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Puppy Potty Training

Posted: 8/28/2008 | Updated: 10/4/2011

Puppy Potty Training

Potty training your new puppy can be very daunting task. It is much like potty training a child. You have to teach them where it is and isn't appropriate to relieve themselves. Puppies are not born knowing that they are only allowed to relieve themselves in certain places. It is your job to teach them this.

It is important to be patient with your puppy as they typically do not have full control of their bladders until around 6 months of age. This is not to say you should not start teaching them until then, in fact if you wait until then you will have a much harder time getting them to learn. Just realize that while your puppy may seem to have gotten the hang of it one day, the next they may have an accident or two. It is very common for potty training to progress in stages like this.

It is important for you to be calm if your puppy does have an accident and never rub their nose in it or punish them after the fact, they will not understand why you are doing it. The most effective way to teach a puppy is to catch them in the act and make a noise to get their attention. Then scoop them up and immediately take them outside or to the proper location for them to go potty. Use a keyword or phrase such as "GoPotty", "Potty" or whatever word or words you choose to use. Just be consistent with this. Always use the same word and don’t use this word to mean anything else to your puppy. Your dog will learn what this means like any other command you teach them and associate their behavior with that word, so choose wisely.

Accidents will definitely occur and when they do clean them up promptly using a strong enzymatic cleaner. This will help to remove all of the smell, discouraging your puppy from going in that location again. If the puppy's smell remains in the carpet or on the floor he will smell that and assume it is okay for them to go there again.

There are several popular methods for Housebreaking your puppy. You can try Crate Training which is where your puppy is kept in a crate or possibly a very small gated off portion of a room whenever you are gone or cannot keep a direct eye on him. With this method your puppy should have just enough space for them to get up and turn around. Typically puppies do not want to soil where they sleep so by limiting their space they are less likely to have an accident in their crate. It is important to teach them that the crate is a safe location for them and should never be used for punishment.

If you work long hours and cannot get home to let your puppy out during the day, you should give you puppy a little more space allowing them to have a bed or blanket to sleep on, their food and water dish and some newspapers or a puppy pad to potty on. It is just unrealistic and unhealthy to expect your small puppy to hold their bladder for more than about 4 to 5 hours at a time. It may be a good idea to find a dog walker or dog sitter if you are gone all day and cannot make it home to let your puppy out.

There also any number of other devices that you can get to allow your dog to potty while you are away. We recommend a device called the WizDog. It is a plastic tray where you place newspaper or a puppy pad and then a plastic grate goes over that to keep the dog from walking directly on the soiled pad or shredding it like puppies love to do. If you have a small dog permanently training them to go indoors is a viable option. If you have a larger dog this will work great while they are puppies or on occasions when you know you have to be gone extra long but is most likely not a great permanent option.

Once you have your puppy trained to always go in a certain location, changing the location where they go is much less difficult. You should not change your puppy's potty routine until they have a handle on it and are accident free. Once that occurs, you can gradually move the puppy pad or other device to another location if desired. To get your puppy to go outside gradually move the pad toward the door where you take them out. Once they are successfully going on the pad near the door you can try taking them outside. If necessary place a pad outside the door at first to get them used to going outside.

During potty training, it is important to feed your puppy on a set schedule as they typically have to go 30 minutes after eating. Take your puppy out promptly 30 minutes after they eat to give them a chance to relieve themselves. To help your puppy learn, you should get him on a routine and always take him outside through the same door.

You should also take them out immediately after returning home or letting them out of their crate. If your puppy gets easily excited and has accidents on their way outside it may help to pick them up and carry them out as quickly as possible. Your puppy may not go every time you take them out but it is important to give them the opportunity. When your puppy does go, promptly give him lots of praise and a treat.

Potty training your new puppy can be a very frustrating and difficult task, but it will pay off in the end. With some puppies it can take a while for them to learn. The more patient and consistent you are the better it will be.

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