Puppies are blessing in every home. They’re cute, fun and mischievous. Little bundles of joy, you can’t help but love them. One thing you don’t love? Potty training them.
Like working with a little child, housebreaking a puppy can be trying, exhausting and time consuming. If you’re trying to housebreak your little one, try these expert tips to make your life a little easier and help your new puppy go potty outside a little sooner.
1. Start a schedule and stick with it!
Puppies can be like children, and just like children, they work best with a good routine. When you wake up, take the puppy outside. Do that every morning. If you take them out a certain time every day, do that at the same time every day.
The routine will allow your puppy to not only go potty frequently, but also know when he or she is allowed to go and supposed to go. This goes for feedings and exercise too.
Doing the same things at the same times every day will establish a good routine and baseline for a newly housebreaking puppy. For more on creating a functional schedule, read AKC’s article on potty training puppies.
2. Take frequent potty breaks.
The problem with puppies is that they don’t yet understand that there is a link between needing to go and actually going. This is why they frequently have accidents inside.
Until they understand that link between needing to go and actually waiting to go until they’re outside, you should take them outside very frequently.
Taking them outside, even when they don’t have to go, will help the puppy establish that mental link between going, and needing to go.
3. Be positive!
As with most creatures, dogs love to be praised. Positive energy affects them positively, just like humans seeking praise. When your puppy does something good, let them know they’ve done a good job!
Try not to punish them for accidents. That only gives them a negative connotation towards going to the bathroom and may actually make them have more frequent accidents indoors.
Instead of punishing them, positively reinforce the right action. “No, no, no, we go outside.” Take them outside, even if they don’t have to go, to reaffirm the right action without punishing them.
Your positive energy will drive them to do the right things to earn that positive energy. Expert Cesar Millan talks about positive energy and reinforcement in his article.
4. Try a crate.
Crate training has become a very popular method in recent years. The theory behind it is that dogs do not want to soil in their own beds, for obvious reasons. It reinforces the idea of teaching them to control their bladders and bowels.
Make sure the crate is not too big, but not too small either. When no one is available to take the puppy outside, put him or her in the crate. If he or she does soil the crate, the puppy will not like it very much and will probably do its best not to do it again. Read this article by Doctors Foster and Smith on crate training.
5. Grab the puppy pads!
Putting down puppy pads in the home can help direct a puppy. Teaching them to go on one specific area can help get them get ready for the big outdoors.
You can start with teaching them to go on the pads inside, and then move the pads outside for them to go on until they get the swing of things.
6. Limit your puppy’s water intake.
It sounds mean, but trust me, it isn’t. Limiting their access to water at certain times throughout the day can limit their need to go outside, thus limiting possible accidents.
If your puppy tends to have accidents at night, for example, take the water dish away a couple of hours before bedtime so the odds of them needing to go out during the night will lessen.
This can help establish routines and avoid obvious accidents. Read this article by the Humane Society for more information.
7. Reward your little star!
Your puppy deserves a gold star, just like your children do. When they do the right thing, getting a reward will make them want to do the same action again.
If they get a treat every time they go outside, they will realize that that particular action gains them a reward and of course, they’ll want to do it more!
So stock up on treats and get to rewarding! Healthy Pets has a great article on rewarding a housebreaking puppy.
8. Become as attached as possible.
You have to try to give your little puppy as much attention as possible. Giving them constant supervision will help eliminate messes. They won’t want to do something they know is bad right in front of you!
Having someone constantly supervising them will help them have the desire to want to do the right thing for two reasons: they want to be praised, and they don’t want to disappoint you!
This is all easier said than done, and if you can’t be around them all the time, try asking family or friends to help, or put them in doggy daycare!
Not only will they get constant supervision, but they may make a few puppy friends! Pet Education has a great article on supervising your pup.
9. Try the 15-minute rule!
As we all know, puppies have to go frequently. To remember to take them out, or to ensure they get out in time, use the 15-minute rule.
This means that you should take them outside 15 minutes after the puppy does anything; whether it’s eating, drinking, or exercising. This is an easy way for both you and puppy to remember that puppy needs to tinkle a lot! Read about the 15-minute rule here, by VetStreet.
10. BE PATIENT!
The last, but not least tip is to remember to have patience! The puppy is learning something new and it’s best to give yourself and the puppy a break and take it easy. The puppy will need time to learn and the more you get frustrated, the longer that process will take.
Are You Ready to Potty Train Your Puppy?
Remember that potty training is difficult and time consuming. Stick with it! Give yourself and your puppy the credit you both deserve.
The most important thing to remember when housebreaking a puppy is that it is a process and takes some work. With some patience and a little help from some doggy experts, your puppy will be fully trained in no time!
These tips will set you on the right path to establishing a well-behaved, good little dog! Try these tips, use what works best for you and remember the most important item: love your beautiful little puppy!