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Puppy Potty Training 101

Updated on July 28, 2019
Mylissa Stutes profile image

Owner of Preferred Animal Relocation, LLC. Melissa is a pet owner and has always had an interest in dog behavior.

Tips to making potty training an easy process.

You have a puppy...and a new member of the family. Congratulations! With a puppy, there comes a lot of responsibility. One of those is the task of potty training. Potty training is a must if you want a well-behaved dog that properly communicates their needs and respects your domain. It can require a lot of attention and time upfront, but the effort will pay off greatly in the long run.

Persistence is key to potty training a puppy. Your pup will need constant guidance more than ever during its younger years. For a well-mannered companion, start early and be consistent. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when potty training your new pup.

1) Frequent Bathroom Breaks Are a Must

To potty train a puppy, it is important to take them outside to urinate every four to five hours, even during the late night and early morning hours. If you have a partner, schedule shifts.

Stand with your puppy until the task is complete. Give a command of "Go Potty," or "Use the Bathroom" so they learn a word command.

2) Crate Training Is a Great Tool and a "Safe Place"

If you are kennel training, which I highly recommend, take them outside to use the bathroom each time you let them out of the kennel: first thing in the morning, after each meal, and before bed. Dogs thrive on schedules. Setting a regular routine will give them confidence and surety of what is expected and will result in a faster learning process and a much more rewarding experience for you both.

3) Create Familiarity

It is important to take your pup to the same place every time. Find a spot outside and make sure your partner knows where that exact spot is too. Sometimes your puppy will act like they do not need go. Be stern and stand there patiently until they complete the task.

Having your puppy use the bathroom in the same spot each time helps them to associate quickly what you want from them. They will naturally get in the habit using the bathroom in that area. This is positive conditioning.

4) Watch for Cues

Taking your pup out frequently is a preventative measure. There are signs to watch for, such as sniffing and circling. If you see this behavior, address the pup by saying "no", and then quickly take them outside to "their" spot. It is a good idea to have a towel around in case they can't make it outside. Place the towel on their belly so it absorbs what seeps out, avoiding mishaps.

If an accident happens on your carpet or rug, and it probably will, clean the spot as quickly as possible. There are many sprays available to help eliminate urine smells. I cannot stress enough the importance of cleaning potty mishaps on carpet as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. If you do not clean urine from fabric, a dog will be able to pick out the smell that was left behind. This will be a clear indication that this area is okay to mark again. So, if it's not an ideal place for you, clean it up as best you can.

Proper potty training will help during the beginning developmental stages of bladder control, which puppies do not gain until four months of age. It also provides a regimented schedule to help in the beginning phase of training. Dogs like structure; they thrive off familiarity.

By keeping bathroom breaks, mealtime, and rest time consistent, it will help make the bonding between you and your growing pup much stronger as well as your life more manageable. A stable and disciplined schedule will also provide them confidence and the ability to become, not only a well-mannered canine, but also a best friend.

More than anything, be consistent and follow through. It will get easier as they learn and grow, and they will get with the program more quickly with your guidance. Before long, you little pup will tell you when it's time for them to go and the time between potty breaks will grow longer. Keep up the good work, and enjoy your precious time with you new puppy.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Melissa Stutes


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