How to Potty Train a Puppy When You Work — Crates, Potty Pads, and More
It’s safe to say that very few of us can live without a job. However, that complicates things, especially if we have a dog. Learning to potty train a puppy when you work long hours is no easy task. It takes perseverance, patience, and even equipment we have never thought about before!
How to Potty Train a Puppy When You Work
It is possible to potty train a puppy when we’re away for most of the day — but we need a technique. We need sound advice from dog owners who can share positive and negative stories. We must figure out how to recognize that a dog must “go.” More importantly, we always need a backup plan if we cannot find anyone to babysit the pup while away.
Are you already overwhelmed? Don’t worry! In this guide, I’ll talk about all the ins and outs of learning how to potty train a puppy when you work long hours, part-time, and from home. In addition, I’ll help you figure out if you’ll need to buy a crate or use potty pads. After all, everything in life has pros and cons, even potty training equipment.
How much can a dog hold it in?
Before we delve further into the matter, we must figure out how often puppies need to “go” daily.
Now, if you look this up online, you’ll see that most experts recommend using a straightforward equation to figure out how much time you have between potty breaks.
Puppy’s age in months + 1 hour = pee-free time.
In most cases, this equation works. But just like with humans, you cannot predict these things. The system is flawed purely because each puppy is different. Even my dog couldn’t hold it in for as long as the equation said. I had to take it outside every hour or so.
Therefore, to be safe, let’s presume that the puppy cannot hold it in for longer than an hour. That is a massive problem if you work all day long. The puppy won’t be able to go out to pee or poop; it will do it inside, possibly behind the couch or underneath the bed.
Thus, we must make it a point to take the puppy out every day, no matter where we work or for how long. But that begs the question…
How often should you take the puppy outside so it can pee and poop?
When talking about puppies, all bets are off. They are not aware of their needs, as they are still growing. The more they grow, the longer they can hold it in. But, until then, we have to help them out. For that reason alone, most of us who have to leave for work at some point usually resort to placing newspapers everywhere, hoping it will prevent damage.
But there is a better way! You must organize your time and ask for help when needed.
How to potty train a puppy when you work Monday through Friday, 40 hours a week
Working 40 hours a week can quickly drain us out. When we work full-time, we barely have enough hours in the day to care for our own needs, let alone a puppy’s.
Thus, even before getting a dog, you must consider if you are prepared for this kind of commitment. Older dogs are much easier to take care of when working full-time because they don’t usually have to be potty trained. More importantly, they don’t mind being alone.
Puppies, however, have just been separated from their mothers, so they are scared. They are in a new place where all the furniture is significant, and no one else is hairy but them! So, we must help them adjust to the new environment as soon as possible. Otherwise, potty training won’t help — they’ll become too anxious, which leads to inappropriate elimination.
So what can you do if you work full-time? It’s relatively simple — you must create a routine from which you and the puppy will benefit.
When you get up early, check on the puppy immediately. Take it outside as soon as possible. Please wait for the puppy to relieve itself, then take it back inside. THEN, take it out again. Sometimes, puppies think they’re done, but they are not. Thus, they might pee or poop again as soon as we get them inside. It’s better to prevent that by staying a while longer or by letting them out again.
While you’re at work
Now, figuring out how to potty train a puppy when you work doesn’t end with taking it outside in the morning. Oh, no. You have to ask for help, as the puppy cannot hold it in for very long. I definitely cannot wait until you come back. Thus, you have two options if you leave it in a crate. You can hire a dog sitter or ask a friend or a family member to check on the puppy during the day.
That can be a problem if you live alone and your friends and family are far away. If that’s the case, I recommend getting a dog sitter. However, you must check if you can trust that person with your furry child. Moreover, the sitter must know how to continue potty training when you’re away.
Unless the dog is a genius, it won’t learn where to go potty in just a couple of days. Some dogs require months of training, not to mention various incentives. So, until the puppy is old and potty trained, you’ll need some help. There’s no way you can do it alone.
How to potty train a puppy when you work from home
Working from home seems to be the dream for some people. In essence, you don’t need a clear schedule as you are the master of your time. The work hours are usually flexible enough for you to do whatever you want during the breaks.
However, learning how to potty train a puppy when you work from home can be challenging too. For instance, you might get caught up in work so much that you completely forget there’s someone in the house who cannot “go” alone. In addition, you might not be able to get the puppy out on time every time. So what is the best strategy here?
Just like some people use apps to remind them to drink water during the day, you should set up a few alarms. Given that we’ve already established that a puppy can hold it in for about an hour or so, we recommend that you set the alarm to ring every hour or an hour and a half (just in case). That way, you’ll undoubtedly be able to take the puppy outside in time, not to mention get a well-deserved break.
On another note, this puppy training is incredibly beneficial if you’re in a hurry. Creating a good routine for the pup and always taking it out to pee or poop at the same spot will help it master the pattern and learn faster. Top that off with a few treats every time it listens to your command, and you’ve got yourself a friendly obedient pooch!
How to potty train a puppy when you work part-time
Finally, there are dog owners who get the best of both worlds. They can go out during the day, earn a living, AND train their puppy if they work part-time.
Still, working part-time doesn’t mean we can leave the puppy in a crate until we get back. Even that amount of time could be too much for it to handle, so it could destroy its excellent habitat and relieve itself. If the dog is way too young to be left in the crate for that time, hiring a dog sitter is, once again, a good idea. And speaking of…
Hiring a dog sitter
I have said that a dog sitter should be able to continue the potty training routine you’ve created for the puppy. However, I would like to remind you that not everyone can or should be a dog sitter.
Indeed, it would be easier for some to ask a family member to babysit the pup while they’re gone. Still, you have to understand that not everyone will care enough actually to keep an eye on the puppy.
