If the holidays came with the addition of a new puppy, that means the New Year is going to come with the addition of a lot of training. The biggest (and we would argue most important) item on the training list is potty training. Sure, rollover and shake get the applause, but carpet cleaning can get expensive, so let’s take care of the basics first!
With that in mind, we’ve pulled together a few tips on the best way to help your new family member learn where the bathroom is.
Just like most people, dogs do well with a routine, so set a schedule for what goes in and for when it goes out. Keep your puppy on a regular feeding schedule and take away their food between meals, this will help your puppy anticipate mealtime. Take your puppy out to do their business first thing in the morning, take them outside after meals or when they wake from a nap, right after playtime and one more time before bed. Other than those specific times, the general rule of thumb is that a puppy should be able to hold it for as many hours as they are months old. So for a four-month-old pup that’s four hours.
Stay with your pup outside and take them to the same spot each time to do their business. You can even put them on a leash to keep them near you and focused. When your puppy takes care of business outside, praise your puppy with a lot of “good dogs” and maybe even a treat. This is precisely why we invented the Buckley Trainer!
Accidents are common in puppies up to a year old. The reasons for accidents range from incomplete house training to a change in the pup’s environment. When your puppy does have an accident, make sure to keep on training. It can be helpful to keep a log of when your puppy goes to the bathroom to keep everyone in the household up to date and so you can adjust their routine as needed. If it still doesn’t seem to be working, consult a veterinarian to rule out any medical issues.
A crate can be helpful in house training your puppy. It will allow you to keep an eye on them for signs they need to go and teach them to hold it until you open the crate and let them outside.
Make sure it is large enough for the puppy to stand, turn around, and lie down, but not big enough for them to use a corner as a bathroom. If you’re using the crate for more than two hours at a time, make sure the puppy has fresh water, preferably in a dispenser you can attach to the crate. If you can’t be home during the house training period, have somebody else give them a break following that same schedule outlined above.
Don’t use a crate if the puppy is doing their business in it. That could have several meanings: they may have brought bad habits from the shelter or pet store where they lived before, they may not be getting outside enough, the crate may be too big, or they may be too young to hold it in.
- Punishing your puppy for having an accident is a definite no-no. It teaches your puppy to fear you or to be more sneaky next time they need to potty and that’s not what you want.
- If you catch your puppy in the act, clap loudly to get their attention and immediately take them outside. When they’re finished, remember the “good dog” and an extra scratch behind the ear or give them a Buckley Trainer or Ruff Puff.
- If you found the evidence but didn’t see the act, don’t react angrily by yelling or rubbing their nose in it. Your puppy won’t make the connection between your anger and the accident and it can hinder your overall relationship.
- Be patient! Staying outside longer with puppy may help to curb accidents. They may need a bit of extra time to sniff around and explore.
- Clean up accidents with an enzymatic cleanser rather than an ammonia-based cleaner. This will minimize odors which as we said before can attract the puppy back to the same spot