Bringing home a new puppy is one of the greatest joys in life, but not everyone knows how to potty train a puppy. It requires love, commitment, and a whole lot of patience. Puppy potty training doesn’t have to be a nightmare for you or your dog. In fact, it can be a special bonding experience as you and your new furry friend get to know each other.
Not sure where to start when it comes to potty training a puppy? Follow these puppy potty training steps to have your pup trained up in no time.
Potty Training a Puppy
Potty training a puppy can be a breeze with the right approach. Start by establishing a consistent schedule, taking your pup outside frequently, and rewarding them for successful potty breaks. Use positive reinforcement and be patient during the process. Remember to clean accidents properly to prevent repeat incidents. With consistency and perseverance, your puppy will soon master the art of potty training.
When to Start Potty Training a Puppy
Good bathroom habits start early. Potty training for a puppy should begin as soon as you bring your furry friend home, usually when they’re at least eight weeks old. Establishing potty routines early will set your pup up for success in the future.
Keep in mind that when puppies are young their bladders are much smaller. Accidents are totally typical puppy behavior. While learning routines early on is helpful, it may take them until they’re 12-16 weeks old before they really start to show potty training mastery.
How to Potty Train a Puppy
There are a few important things to keep in mind when potty training a puppy. Keeping watch, keeping a schedule, and using good strategies will go a long way in properly training your dog. Most importantly, make sure you’re entering potty training your puppy with a positive attitude.
Remember that your puppy is still learning, and remember how much you love them. Patience while potty training a puppy is key, along with the following tips.
1. Closely Monitor Your Puppy
Keeping a close eye on your puppy will make it easier to tell when they have to go so you can make sure you’re able to take them out, let them out, or otherwise show them how it’s done at every opportunity possible. Puppy potty training takes a lot of time and attention, so make sure you’re prepared to observe and attend.
Give your puppy opportunities to use the bathroom often. Repetition is key, and the more practice they have with you the faster they’ll pick up the potty routine themselves.
Watch your dog for signs they need to go. Obvious ‘I need to go’ behavior might include whining, scratching at the door, or circling. When puppies are young, though, they may not have figured out how to let you know themselves. Pay attention to that potty dance to help avoid accidents in the house.
2. Schedule Food and Water Consumption
Puppies usually need to be fed two to three times per day early on. You can expect that what goes in will usually come out within 20 to 30 minutes when dogs are young because their bladders and bowels are still very small.
Always make sure you’re giving your puppy the recommended amount of food and keep them hydrated, but keep in mind that you’ll probably have to schedule bathroom time shortly after. If you know when you’ve given your puppy food and water, you’ll know about the time they’ll need to use the bathroom, too.
Feeding and giving your puppy water at consistent times will also encourage consistent bathroom breaks, establishing a more predictable routine for both of you.
3. Use a Crate
Using a crate can be helpful with puppy training in several ways, and potty training is no exception. A crate for potty training a puppy gives them a defined space of their own and helps them practice holding it while you’re away since they’re likely not going to want to soil their own living area.
Make sure your puppy gets frequent bathroom and run-around breaks when using the crate training method. A crate should be big enough for your puppy to lie down, stand up, and turn around without being too cramped. It should be a comfortable space for them so they see it as a place to take care of and feel safe in.
4. Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement means rewarding desired or expected behavior in order to encourage that behavior to continue. In the case of potty training a puppy, this usually comes in the form of treats. Giving the treat will motivate your dog to repeat the behavior and will impress on them that they’re getting it right.
When your puppy meets the expectations of letting you know they have to go, going in the right place on their own, or both, it’s important to let them know they did the right thing and that you’re proud of them. Nothing says “good job” like a treat as a reward.
5. Avoid Pee Pads if Possible
Pee pads might seem like a great idea for preventing messes at first, but the truth is they’re more trouble than they’re worth. What they actually do is give your dog the idea that going to the bathroom in the house is okay, a behavior you definitely don’t want to establish as a norm.
The other trouble with pee pads is the mess and the smell. Sure, it keeps pee off your carpets and floors, but the pads still have to be disposed of and can get pretty smelly before you’re able to get to them.
How Long Does it Take to Potty Train a Puppy?
To fully potty train a puppy usually takes about four to six months. Of course, accidents can still happen and some puppies may take up to a year to be completely house-trained.
The size of your dog can help you guess whether they might take a little longer to be fully potty trained. Smaller dogs have smaller bladders and bowels and can’t hold it for as long as bigger dogs. Even once potty trained, smaller dogs may need to go to the bathroom more frequently.
Potty Training and More With Pettable Academy
Ready to start potty training your puppy? Get the best potty training from the experts at Pettable Academy. Our online training programs are designed to be completed by you and your dog at home where you’ll be free from distractions and able to focus together.
Pettable Academy’s Puppy Training course is led by a certified, professional dog trainer. Each lesson is designed to be completed at your own pace and will give you the tools to have total puppy potty training success.