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Dog or Puppy Potty Training

 Dog or Puppy Potty Training

dog puppy potty training

A crucial part of dog training is potty-manners.  Even a trained dog may face challenges if he moves to a new home, is ill, aging, or experiences major change.  Knowing how to help Fido master this skill is valuable throughout his life.

The process is simple, but consistency is vital in this part of obedience training.  First, where will pup stay when unsupervised?  Choose an appropriate area.  This may be a fenced-off hallway where puppy can still see the family.  It could be an exercise pen, or a crate might be his cozy den.  If you use a crate, introduce it gradually until he’s comfortable staying by himself.

Next, where is his ‘toilet’?  He might go outdoors, indoors on a pad, or use a litter-pan.  In some homes it’s useful to combine methods, for instance if a toy or hairless breed can’t go outdoors in winter.

Timing is important.  Pup may need to ‘go’ within thirty minutes after waking, eating or drinking, coming out of his pen or crate, and during or after play.  Young puppies often need to go once or twice a night.  Estimate one hour’s bladder control per month in age.  So when you bring home an 8-week old, be prepared to take him every two hours during the day.

When it’s time, take Fido to his spot.  Quietly encourage him to go potty.  When he begins to relieve himself, gently say “good potty,” and when he’s done, “Yippee! Good potty!”  Then play with him, praise, or give a small treat.  As in all obedience training, reward for success

If Fido doesn’t go right away, bring him back indoors or to his confined area, and WATCH HIM!  He may suddenly decide he’s ready.  If he starts sniffing the floor or circling, quickly bring him back to his spot and encourage him again.  If he doesn’t show any “I’m ready” signals, still take him to his spot in five or ten minutes and try again.  Soon it will become a predictable routine.

During this period of dog training, it’s important to schedule food and water so you know when Fido will need to eliminate.  Food should be given only at mealtime.  If the puppy doesn’t eat it all in twenty minutes, put it away until next mealtime.  Water should be offered five or six times a day, with meals, and always during and after play.  If you must leave him alone for awhile, water must be freely available.  Just know he may need to eliminate during this time, so have potty-pads ready.

If pup will be in a contained area, pads should cover the entire floor.  As he begins to pick a favorite spot, remove pads at the outside edges.  Over time, remove the outer pads in stages until he’s down to one or two.  If he misses at any point, just enlarge the padded area until he’s choosing one spot.  Young pups might start this way, then shift to outdoors over time.

Finally, remember that Fido may, at times, need a refresher course.  In all dog training, there are times when we must ‘go back to kindergarten’ and bring him back up to speed.   If Fido has accidents when you thought he was perfect, check with the veterinarian to ensure there’s no medical cause.  If he’s healthy, just retrain him.  He’ll progress quickly the second time around. 

If we’re careful to praise for success, not punish mistakes, all puppy obedience training can be fun and rewarding.  And the results will speak for themselves!