Bringing home a new puppy is a very exciting time. Your new four-legged companion is sure to fill your life with joy, love, and adventure. One of the first things that you need to do (in addition to acclimating your new family member to his new home) is to begin the process of potty training.
Potty training your puppy can take some time. It doesn’t have to be a stressful experience, though. Here are a few tips to help make the process go more smoothly.
Stick to a Schedule
Puppies, especially young ones, can only hold their bladders for a short time. Frequent trips outside are a must. When creating your schedule, keep a few factors in mind, such as your puppy’s age and mealtimes.
In general, your puppy will need to go outside when he first wakes up in the morning, after a nap, and after mealtimes. You should also be sure to take him out after a play session or after he’s been in his crate or confined space for a while.
Learn the Signs
Your puppy has a natural desire to explore. In the early stages of potty training, you need to keep a close eye on him. Keep a leash on him so that he can’t get that far away from you. Make sure that he’s always in the same room that you (or another family member) are. You should also make sure to learn the signs that he might need to relieve himself. Common signs include:
- Pacing around in circles.
- Sniffing the floor.
As soon as you notice any of these signs, it’s time to go outside.
If you can’t keep a close eye on your puppy, keep him in an enclosed space such as a crate or a gated room like the kitchen. Don’t keep him confined for too long, though. He needs to be able to explore (supervised) and play.
Designate a Potty Spot
Choose an area outside to be the designated “potty spot.” The place provides an olfactory reminder for your puppy. Smelling his own scent can help to remind him of what he’s supposed to do there.
You can also use verbal cues to help your puppy understand what you expect of him. For instance, you can use the word “out” or “outside” as you’re bringing him to the door and leading him to the yard to tell him it’s time to go. As he’s relieving himself, you can use the word “potty.” He’ll eventually connect the words with the actions.
Provide Plenty of Praise
When your puppy does relieve himself outside, give him lots of praise. You can never tell him “good boy” too much or give him too many pats on the head. You may even choose to reward him with a treat if he’s food motivated. Even if it seems like you’re going overboard with the praise, you’re not. He’ll see that you’re excited at what he did, and he’ll want to do it again to please you. Be sure to praise him whenever he uses his designated spot or goes in any other acceptable location.
Expect Accidents to Happen
No puppy will pick up potty training right away. Expect that accidents will happen. Be prepared with pet carpet cleaner, paper towels, and patience.
When your puppy goes indoors (or in any other unacceptable location), don’t punish him. If you catch him in the act, catch his attention with a quick “no!” or “stop!” to interrupt him and immediately bring him outdoors to his spot to finish. When he does complete his business, give him praise.
If you don’t catch him in the act and find the accident later, don’t rub his nose in it. He won’t understand what you’re upset about and the action won’t help anyone. For any messes that are made, be sure to clean them up thoroughly. Doing so with the appropriate cleaners will help to remove all traces of urine and keep your puppy from going in the same spot again.
Potty training your puppy may take some time. Be patient. With dedication, consistency, and lots of love, your new companion will get the hang of it in no time.