New puppies are great fun. They’re cute and cuddly, they’re playful and friendly. There are few who can resist the charms of an itty bitty puppy. This new family member is so loveable, in fact, that you can almost forget one of the biggest challenges you’ll face when that cute little puppy comes home – potty training.
Puppy potty training, also known as housebreaking your puppy, is rarely easy. In fact, it can be downright frustrating and upsetting at times. There are ways to make sure you get through the process successfully. Let’s start with these tips to get you, and puppy, off on the right foot, or paw:
Know Your Puppy’s Potty Dance
You’ll want to catch your puppy in the act when possible, so you can teach puppy the right way to go potty. Start watching your puppy for signs of a ‘potty dance.’ These signs often come right after eating or drinking, and very often after a good bit of playful activity. In other words, after you feed your puppy, watch for signs of sniffing, circling, and squatting. Also, after you play, observe puppy for those same kinds of ‘looking for a place to piddle or poop’ signs.
Assign a Potty Spot
When you catch puppy getting ready, you’ll need to show him or her where to go potty. If possible, the best thing to do is take puppy straight outside in order to help train that the inside of the house is not a potty spot. If that’s not possible because puppy is too little to wait until you can get outside to the potty spot, then you will likely need to paper-train puppy first with a spot in the house. Puppy will be able to hold on longer and longer as time goes by, making it possible to plan an outdoor excursion to the potty spot.
Reward Good Behavior
If puppy goes potty in the right spot, a reward is in order. This can be your praise and affection or it could be a special treat just for potty time. A mixture of treats, praise, and playtime works very well for puppies. Because puppy wants only to please you and only to play with you, your praise and play means everything to them and they will do anything to get it – including go potty in the right place.
Schedule Potty Time
Since you have been vigilant with your puppy, learning the ‘potty dance’ signs and understanding the potty habits, you can now set up a schedule so you don’t have to watch so closely. Typically speaking, most puppies will want to go potty about 30 to 40 minutes after they have eaten, or after waking up from a nap, or after they’ve played hard. With this in mind, you are now ready to schedule these times for yourself. Feed puppy at a time when you know you’ll have time in 30 minutes or so to take puppy for a potty run. Set up your playtime in the same fashion and include that 30 to 40 minute time at the end for potty time. If you stay consistent with your schedule, you can relax a bit.
Consistency is Key… Consistency is Key
And, speaking of consistency, it bears repeating. You must keep consistent with puppy. If you are not dedicated to the training, expect failure. Puppy is a creature of habit. Therefore, if you are providing treats as a reward during potty training, be prepared with them immediately. If potty time is 30 minutes after eating, make sure you get puppy out to the potty spot in 30 minutes. Remember, if you are not consistent, it is your failure, not puppy’s failure.
Give it Time
Puppy will have accidents. There will be times when puppy will happily go outside to the potty spot, only to look at you with a puzzled expression. Then, just as you return to the house, puppy will suddenly understand, and go potty on the floor. Be prepared for this and don’t get too stressed by it. You’re looking for improvement over time. Yes, time. As long as there is a forward progression, you have nothing to worry about. Patience will be your best friend while housebreaking your puppy.
Limit Food and Drink at Bedtime
When puppy is very little, you can’t expect more than approximately one hour of sleep for every month since their birth. So, if you bring home a three month old puppy, expect to set the alarm for every three hours during the night, or wake up to a puddle or pile. In order to stretch this time out while waiting for growth and nature to take its course, it’s a good idea to limit food and drink about three hours before bedtime. Schedule your puppy’s feedings earlier in the day to help you, and puppy, get a full night’s rest.
Being prepared with this type of information can help you get through puppy potty training smoothly without too much stress. Remember, consistency is key. If you stick with it, your new puppy will be happily house-trained in no time.