Having a new puppy in the house is a wonderful feeling, but it doesn’t take long for the patience to wear a little thin when your new eating machine starts to output that food and water all over your carpet and sofa! It may seem that puppies go to the toilet every hour and you have no sooner cleaned up one mess than another appears; but puppies grow at a very fast rate and need a lot of energy and so it follows that they expel their food much more frequently than their adult counterparts.
It is for this reason that house training your puppy should be the first task you undertake and if possible, plan how you are going to do this before you bring your new dog home. You can make the time of house training your puppy a time of bonding and learning and it will also teach your puppy that you are the pack leader and the alpha in the house. This article will give you some helpful tips and tricks and make potty training your puppy as easy as it can be!
Pick a Designated Toilet Area
This may seem obvious, but you should know where you want your dog to go to the toilet so that you can direct them to this place each time they need to poop or pee. On occasion this area may be indoors if you live on the upper levels of a flat or apartment, but most of this time this area will be outside of the property. Make sure you have a clear run to this area and physically take your puppy to it every 45-60 minutes (it is better to take them when they don’t need to go than to miss an opportunity and have a mistake to clean up!)
Regular Foods Equals Regular Poops
Some people like to free feed their dogs, which means to leave a constant supply of food down so that the dog can eat whenever they want. Unless there is a medical reason for doing so, you should never free feed a puppy because their toilet regime will be as irregular as their feeding habits. It is common for most puppies to poop 5-30 minutes after eating, so if they are eating right through the day, the chances of you catching them before they soil in the house is unlikely. If you have them on a scheduled feeding pattern morning and night, you can take them to the desired toilet area after meals and encourage them to poop.
For some people, this suggestion goes above and beyond how much effort they want to put into potty training their pup, but if you want a clean dog and house, you need to put the effort in. Being alert means you need to know when your puppy last ate, drank and went to the toilet. As most puppies go to the toilet 5-30 minutes after eating, you should be taking them to the toilet area after they have eaten so that the do not have an accident in the house. The same is true after having a big drink, your puppy has not yet learnt control of the bladder and will literally pee immediately when they need to go. Directing them to the toilet area can avoid mistakes and teach the puppy where they are supposed to be peeing. You also need to know when your puppy last went to the toilet because you should be taking them to the toilet area every 45-60 minutes, whether they have just eaten and drank or not.
Know Where Your Puppy Is
Unless your puppy is asleep (which thankfully puppies do quite a bit because they are growing), you should follow your puppy at all times. This seems very laborious and I have been in the same position of having a puppy disappear upstairs when I am settled on the sofa and I kid myself that they will just be sniffing around, only to head upstairs and find an unpleasant surprise on my bed! When house training you need to pre-empt any accidents, which means you have to be on the alert at all times. If you are busy cleaning or doing other tasks, put your puppy in their crate or pen until you are able to keep an eye on them; once a puppy chooses a place in your house that they like to use as a toilet, you are going to struggle to get them to change their minds.
It is very important that when your puppy goes to the toilet in the designated place, they are rewarded for doing so; this will help them associate peeing and pooping in the right place with being rewarded and they will want to do it more often. Have a supply of nice, puppy friendly treats available in the area you have designated for toilet training. If this is outside, you could put them next to the door and make sure that you grab them as you pass. If you have to come back into the house to get treats after your dog has been to the toilet, the puppy will not associate the treat with the act, the reward has to be instant.
Carry Your Dog
This does depend on the size of your puppy, but if you can carry your pooch to the designated toilet area, then do so. The main reason for this is that a puppy does not have the discipline or control to hold their bowel or bladder and so you and they may have good intentions in heading to the toilet area every 45 minutes, but if your pooch needs to go to the toilet on the way, they are not going to hold it, they will simply stop and poop. If you pick up the puppy and carry them to the toilet area every 45-60 minutes, you can be sure of a quick route out and less mishaps in the middle. You should only need to do this for the first 4-6 weeks, by which time the puppy’s control to hold will be better and they should be able to make it to the area without stopping midway.
Keep Up The Good Work
House training a puppy can be easy or difficult and is often dependant on the breed and their personality. But using the above techniques in conjunction with patience will definitely make the task a lot easier and quicker. Above all you need to be patient with yourself and your puppy and never scold or punish for mistakes. You do not want your dog to associate making mistakes with being shouted at or locked in a room as this will lead to anxiety issue further down the line and may make other training much harder in the future.