3 Quick Tips to Potty Train Your New Puppy
Don’t get overwhelmed with puppy potty training; these steps help your dog know where to go
There’s no doubt that a new puppy means new responsibility; your life suddenly revolves around this little cute bundle of fluff. You need to care for your puppy, feed him, keep him healthy, and train him so that he can grow into a well-mannered pooch. Plus, a trained dog is a lot easier on your floors and slippers. Potty training may not be the most glamorous part of puppy parenthood, but it’s definitely the one that you want to tackle as soon as possible.
The basic concept of potty training is pretty simple, but it comes with a lot of questions that can easily turn it into a confusing conundrum. For example, do you always have to take your pup on a walk? What if you live in a high-rise apartment? Can you just let your puppy run around in the backyard? Knowing the answers to these questions and understanding that you can potty train your puppy no matter what your living situation can help you stay focused on the task at hand.
It’s best to prepare yourself before you begin so that you start out on the right foot. Backtracking, once you’re deep into the process of training, will just delay your results, make you frustrated, and lead to regression. Therefore, before you start working with your pup on his bathroom habits, familiarize yourself with these quick and easy, straightforward steps.
Three Steps for Successful Potty Training
There’s no need to get bogged down in a bunch of crazy rules; your pup can learn that he goes potty outside with just a little persistence and consistency and these three key steps.
Prep Your Toolkit To Potty Train Puppy
If you take the time to prepare everything you need for potty training before you start, you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches. The good news is, you don’t need a ton of supplies when it comes to potty training, you just need to focus on these few essentials:
- An appropriately-sized crate -- Your puppy associates his crate with his own personal safe den. Dogs have a natural instinct to keep their dens clean, so your pup will have the same desire when it comes to his crate. Make sure that the crate is large enough for your pup to comfortably stand and turn around, but that it isn’t too big, otherwise he’ll be more tempted to go potty inside of it.
- Puppy gates -- Safety gates are a great way to limit the number of places your pup has access to in your house. Reducing the places your pup can go not only helps with potty training, but it also keeps your puppy safe since he won’t have as many opportunities to get into mischief.
- Leash and collar (or harness) -- Proper exercise is important to make sure your puppy gets the stimulation that he needs. Therefore, he’ll be more apt to rest when necessary instead of getting into trouble. Plus, taking multiple walks throughout the day ensures that your pup has ample opportunities for potty breaks. When you are potty training, even if you just take your pup into your backyard for his potty break, keep him on a leash. This helps your pet realize that this is not playtime, but potty time.
- Pet waste bags -- It’s the duty of every responsible pet owner to pick up after their dog when he does his business, so make sure to have some leak-proof waste bags in your potty training arsenal.
- Treats -- Remember, potty training is just another behavior that your dog needs to learn - training and positive reinforcement work best. Always have tasty training treats at the ready and immediately reward your pup after he goes potty in the right spot.
- Stain and odor remover -- No matter how fast your pup takes to potty training, accidents are inevitable, so make sure to have a good stain and odor remover ready to go. Look for a high-quality enzyme cleaner like Zymtastic that targets and eliminates pet odors so your dog won’t be tempted to go potty again in the same spot.
- Potty pads -- Although you ultimately only want your puppy to go potty outside, potty pads can be a handy thing to have on hand if you live in a place where multiple trips outside aren’t always possible. For example, if you live on an upper floor of an apartment complex, you may not always be able to take your pup out for his potty break. Another time potty pads are useful is if you have limited mobility, perhaps due to an injury, and are not able to take your pup outside, or if it is storming badly. Train your pup to use the pad in a similar way to training him to go outside, and reward your puppy when he goes on the pad.
Stick To a Puppy Schedule
A schedule can work wonders when it comes to potty training because it keeps things consistent for you and your dog, and it also trains your pup’s bladder to “hold it.” However, never expect your dog to hold it in longer than he is safely able to do, this can lead to problems like bladder infections and other issues. How long a puppy can control his bladder is linked to his age, and the older he gets the longer he can go between bathroom breaks. For example, a puppy that is two months old may need to go potty between 8 and 10 times a day, while a pup that is 8 months old may only need about three or four bathroom breaks a day.
Basically, incorporate walks and potty breaks roughly twenty minutes after each meal, as well as when you first get up in the morning and before you go to bed at night. Also, let your pup take a potty break anytime you take him out of his crate. When you do take your puppy outside to use the potty give him a verbal cue, such as "Go potty, " or "Hurry up, potty." This clearly signals your expectations to your dog and helps him understand that this is not playtime.
There will be times when the whole potty training process is frustrating, expecting it not to be is fooling yourself. However, maintaining patience and positivity is key in successfully training your puppy. Negative feedback doesn’t work well with puppies; shoving his nose in his mess, swatting him with a rolled-up newspaper, and yelling at him will only confuse and upset him, and most likely stress you out even more.
Positive reinforcement training works best; it teaches your dog what behaviors you find acceptable and rewards him for when he performs these behaviors. Treats, praise, and loving pats are all great rewards. The critical point with positive reinforcement is that you give it to your pup as soon as he does the desired behavior, so this means giving him a treat and praising him as soon as he goes potty in the right spot. If you wait to reward your pup, he won’t associate the reward with the correct behavior.
How Long Before Your Pup Is Potty Trained?
There is no magic number as to when your pup will be successfully trained. There are a lot of different factors that influence how your puppy will respond to house training and how quickly he will catch on to the appropriate behaviors. One of the biggest elements that affects potty training is your pup’s age. He needs to be old enough to have the muscle control necessary to hold his bladder (at least 8 weeks), even if just for a short period of time before you begin training.
On the other hand, if your puppy is older when you get him, he may have already picked up some bad habits from his previous home, and you’ll have to work on changing these habits first. No matter what your own unique situation, just know that your puppy can be potty trained, as long as you stay focused and vigilant. Don’t give up! If you stick to your schedule and stay consistent, you can start to see success in just a few months.
Expecting that accidents will happen can make it easier for you to handle them when they do. Remain calm and don’t berate or scold your dog for making a mistake. One of the best ways to stop accidents is to try and prevent them before they occur. Watch your puppy closely and learn his cues that signal when he needs to go potty; this way you can bring him outside for a potty break before he messes in the house. Always accompany your dog outside for his breaks, and keep him close by so that you can reward him immediately. Try your best to not get frustrated, and know that your puppy will get there eventually, he just needs you to stay calm and focused.
Potty training is one of those things that every dog owner wants to achieve but often dreads doing because of the misconception that it will be super difficult. Hopefully, after reading this, you view house training your puppy as completely doable instead of overwhelming. Preparation plays an important role in your pup’s success, and at Neater Pets we aim to provide you with useful tips and products that can help you prepare for your new pup’s arrival.
- Fernando Becattini