Looking after a new puppy requires a lot of patience, consistency, discipline and patience, especially when you teach them their most important lesson – how to be potty trained. No one likes to come home to lots of accidents and a big smelly mess! But don’t worry; all you need is some time and positive reinforcement to successfully get through the messy period of owning your first puppy. After reading this article, you will master the skill of how to potty train a puppy in no time!
How Do You Potty Train a Puppy?
In general, there are three ways that you can potty train your puppy. Let’s break down each of the methods and you can decide which method is best suited for your needs and the needs of your puppy.
Potty Training a Puppy Method #1: The Outdoor Method
The outdoor method takes a bit longer than the other two methods, but requires a lot less tidying up than the indoor method. So let’s get started on how you can use the outdoor method to effectively potty train your puppy:
Step 1: Establish a Potty Cue
The first step, on how to potty train a puppy using the outdoor method, is to establish a clear signal for when your puppy needs to eliminate – a potty cue. Sit your puppy by the door and let it out when it makes a specific noise, whether it’s a bark or ringing of a bell etc. Of course the potty cue isn’t limited to noises; feel free to let them out when they sit on a certain spot. Most importantly, be sure to avoid playing with your puppy outside during potty time as the puppy will associate the noise they made with play time – a source of massive confusion for the puppy and the owner.
Step 2: Establish a Potty Area
The next step is to pick out a specific area for your puppy to use for potty. Simply walk your puppy to an area you want them to use and wait. Once they eliminate, reward them with treats or praise to positively reinforce that behaviour of using that area for potty. If they don’t eliminate, just bring them back into the house and start again. Similar to above, avoid walking too much outside as the puppy will associate potty time with walk time.
Step 3: Repeat
The final step is to stay consistent with this method and keep on practicing for a months. It takes time for a puppy to truly master potty training, so remember to be patient and take your time.
Potty Training a Puppy Method #2: The Crate Method
Although temporarily confining a puppy to a crate may seem cruel or nasty, this is actually far from the truth. Dogs are natural den animals, therefore they have evolved to seek out a small space (such as a corner in a cave) to establish as their own. Thus, it is perfectly acceptable to confine your puppy to a crate for a while throughout the potty training process. Of course, it is also vital to get your puppy adjusted to the feeling of being in a crate for when you take them to the vets, when you’re travelling, when you are not home and for potty training. Let’s get started in breaking down the method into simple steps:
Step 1: Ensure Your Crate Has The Perfect Space
Dogs will very rarely eliminate in their own living space, which is why crates are so effective for potty training. Simply leave enough space for your puppy to get up, turn around, and lay down – but avoid leaving too much space for them to eliminate and then lay down in another corner of the crate. Fortunately, most crates have dividers that can be opened up to allow for more space the puppy grows up in size.
Step 2: Know When to Let Your Puppy Out
Watch out for clear signs that your puppy needs to eliminate. This could be scratching, whining, barking etc. When you are sure that your puppy needs to use the bathroom, immediately let him/her out and take it to a specific potty area outdoors. If your puppy eliminates in the potty area, then reward it with a treat or praise to positively reinforce the behavior. If your puppy doesn’t eliminate, simply repeat the process until he/she is successful.
Step 3: Give Your Puppy the Right Breaks
The final step on how to potty train a puppy using the crate method is to recognise that it is very important to give your puppy ample time for exercise and play time. Be sure to give your puppy a few breaks throughout the day for walks, play and exercise in a wide and outdoor space.
If your puppy eliminates in the crate, then there are two potential issues. Either your puppy is too young to hold it in, or your puppy has picked up negative habits from his or her previous home. The best solution to this is to try the last method:
Potty Training a Puppy Method #3: The Indoor Method
The indoor training method is perfect for busy owners who are not always home to let their puppy out several times a day, or they live in a place with harsh weather conditions that prevents them from taking their delicate puppy outside often. Let’s go step by step on how to potty train your puppy using the indoor method.
Step 1: Establish an Indoor Potty Area
The first thing you want to do is to find a confined area to begin training – the bathroom is usually the best space for this. No matter what space you are using, be sure to make it safe and secure for your puppy to roam in.
Step 2: Use Pee Pads in The Space
The next thing you want to do is to cover the area in pee pads, making sure the bed is in the corner of the room. You want to be sure to regularly change the pee pads, leaving a small piece of soiled pad on a bit of clean pad to signal to the puppy that the small area is for peeing in.
Step 3: Begin To Take Away Pee Pads
As your puppy begins to pee in a specific area, you want to start removing the pee pads closest to the bed. Then as time goes by, remove more and more pee pads until only a couple are remaining.
Now you have established a small potty area that your puppy can use whenever he/she wants, very convenient for when you are out of the house and not around to let your puppy out for potty time.
The Importance of a Schedule
In order to truly and effectively potty train a puppy, it is vital to create a regular and consistent schedule for potty time. This is so important due to the fact that puppies have tiny bladders and need to have regular opportunities to relieve themselves.
Puppies typically hold it in for the amount of hours that correspond with their age in months – so a 5-month-old puppy can hold it in for 5 hours. However, all puppies are different, and some can hold it in less than others. Remember, that even 6 hours is a long time for a human to hold it in, so be sure to let your puppy have plenty of opportunities to eliminate.
The best time to let your puppy out for potty time is:
- In the morning
- Before bedtime
- After being in a crate for a long amount of time
- After play time
- After nap time
- After eating a meal
- After drinking time
If you’re busy at work, be sure to use the pee pad indoor method of how to potty train a puppy to ensure that your puppy has plenty of opportunities for potty time.
Frequently Asked Questions About Potty Training A Puppy
How long does potty training take?
This all depends on the age of your puppy, how fast they can learn, what their previous home was like, what method you use, how consistent you are in training as well as the type of dog. Some puppies are very easy and only take several days to get the hang of it, while some take months or up to a year.
Should I Punish My Puppy For Accidents?
Short answer: No! Punishment teaches a puppy to fear you and this destroys the owner-pet relationship that is integral for training any pet.
What do I do if I catch my puppy about to eliminate?
Make sure you make a loud noise, ideally a loud clap, to show your puppy that they are doing something wrong. Then bring him/her outside to let it finish outside – giving your puppy a small treat or praise for finishing outside.