Yet, that’s necessary if you’re learning how to potty train a puppy when you work. It will help if you put in the effort daily until the puppy is independent enough not to soil your floor.
So what kind of a dog sitter should we look for?
We ought to hire someone who:
- Has had dogs before or is a dog owner right now. This is usually the best option, as people have gone through puppy training and probably know how to handle a puppy’s tiny bladder.
- Is a parent. As many of you already know, we tend to treat dogs as children. And, in essence, they are like toddlers. They love to roam around the house, touch everything, make a mess sometimes, and sleep on the couch. Thus, someone who has experienced parenthood will know how to meet all the needs a puppy might have and then some.
- It loves dogs. Of course, a dog hater is a huge no-no, so this one is self-explanatory.
- Has dabbled in dog training. Ideally, the dog sitter will be someone who does that for a living. However, even someone who has had to train their dog will do. All it matters is that they are patient enough with a furball that’s just learning where to pee and poop and that they know how to entertain the dog so that it doesn’t get lonely.
How to potty train a puppy when you work — crates and potty pads
Pros and cons of dog crates
- The puppy will think the crate is its home. Thus, it will try its best not to soil it until we return home.
- A crate resembles a den, a tremendous benefit most dogs will appreciate. It’s a place they can call their own and a type of shelter where they can hide when they get bored with us (or other pets).
- It can serve as a bathroom. If we get a small crate and cover it with absorbent pads, the dog will instinctively know that it should relieve itself there, as it smells like #1 and #2.
- If we leave the puppy in the crate for too long, it will spoil it. This can easily cause distress and make the dog too anxious to continue potty training.
- No one likes to be confined to a small space, especially not a dog. Thus, if the crate is just not big enough, it will try to escape or wallow in self-pity (and possibly its urine or poop too).
- It can collapse if we don’t assemble it well. In addition, if the dog is eager to get out, but the crate is not stable enough, it might fall onto it while we’re at work.
Crates can be pretty dangerous. However, it’s unlikely a bin will collapse, especially if we have someone who can check on the puppy while we’re away. Plus, if we leave the pup in the crate for just an hour or so, it will not find it so distressing.
Pros and cons of potty pads
- Potty pads are the ultimate emergency blanket for housebreaking a dog. We can quickly get the puppy to relieve itself in any part of the house, as long as it does on the potty pad.
- These can soak up urine much better than newspapers, so it’s unlikely the puppy will damage our floors.
- Some potty pads come with odor eliminators and blockers.
- Once used to it, the puppy will have difficulty learning to pee or poop outside. We should use potty pads ONLY when we have no choice.
- The puppy can easily mix up the potty pad with other similarly shaped items in our home, like a carpet.
- Having a potty pad could breed laziness, as it’s far easier to take the dog to it than to take it out for a walk.
Confused? I bet you are. These pros and cons lists are here just so that you can understand that you have to put in the effort if you want to learn how to potty train a puppy when you work. Therefore, here’s a nifty guide that will certainly shed some light on making the whole process easier.
Techniques and advice
Create a routine as soon as the puppy arrives
Consistency is vital when potty training a puppy, so you have to act fast. Remind yourself often that you are now in charge of another living being. Wake up early in the morning and immediately take the puppy outside so it can go potty. In essence, create a routine and stick to it.
Use verbal cues
Like any other form of dog training, you should use verbal cues whenever you take the dog outside to pee or poop. Use anything you want; for example, “Go potty” or “Hurry up.” The puppy will pick up on those cues (sooner or later) and will know that it’s time to do something.
Feed it at the same time every day
Whether the puppy eats twice or thrice daily, it’s essential to maintain a routine. That way, you will also learn when the puppy needs to relieve itself, making the whole process a lot less troublesome than it appears to be. However, never feed the puppy before work. That could easily trigger the call of nature as soon as you leave. In general, puppies will have to go potty about an hour after they’ve eaten, so keep that in mind.
Be patient, and don’t yell.
Without the crate or the potty pads, you’ll have to be patient and persistent. It might seem like the dog will never learn where to go potty. But in reality, you have to repeat the same steps every day and always give the dog a treat once it does something right. Additionally, you should never yell at it if it has an “accident” even though you’ve been training it. It happens to the best of us!
If the dog has an accident, remember to clean that spot thoroughly. Dogs are attracted to the smell of urine and feces, so if they sense it, they will try to soil the same area again. To prevent that, I recommend that you use an enzymatic cleaner. That should effectively remove the odor and stop the puppy from relieving itself at that spot.
Calmly clap your hands or say “No” or “Oh-oh.” That should be enough to make it stop. Then, take the puppy outside so it can finish what it started. In any case, never yell or show your anger. That would only teach the puppy not to do that again in front of you. It won’t stop it from hiding behind a couch and doing the #1 or #2 there.
If you decide to use a crate or a potty pad
- Make sure the crate is big enough for the puppy, and never leave the dog in it for longer than a few hours.
- Use a giant potty pad at first. Then, downsize little by little until the dog is using the ground as its bathroom.
- Whenever you can, avoid using these items and take the puppy out for a walk (or a light stroll in the backyard). It’s always better if it relieves itself outside, as you cannot keep a potty pad in your home forever. Likewise, you cannot rely on a crate to train your puppy — dogs need their space, and in any case, you didn’t get a dog just so you could keep it in jail, right?
Final thoughts on how to potty train a puppy when you work
Hopefully, you’ve learned something new from this guide and are now aware that figuring out how to potty train a puppy when you work at least 8 hours a day is not that easy. Know that it will be difficult at first, but every puppy can be housetrained — you have to be patient! However, if you need extra help, remember that there are additional techniques that can help you eliminate bad behavior. Every problem has a solution — even when the problem is a puddle of urine you’ve just stepped into!