Making a dog a part of your life is probably one of the best things that you can do. A dog will love you unconditionally and make your life so much better. However, having a dog is not only about playing with him and feeding him. It is important to train your dog, and potty training tops this list.
Potty training a dog or puppy is not a daunting task. Dogs are intelligent beings—a little patience and effort are all that you need to train your furry friend. While some take a little more time, there will be puppies that get potty trained in a couple of weeks. Nevertheless, as a pet parent, you need to make sure that you are doing it right. Stay positive, do not lose your calm, be consistent and follow the given methods and tips to train your pet.
Tools Needed for Potty Training
You will need to get the following tools before you start potty training your dog:
You will need a proper crate whose size will depend on the size of your puppy. It will keep the pup safe even when you are not watching him. It will also teach him to hold the urge to pee or poop in order to keep his abode clean.
This is probably something that you already have. Make sure to take your puppy out leashed (always) even when you have a fenced yard for the training. By doing this, he will understand the difference between going out for playing and going out for doing business.
Whether you are potty training your puppy or training your pup for something else, always keep treats handy. Treat him immediately after he eliminates so that he understands that he will get a reward after pottying at the right spot.
4. Baby Gates
These are a great way to keep your pup secured and prevent it from sneaking to other parts of the home, unsupervised.
5. Odour and Stain Remover
Clean the places already soiled with a proper odour and stain remover, where you do not your pup to poop or pee.
Methods To Potty Train a Dog
Positive reinforcement is the only method to be followed to potty train a dog. Older methods that involved rubbing the dog’s face in this faeces is strictly not to be followed. Such methods do not help and can even damage the relationship with your dog. You need to understand that dogs do not understand the concept of pooping and peeing like the way we do. To animals, pooping and peeing are quite interesting and not just natural life processes.
Punishing your pup for peeing or pooping in the house will not make him understand that doing it is a mistake. It might also scare him and keep him away from you and other family members. You can succeed if you are patient and kind. Also, do not forget that your puppy is learning something new and it will take some time.
Some of the ways using which you can potty train your dog are as follows:
1. Use the Crate
This is a great way to start your pup’s potty training. Dogs have a natural instinct of keeping their surroundings clean. Introduce the right-sized crate gradually, and keep him inside the crate for a few hours. The pup will consider it to be his home and will control the urge to poop or pee inside. This will prevent accidents from happening even when you are unable to keep a watch on the little guy. Keep the puppy inside the crate when you are not able to give him attention and also during his sleep time. You need to choose a crate of the right size. The puppy should be able to stand, sit, turn around, and sleep comfortably. However, it should not be too large. Your puppy will poop at one corner of the crate and sleep at the other corner.
2. Potty Pads
Potty pads are suitable for people who want to teach their puppy to poop inside the house. This is a good option for small breeds or people living in high-rise buildings or cold countries. Take him to the potty pad ever 3-4 hours and let him excrete.
3. Litter Box
This is another option you have. Choose one that has a dip on one side so that your pup can climb in and out of the box easily. Keep a towel soaked with your puppy’s urine and place it inside the little box and take your pup to the box every 3-4 hours.
The last two options are viable for apartments dwellers or anyone who cannot take their dogs out. However, the crate-method rule applies to the bottom two as well. It will teach the pup to learn to prevent accidents from happening.
Setting Up a Routine for Your Dog
To ensure that your dog poops or pees at the same time of the day, you will have to set a routine for it. Here’s how you can set up a routine for it.
- All dogs more or less follow a predictable routine, day in and day out. Understanding this routine will make life easy for both you and your pet. Make sure to feed your puppy at that time and take him for his bathroom breaks. Dogs usually poop after every large meal.
- During the initial days of potty training, you will have to schedule hourly walks. Make sure to take your puppy out for walks after crating.
- One common mistake that new puppy parents make is they think that puppies can hold longer than they actually can. The rough math, in this case, is the average hold time is equal to a puppy’s age. This means a two-month-old puppy can hold for roughly 2 hours. The exceptions to this rule are that pups can hold longer while sleeping at night and this increases with their age, and they need more frequent potty breaks while playing.
Do’s and Don’ts of Potty Training Your Dog
Here are some potty training dog tips that you need to be aware of:
A few things you could do:
- Make sure to maintain a regular feeding schedule and do not give food in between the meals.
- Take your puppy out (or to the potty pad/ litter box) as the first thing in the morning. Do this every 1-2 hours, after every meal, after every nap, and also as the last thing before bedtime.
- Ensure you take him to the same spot so that he can get the smell.
- When he excretes at the right spot, praise him and give him rewards.
- If you catch him pooping or peeing at a wrong place, clap loudly and say ‘No’ so that he understands he has done something wrong. Take him to the designated spot immediately.
- Stay outside for a long time to prevent accidents.
Things you shouldn’t do include:
- Do not punish your puppy if he excretes in the house. In fact, for the initial few days, he will do it quite a number of times.
- If you find his poop or pee somewhere but do not see him doing it, do not react angrily. Dogs are that intelligent that they will be able to connect your anger to their accident.
A few questions that may pop up include:
1. At What Age Should You Start Potty Training a Puppy?
Ideally, you should not bring a puppy that is less than eight-week-old. Taking away a younger pup from his mother can cause problems later. If you have taken a pup that is around 2 months old, you can start potty training immediately.
Puppies younger than that do not have the muscle control required to control the need to pee or poop.
2. How Long Does it Take to Potty Train a Puppy?
There is no fixed duration when it comes to potty training a puppy. A lot depends on your puppy’s age. It is always easier to train an older dog as compared to a pup.
Your diligence also has an important role to play here. If you are strict and keep a track of your puppy’s schedule as well as follow the given methods, it will take a few months for your pup to get potty trained. If your puppy goes without a single accident for an entire month, you can consider him to have become trained. To train older dogs, the process involved is more or less the same. Older dogs have better control over its muscles but require training. Take your dog out whenever required and make use of crate and baby gates. Understand his schedule and be alert of his potty signals. All dogs (even puppies) sniff the ground when they want to pee or poop. Take him immediately and do not come back unless the work is done. Do not forget to reward him after he excretes. Cleaning the accident spots is also equally important. Use a proper cleaning agent so that the odour goes away.
Potty training dogs is not that difficult if you are a little patient and are able to invest time. All the best!