Potty Training Your Puppy

A puppy starts out with no knowledge of knowing whether it is right or wrong to go to the bathroom on your floor.  Housebreaking your puppy will require a great deal of patience, a consistent and fool-proof training plan, and a great floor cleaner!  A few accidents are bound to happen, however, following the below procedure will soon get your puppy on track to going outdoors to do his business and saving you from doing any further clean-up!

potty training a puppy

  • The most effective way to housebreak your puppy is to crate train.  Get a crate that is large enough for your puppy to comfortably stand up in, walk around, and lay down in without feeling too cramped or confined.  At the same time, be sure not to get a crate too large as your puppy may learn to go to the bathroom in one end, and use the other end to remove himself from his mess.  To prevent your puppy from using a large crate in this manner you will need to find the perfect size.  If your puppy is going to grow to be a large sized dog and you want to keep the crate for adulthood, you can buy a large size crate with a divider panel that will allow you to change the size of the crate as your puppy grows.
  • In the beginning, do not let your puppy have full run of the house.  Although you will need to spend much of your time socializing your puppy and playing with him, when you are busy doing other things your puppy will need to be placed in his crate.
  • Establish a feeding schedule and stick to the same times every day.  Also, remember to pick up your puppy’s water bowl well in advance of bedtime.
  • At first, you will need to take your puppy outside once every hour (and always after meals, and first thing upon waking up), but this will taper off eventually.  Bring your puppy to the same spot outside each time so that he begins to relate that spot with being the place in which he should be doing his business (eliminating).  You should leash your dog to make sure he remains in that spot while he is in the learning process.  Always remain near your dog until he has eliminated because you will need to give him praise once the task has been completed.
  • As soon as you bring your puppy to his spot outside, speak a command such as, “go potty”, (use whatever command you like) and say it frequently.  Your puppy needs to get used to those words and relate it to the task of eliminating.
  • If your puppy does eliminate make a big deal out of it by saying, “good potty!” in your most excited voice so that he understands that he has pleased you.  In addition to the praise, offering a treat is also a very effective way of rewarding your puppy.  If he does not go potty that is fine too, but be sure to place him in the crate as soon as you bring him inside, then bring him back outside to try again in 15 or 20 minutes.
  • Remember, once your puppy eliminates outside, this provides for a fantastic time to give your puppy a little roaming time inside the house since this is the one time you can be sure there won’t be any accidents.  So always reward your little pup with some free time/play time, but be sure to put him back in the crate soon after.
  • If your puppy does have a few accidents in the house (and it is inevitable that he will) do not spank, yell, or rub your puppy’s nose in his mess.  If you happen to catch him in the act, the best approach is to give a firm, “no!”, and immediately bring your puppy outside.  Once you’re there give the command you’ve chosen, such as, “go potty”.  Even though you know your puppy most likely has finished doing his business in the house and will not be doing any further eliminating, you should still bring him outside in order to establish the connection of eliminating, to his spot outside, and not indoors.  Do not punish your puppy for messes that are found after the fact, it is simply ineffective, and they will not make the connection.

It’s important to remember that all puppies learn at a different pace, so don’t be upset if you find out your neighbor’s dog became housebroken fairly quickly while you’re still pining away at the process many weeks beyond.  As long as you are being consistent in following the potty training process, eventually, though at times it may feel like forever, your puppy will learn too!

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