How to Potty Train Your Puppy
Ahh … the pitter patter of tiny puppy paws on the kitchen tile is like music to your ears, and now the real fun (and work) begins!
At New Haven Pet Hospital, we’re here to help get your puppy off to a healthy start with puppy wellness examinations and our Puppy Start-Right Pre-School, where our trainer provides gentle, positive puppy training that focuses on socialization with people and other dogs, and introduces basic commands like sit and come.
Without a doubt, successful potty training ranks near the top of every new puppy owner’s wish list. Our pet experts have put together some helpful hints to guide you when housebreaking your puppy.
It Starts With You
Believe it or not, your actions are just as important as your puppy’s during the potty training process. Your puppy’s success hinges on you being patient, compassionate, and consistent—always.
Cr(e)ate a Safe Space
Crates are important tools in puppy training. You need one big enough for your puppy to lounge in comfortably but not one that’s so big that he has room for a potty spot in the corner. Dogs don’t ordinarily soil in their special sleeping places, so it’s important that he views his crate as a comfy, positive, and private space. He should never associate his crate with punishment.
Pick a Potty Spot
Decide ahead of time where in the yard (or other outside area) your puppy should “do his business,” and take him directly to this spot for every potty break.
A Leash is a Must
Make sure your puppy is leashed for every potty break. This prevents him from getting distracted and wandering away from his “special” spot.
Frequency at First
Puppies have tiny bladders and can’t completely control them for the first several months of their lives. Plan to provide potty breaks as often as every 45 minutes to an hour during the day. (Fun fact: dogs actually develop a sense of time!)
At a minimum, provide potty breaks at these times:
- After waking (in the morning and after naps)
- Within 15 minutes of every meal (stick to a strict mealtime schedule, too)
- After he drinks a lot of water
- After active playtime
- After a training session
- Anytime he exhibits behavior like sniffing in circles on the floor, smelling his bottom, or acting like he wants to go outside
Ready, Set, Go Potty!
Walk your leashed puppy to his special spot and wait patiently. Don’t talk or do anything to distract him. Praise him with a simple phrase like “good potty” as soon as he goes. Offer an extra special treat he only receives when he goes potty. If he doesn’t have to go, that’s okay! Walk him back to his crate and try again in 15 minutes or so.
Accidents will happen, and when they do, clean them thoroughly using an enzymatic, nontoxic cleaner made just for pet messes. Never punish your dog for accidents.
It will take time and a lot of patience, but compassionate, consistent potty training will be well worth it! Contact us at (260) 493-3739 for more puppy training tips or to enroll your new addition in our puppy pre-school.