It doesn’t matter whether your dog is an adult or a puppy, you will likely have accidents to clean up after. Regrettably, while it is hypothetically an easy task, potty training your dog to use the toilet outside can be a lengthier process than it should be, especially if this is your first time training a dog.
There are 4 steps you should follow:
During the toilet training phase, you should be with your pet all the time. If you are not able to closely watch them, consider opting for crate training or perhaps a playpen, or using an exclusion zone like the laundry room or bathroom. More on this later.
You need to use a motivating reward system. Usually, this takes the form of a treat. You can try praise or playtime, but you will find that your dog will not see this as motivating in the long-term. Keep delights or treats on you all the time so you can reward your dog within seconds.
Initially, you need to take your puppy outside hourly. Consistency and this repetition are critical to your training. The more you can reward the right behavior, the faster your puppy will learn. Leaving a reward for too long after your dog has done its business outside means it will take him longer to learn.
Never punish and be patient. Punishing a puppy after an accident will not teach them anything, except to fear you. He will then take to peeing in corners when you are not looking. If there is an accident, try to quickly move him during it and also take your puppy out more often.
Many people use puppy training pads. You simply lay these on the floor (or maybe newspaper), and this teaches your puppy to go in a “correct” place. Once you have successfully trained them to the toilet there, you can move the pads closer and closer to the front door. This method does work, but it takes longer. First, you need to teach your dog to use the pad, and then you need to teach them to start going outside.
It is a lot faster to teach the behavior you desire in one phase, rather than two separate rounds of teaching. The key advantage of absorbent pads is that the clean-up is simpler. So if your puppy is being put in a crate, or you are using the exclusion zone method, putting a pad down to absorb mess makes life easier.
Crate Training Method (See crate prices on Amazon)
It is not possible to be with your pet every second of the day. Also, a puppy needs a lot of rest, perhaps about 16 hours per day. Should you and your puppy require a rest, take your puppy to bed somewhere where any roaming accidents are not going to be a big deal.
Spare rooms or bathrooms are options for those dogs who like to chew things like power cables. Take necessary safety precautions to stop your pet from getting into any mischief when you are not watching him or her.
If your puppy needs to travel often or is confined when guests arrive or at night, you might consider buying a large transport crate that works as a dog’s den. This will be a place that is cozy and safe, but large enough to use when your puppy is fully grown.
Using baby gates across doorways or playpens can be used in the same way as a crate. The added bonus of a crate is that your dog will either learn to hold on to his bladder as he won’t want to pee near his bed.
When you let your dog out from their crate, take them to the outside toileting spot and do not confine your puppy for long periods.
Puppies will toilet more frequently than an adult dog. They have tiny bladders and zero instinct to hold on to their urine. The older dog generally needs to toilet on waking, about 15 minutes after eating, drinking or playing, and perhaps after being outside.
Never assume that a dog will already know to do the toilet outdoors unless they have been taught to do so.
Rather than hourly, you may need to only take an adult dog outdoors every 2 hours. There are a couple of warning signs that a dog needs to defecate or urinate. These are:
- Sniffing the ground
In the early phase of training, set the alarm or timer on your phone to remind you to take your puppy out every 1 or 2 hours as required. If accidents happen, increase the frequency of your alarm. This is crucial if you want to train your puppy within 3 days, as is repetition.
One sure-fire way to ensure your dog is with you is to attach his lead to your trouser belt or tether him to a chair if working from home. If your puppy is left to roam free, the chances are that you will not see him show any of the warning signs of him needing to go outdoors.
To encourage “on-command” toileting, you could introduce a consistent word during the time your dog is defecating or urinating. For example, when your dog begins peeing, you could say “wee-wee” so that this behavior becomes a learned command, paired with the phrase “wee-wee”.
This will also mean that on colder winter nights, or toilet breaks during long road trips, you have a quick way by which to get your dog to defecate/urinate on command.
One Outdoor Spot
During training, always use the same place outside. Choose an area away from your kid’s main play area in the yard or pavement where people walk.
Motivate your dog using a valuable reward. Dogs do respond to praise, but for toilet training, you need to go that extra mile. Tasty treats combined with lavish praise will work really well.
Always reward your dog within seconds of toileting. This way, they know what they are receiving all this positive attention for and crave it further.
A motivated pet will work harder. Never punish him for accidents. All he will learn from that is that toileting in your line of sight is a bad idea. So, he will toilet when you are not visible to him.