-train your puppy.
How to potty train your puppy or dog
Potty training also referred to as house training, requires a lot of patience, consistency, and commitment. Puppies and adult dogs are just like human babies – they’re on their best when they’re on a regular schedule. And with proper training, most puppies and adult dogs will adopt their training schedule within four to six months.
Once introduced, the schedule must become a routine for a puppy to adopt it. However, it's important to remember that potty-training is a process, not a one-time lesson. Mishaps can, and most probably will happen, so it's essential to know that punishment often provides less-desirable results. So, here’s how to do it the right way.
Use a dog crate
Dog crates are widely unpopular amongst new dog owners and people who never had a puppy. The very idea of constricting their pets' freedom is unimaginable to people who are new to dogs. However, the reluctance to use a crate evaporates after a few days of living with a new pet and a few stained carpets.
Experienced dog lovers and trainers will always appreciate the effectiveness of dog-crates for potty and house training. The principle behind their use is simple: dogs are den animals who like their dens clean. Pretty much how humans like their homes clean. So, dogs dislike urine-soaked carpets and rugs as much as we do.
It's important to size the crate; it should be spacious enough for the puppy to stand, turn around, and lie down. If it's too big, the puppy will comfortably use one corner for "the business" and safely and happily distance itself from the mess. But if the area is the appropriate size, the dog will have no other option but to signal you when it feels the urge.
Puppies usually signal things by scratching and whining. So, if your dog is whining or scratching in its crate, it's because it feels it has to go. These moments require timely action since you don't want your pup to lose control and do its business inside the crate. This will leave the puppy with the idea that it's okay to mess up its living space, and subsequently, yours too.
A puppy has to go when a puppy has to go; there's no doubt about it. Once it signals you, you should take the puppy outside and let it do its thing. More about the outside in the later sections. For now, let's focus on the routine.
Create a routine
Like we said, dogs like cleanliness, but to learn them so, you have to put them on a well-balanced and healthy schedule. There's time for food, time for play, and time for potty. Only then can your dog learn when to and when not to go.
Puppies, in general, are capable of controlling their bladder for one hour every month of age. A puppy that’s three months old can only hold it for about three hours, so get your puppy out every three hours. It’s crucial to prevent accidents, as puppies might get the idea that it’s okay to relieve at the spot.
Still, less than 12 weeks old puppies are still developing the muscles necessary for bladder control, so some accidents are likely to happen. Just don't overreact or punish the puppy. The best thing you can do is to take them out every two to three hours.
Take your dog outside immediately after it wakes up and after every meal and visit to the water dish. If you keep food, drinks, and playtime on a schedule, the need for potty will naturally align, more or less. What goes inside the puppy at a specific time comes out of a puppy at a specific time.
Take your puppy outside
Once the food, drink, play, and sleep are on schedule, it's easy to take the dog outside. Pick a bathroom spot outside, next to a tree, preferably on grass, and always take your little dog to that particular spot. You can also keep the puppy on a leash and let it pick an appropriate spot to do potty on its own. Once the bathroom spot is established, return there with your puppy each time it has to go.
One of the ways dogs perceive the world is through their nose, which has more than 300 million olfactory receptors. That's about 50 times more than humans. As a result, the dog will often associate smells with actions, places, and individuals.
When you let your puppy outside to do its business, let it smell the environment a bit, and choose a spot. Some puppies will immediately relieve themselves as soon as you put them on the ground. Regardless of who chose the spot, if the puppy relieves there, it will smell of urine or feces. It will then associate the smells and the actions behind them.
This is exceptionally important, especially if your puppy is “expanding” their den onto the rest of your living space. It will sniff all the new smells associated with a clean living space, remembering the smell of the place where it does business. So, when the urge appears, the puppy will want to go out to do a thing that’s associated with a particular spot and smell.
While your puppy is doing its thing, use a distinct phrase, like "go potty," that you'll use before they do their business. This will, later on, help remind them of what to do when they're outside. It's crucial not to interrupt or distract the little dog while it's eliminating. Puppies are easily distracted, so they might not finish what they started if you introduce praise and treats too early. Save that for after they're done.
Praise the puppy
Every dog loves a “Good boy/girl!” line, followed by a praising pat on the head. Positive reinforcement, praises, and rewards are essential to successful potty training. That said, such powerful methods should be used with care; taking the wrong step might have negative results.
