Puppies!!!! Everyone loves them and there is so much joy and excitement that comes with your new family member but there is also a lot of work and frustration that comes with training your new puppy, especially potty training. My name is Krystle and I am one of the small animal technicians here at All West Veterinary. I’ve been with the hospital almost 5 years so I have definitely seen the frustrations of many owners and I myself have had my share of frustrations with training my puppy, Waylon. Luckily working at All West gave me the knowledge of how to properly and quickly potty train her, and it worked! Within a week and a half the accidents inside the house were very few and far between and shortly after that they stopped completely. Today I want to share with you the tips to help make housebreaking your new puppy a little easier and quicker.
To start, the ideal age to train your puppy is 7 ½ to 8 ½ weeks old. The puppy is young enough at this age for you to teach him/her where to eliminate before they decide on their own personal favorite place. You still can train your new puppy even if it is older than 8 ½ weeks it just may take a little longer. The biggest key is patience! Take your new puppy outside 6-8 times a day for him/her to eliminate, the ideal times to take them out is after they wake up, after play sessions and 15-30 minutes after a meal. Remember, many puppies need 15-20 minutes to sniff and move around before they eliminate. Use key phrases like “go potty” or “do your business” every time you take your puppy outdoors. It is best to take them outside to an area with very minimal distractions. Once your puppy eliminates outdoors make sure you praise your puppy and repeatedly say “good boy/girl”, treats can also be very effective for this. Make sure your praise is outside immediately after the puppy eliminates, not after coming inside as this may make the puppy think it is being rewarded for coming inside. It is highly recommended not to use potty pads in the house as this only trains your puppy it is okay to go in the house. Take the possibility of a few accidents in the house and stick with directing your puppy outdoors to do his/her business.
When you are not home it is a great idea to keep your puppy confined to a crate small enough that they can’t eliminate on one side and get away from it. Most dogs won’t eliminate in a place they sleep, but keep in mind that your puppies’ bladder and bowel capacity is limited so they need to be let out approximately every 4 hours. Make sure to supervise your puppy when he/she is in the house and out of their crate so that if they do start to eliminate you are there to correct them and get them outside. If your puppy does have an accident in the house, don’t go get the puppy and rub his/her nose in it. This doesn’t do any good because the misbehavior has already happened. Instead, try and catch the puppy in the act. If you see the puppy getting ready to house soil, don’t swat it, instead stomp your foot, shake a can filled with pennies, or startle the puppy by yelling “outside!”. If your puppy does eliminate in the house you want to make sure to thoroughly clean the areas where the puppy has eliminated. If you do not clean these areas thoroughly your puppy may return to it and house soil again.
Feed your puppy at set times every day to create regular intervals at which your puppy will need to eliminate. If you are having troubles getting your puppy to let you know when they need to go outside you can train them to ring a bell on a door. To do this, suspend a small bell from your door knob low enough that your pup can use his/her nose or paw to ring it. Each time you take your puppy outside make them ring the bell with their nose or paw, you can use your hand to gently guide them how to do this. Praise your dog after they ring the bell and take them outside. Repeat this until your puppy is doing it on his/her own. You can also spread a little peanut butter on the bell and let your puppy outside when they ring the bell while licking it. Most puppies can take until they are 14 to 20 weeks old to be fully potty trained, be patient and consult with your veterinarian if you’re having difficulty potty training your puppy.