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Potty Training Dogs - A Simple Guide

Updated on July 10, 2013
Potty Training Dogs - A Simple Guide
Potty Training Dogs - A Simple Guide | Source

Dogs are great and loving companions that add so much enjoyment to the lives of their owners. The enjoyment of owning a dog is even further enhanced when the dog is properly trained and obedient. More dogs are abandoned each year over the issue of “house training” or “potty training” than for any other reason. The sad part is that potty training a dog is a relatively simple process that requires consistency on the part of the dog owner. That’s where the problem lies. Inconsistency is the worst enemy when it comes to house breaking any breed of dog. More often than not, the failure of house training a dog sits squarely on the shoulders of the pet’s owner.

Granted, some dog breeds are easier to train than others, but with just a little effort, all dogs can be house broken in a fairly short amount of time. A problem most pet owners have is in believing that their beloved dog can think and process thoughts and actions just like a human. I’m sorry to break it to you, but Fido does not think like you or me. They thrive off of instinct and repetition. Your dog is not going to naturally come up to you and “tell” you he needs to poop! He’s not going to naturally go to a door and scratch to be let out. He has to be trained through repetition and reward to indicate that he needs to relieve himself. A good solid routine is also a great way to facilitate a desired behavior in your pet.

The biggest thing to remember is that mistakes will happen, but don’t get discouraged or frustrated while potty training your dog. Just remain consistent with the steps I will show you and it won’t be long before your dog understands what acceptable behavior is when it comes to relieving himself.

Potty Training Dogs Step 1: Consistent Routine

As I mentioned earlier, dogs learn through repetition and reward and they learn to associate actions with those rewards. It doesn’t matter if it is a puppy or an older dog, they both will learn to respond to rewards in positive ways. As soon as you have your new dog, you need to set a good routine for “potty training”. If you want your pet to go outdoors to relieve himself, then he needs to be taken out at regular intervals. Most dogs prefer a little exercise before squatting, so make sure you give him ample time. As soon as your dog begins doing his business, start praising him in your “happy” voice. You should also have a small treat on hand as a reward for the good behavior.

If you want your pet to use an indoor puppy pad or similar space, then place them on the pad at regular intervals and be ready to praise them in the same was as above when they relieve themselves in the proper area. Soon the dog will begin to associate the praise and reward with his action and will be eager to do the “right” thing. Remember, don’t get frustrated or angry when your puppy has an accident. I will cover how to deal with accidents later.

Crate Training Video

Potty Training Dogs Step 2: Crate Training

It is always a good idea to get your pet used to being in a crate or kennel. Kennels are also a great way to speed up the potty training process. Dogs generally will not relieve themselves in the same area they lie or sleep in. This makes crate training a great way to train while you are away at work or out shopping. You can start by putting your dog in the kennel for about an hour at a time. As soon as you let him out, it is important that you take him straight to the area where he should relieve himself. Make sure you praise him well when you get the desired behavior. In the beginning, it is best to do this at least 3 or 4 times a day. The dog soon begins to associate coming out of the kennel with using the bathroom and getting a treat. Before long, you can go to work without worrying about your pet soiling the carpets and he will be ready to go when you get home. Again, consistency is the key!

Potty Training Dogs Step 3: Dealing With Accidents

Accidents are unavoidable and are going to happen when house training your dog. The key thing here is to not get angry and frustrated with your pet. This can have a severely adverse affect on your dog’s training. In fact, this is often the reason why potty training a dog can become even harder.

You should never discipline a dog “after the fact” when it comes to accidents. Remember, they don’t process thoughts like we do. Rubbing a dog’s nose in their feces merely confuses them and they may even think you are encouraging them to eat it. They have no problem with that because most want to taste it anyway! Another thing that should be avoided is yelling and screaming at your dog in an angry voice when you see them going potty in the house. What this does is associate using the bathroom with punishment and will soon have your pet hiding to do his business.

If you see your pet start to arch his back or possibly in mid stream, simply walk over and immediately pick him up. Don’t worry, as soon as you pick them up, they will instinctively stop what they are doing. Then calmly take them to where they should be using the bathroom. Just as before, make sure you praise them and give a treat when they finish up in the right spot. We want to continue to associate the potty training with positive affirmation and reward.

Dog Training Resources

Potty Training Dogs Step 4: Avoiding Disaster

I have often heard that limiting a dog’s amount of food per day can also help with the potty training process. This is true to a certain extent, but generally, regular dry dog food is not much of a problem at all. What is a major problem is allowing your dog to eat people food. A dog’s digestive system is more sensitive than a human’s, and people food is much too rich for dogs. Giving a dog table scraps and people food is a sure way to have more than your fair share of accidents. It will also alter the consistency of your dog’s feces and make for a much harder cleanup. A dog who eats people food on a regular basis will defecate much more often than one who does not. It will also cause abnormal weight gain and lead to all sorts of health complications with your beloved pet. A dog who maintains a strict diet of good dog food will live a much longer, happier and healthy life.

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Summing It Up

As pet owners, we often make the process of potty training our dogs harder than it should be. An accident prone dog can zap a lot of enjoyment out of a pet owner, but the reality is that it is easy to correct the problem. More often than not, doggy accidents are more to blame on the owner than on the dog. Successfully potty training a dog is merely an exercise in consistency, praise and reward. This concept is also great for getting any desired action from your pet, whether it be rolling over and playing dead or not jumping on the furniture. Learning these dog training concepts will allow you to have a much more enjoyable experience with your pet and avoid the need for getting rid of a lovable family member. There are also many excellent books devoted to house training specific dog breeds which can offer insight on the temperament of your special pet.


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    • bodylevive profile image


      7 years ago from Alabama, USA

      Very useful information. Mine are potty trained and it does require consistency and patience. I have two dogs, Eragon an english pit terrier and Squeaky a beautiful vanilla lab. I used puppy pads for both and of course when they lived in the house they got taken outside after eating to run , play and relieve themselves. You are so right, many pet owners do not take the time to potty train.


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