Reward your puppy each time it eliminates on an appropriate spot outside. This should be done regardless of whether you brought the puppy out or it signaled that it wants out. Either way, you're reinforcing a positive habit, and praises and treats should be given. That way, the puppy will associate good behavior with getting something that smells and tastes delicious.
However, positive reinforcement through praises and rewards should be timed correctly. If you praise a puppy too early, it will get distracted and won't finish what it came out to do. This can lead to them eliminating the rest once you get them inside.
Also, you don't want to wait to reward them. The rewards should be issued immediately after the job is done, but not before returning inside. It will teach the dog that you expect it to go outside when it has to, and it will expect a treat for good behavior. Properly timed rewards are vital, as they teach the dogs what's expected of them.
Note: Before reading further, let me tell you some dog poop management tools that can help you to clean your dogs poop here
Accidents will happen
Depending on the circumstances, your puppy might have an accident inside your home and soil your carpet or a rug. If such things happen, and in it all likelihood they will, it's vital that you don't overreact. It's all a normal part of the potty-training process.
Caught in the act
If you notice your puppy becoming restless, sniffing around the floor, or squatting, get them out immediately. But if you notice too late and caught them in the act – it's best to interrupt them. Make a shocking noise, or say "OUTSIDE!" with a firm and authoritative voice, and immediately take them to their “go potty” spot outside.
Praise and reward your puppy if they finish the business in the appropriate spot outside. Even if you're left with some of the mess to clean up inside. It's an accident, and the puppy is not to blame, so hold out on punishments.
Don’t administer punishment
If you happen to find a little “gift” your puppy left for you to clean, do not administer punishment. Punishment is not an accepted, or even a successful, dog training methodology. Outdated technics, like rubbing your puppy's nose into a soiled area, or physical punishment, are not just ineffective but often result in the opposite effect.
Dogs and puppies do not associate punishment with doing something wrong. Instead, negative corrections will often teach a puppy to be fearful of its owner. They may even make the little dog fearful of signaling its needs, like having to go out. That’s why potty training requires patience and kindness.
The gifts puppies leave behind
Cleaning up the soiled area is an incredibly vital part of the potty-training process. Remember that dogs have a 50 times stronger sense of smell than us? Well, they can smell what you can't, and that includes the mishaps spots that you thought you cleaned.
And if they smell an area of your home that smells like urine and feces, they’ll be highly motivated to continue soiling in those areas. To prevent that from happening, look up for guides that help clean and take away the smells left behind animal eliminations.
Though tedious and time-consuming, potty training isn't as hard as people think. But it does require consistency. Here are some additional steps that can increase the effectiveness of your training and decrease the likelihood of mishaps and accidents:
Control your puppy’s diet
We already said that, what goes in the puppy, comes out of the puppy. And it's even easier if the puppy has a feeding schedule.
Puppies have immature digestive tracts, so they can’t really handle large quantities of food. For that reason, it’s highly recommended that you formulate their feeding schedule into three smaller meals, manageable for their digestive systems. Overfeeding your puppy can lead to diarrhea, making house training next to impossible for a few days. We won't talk about the messed-up rugs, carpets, and flooring.
The quality of the food is as important as the quantity. You need to ensure that the food your puppy's eating is nutritious enough for healthy growth. If your dog's poop is bulky, loose, or noxious, you should consider changing brads or food-types.
Control the water intake
Limit your little dog's access to water in the evening. Don't get us wrong; dogs need to hydrate. But if you pick up your dog's water dish approximately 2 hours before bedtime, it's less likely to eliminate during the night.
Most puppies sleep through the night, much like we do, without having to go outside. If the puppy wakes you up during the night, take the puppy out. However, turn as few lights as possible, and don't talk or play to your puppy. These actions can encourage the puppy to think it's time to play, and it's less likely to return to sleep.
If you can't supervise your puppy at all times, restrict them to the area small enough in which they won't eliminate, like the dog crate. If you don't have access to dog crates, you can always restrict your bathroom's small area using baby grates.
If you’re confining your dog, be sure to take them outside as soon as you return. Additionally, you might want to consider training your puppy to eliminate onto puppy pads. The process is similar to basic house training, but the potty spot is the pad itself, not an outside bathroom spot.
Potty training your dog requires consistency, commitment, patience, and kindness. You're not just teaching a dog where to poop. You're teaching a loving companion and a beautiful friend how life works and what's expected of it. In turn, it will do what puppies do the best – bring joy and life into your life. Keeping these things in mind, we hope you enjoyed this article on how to potty train your puppy.