Potty training your puppy doesn’t have to be hard.
House Training Schedule for Your Puppy
Start with a schedule and stick with a schedule. Repeat, repeat, repeat. There’s nothing more helpful when potty training a puppy than getting him on a schedule and keeping that schedule. Schedule your pup’s meals. Leave the food down for 20 – 25 minutes, then take it up until the next feeding. Allowing your pup to have free access (called “free feeding”) will slow down your house training efforts.
Schedule frequent trips outside — with your pup on a leash — to give him lots of opportunities to go to the bathroom on the grass. There are good reasons to take your pup on potty breaks on a leash.
- You can control your pup — this isn’t play time, it’s pee and poop time.
- You are there with your pup to make sure he goes to the bathroom. Too many suburban dog owners just let their pup out in the backyard and assume that business gets done. And then they’re surprised when their pup comes back inside and promptly goes to the bathroom in the house.
- You can create the bathroom area in a specific part of your yard. Take your pup to the pee and poop area, stand there, and wait for your pup to go to the bathroom.
You want to take your puppy outside every 30 minutes and after he wakes up from a nap, after an enthusiastic play session, and after he’s eaten.
Supervise Your Puppy
When your pup is inside the house with you, control his access to the rest of the house. Your pup should be in the same room with you at all times (for so many reasons, not just for house training). Wooden or plastic baby gates are easy to find and are relatively inexpensive — there’s no reason not to have at least one in your house. I also use a tether, as well as a crate to help control the pup’s access to the house. Between these three tools, it’s pretty easy to keep your confined so you can “eyeball” your puppy all the time.
It’s important to control your puppy’s access in the house.
Doing this ensures that you will:
- teach the puppy to go outside to go to the bathroom
- catch on to your pup’s subtle signals that he’s gotta go to the bathroom
- make sure he’s not learning to sneak off and pee or poop out of sight.
More Potty Training Tips
- Take your pup out the same door every time.
- Whenever the pup is even remotely close to that door, praise him and take him outside to the potty area.
- If your pup goes to the bathroom in the house, don’t scold him. You messed up, scold yourself if you feel you must scold someone. Scolding your pup will encourage him to hide when he has to go to the bathroom and it’ll be even harder to teach your pup to go outside.
- Create a family schedule to share the house training responsibility and so there’s no breakdown in supervision or potty training coverage. It’s really hard to say “I didn’t know I was supposed to be watching the puppy!” if the schedule is posted on the refrigerator.
- Use an enzymatic cleaner to clean up messes. These enzymatic cleansers actually breakdown the elements of waste and they’re the only thing that will remove the scent. You can’t cover the scent — at least not to a dog’s nose. Dogs can smell 1 tablespoon of sugar in the water it takes to fill two Olympic-sized pools!
It all comes down to YOU.
The more consistent YOU are, the quicker your puppy will learn to go to the bathroom outside. It takes a little bit of planning, but you can have the problem licked in just two short weeks if you get your plan in motion now!
What’s your biggest potty training headache? Have house training hints to share? Leave a comment!
Jo Cook says
Can I use this with my puppy people as a hanout if I give you credit?
Really thorough and helpful list. You should make this into a brochure for e-readers with a small download fee. I bet you’d get lots of takers.
The one thing we’ve had problems with when house training foster puppies is when the husband comes home. I spend the entire day doing serious supervision just to have my husband agree to take over so I can get work done. It’s almost a guarantee that we’ll be cleaning up a mess inside ten minutes.
I’d be more upset but I’ve read that others have had the exactly same problem. 🙂
Laurie Luck says
Jo, yes, please do! You can put Smart Dog U’s website (www.smartdoguniversity.com) and this blog address (http://smartdog.typepad.com) as the resource for the info. Thanks!
Laurie Luck says
Pamela — HA! The husband is very often the “un-doer” of all things, methinks! 🙂 At least mine can be. In fact, I think I’ve blogged about it, tee hee!
John Gillispie says
Have a listen and a chuckle: “Doggie Doo — a Pulic Service Announcement” — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GudjIzaOyF0