If you are new pet owner, potty training your dog should be at the top of your To Do list. It’s not always easy potty training a difficult puppy, but these nine tips should help teach your dog to go to the bathroom outside instead of on your carpet or hardwood floor.
How to Potty Train a Dog
We’ve compiled step-by-step tips on how to best potty train your dog. With love and patience, your dog will soon be doing their business outdoors instead of on your newly polished wood floors or soiling your carpet.
1. Limit Your Dog’s Home Access
One of the first steps in potty training a difficult dog or puppy is to establish their own space in your home. Prepare an area where your dog has limited access in your home. This might involve putting up a toddler gate across a doorway or keeping them in the kitchen or a laundry room. Their area should have only solid surface flooring, no carpeting. Put their crate in the area. Your dog’s crate must be big enough that they can comfortably stand, turn around and stretch out when lying down. Crate training can take a few days or weeks – don’t rush into it. The goal is to make your dog feel comfortable in their crate, not trapped or frustrated.
2. Potty Training Pads Are Lifesavers
Place newspapers on a large part of the floor in their area and place a potty-training pad in the middle. These pads are treated with pheromones that tell your dog to “go here.” Make a separate feeding area, preferably outside of their separate space for now, although you must provide fresh water for your dog at least once per hour. With time, your dog will learn to go to the bathroom on the pad. Some owners of smaller dogs, especially those in high rises or cold climates, rely on these pads for potty training year-round.
3. Devise a Feeding and Napping Schedule
Potty training a dog can be difficult if they do not have an established routine, Stubborn dogs are often used to eating and napping on their own schedule, which leads to them assuming they can do whatever they like, whenever they choose. Devising a schedule will help you get your dog’s bathroom times under control. Puppies need to eat at least 3 times a day; older dogs should have two mealtimes. Until your dog is housebroken, their napping and overnight sleep times must be carefully controlled, as well.
4. Potty Break Immediately After Nap & Mealtime
Take your dog to the newspaper or outside (preferably) immediately after they wake up from a nap or as soon as they finish eating. The younger your dog is, the more important it is to move them quickly after these two activities to their elimination spot. This is where patience and consistency come in. Stay with your dog, either in the yard or while on a leash and tell them, “Go potty.” Allow them to sniff the ground and walk about until they go.
5. Reward with a Tasty Treat
An important part of potty training your dog is positive reinforcement with treats! Keep treats in your pocket and reward your dog with one as soon as they go in the right spot. According to the Humane Society, rewarding good behavior is an important step in teaching behavior. Lavish praise upon them, saying, “Good potty, good potty” so they understand the relationship between their potty and your praise.
6. Crate Your Dog Until They Learn to Go in the Correct Spot
Crating is not inhumane if done correctly. In fact, dogs come to love their crates and often go there of their own accord to get away from people and other animals. However, you must keep your dog in their crate no longer than a couple of hours at a time during the day and no more than six hours overnight. Each time you let them out; take them immediately to their potty spot.
7. Stay Consistent
Stubborn dogs need strict adherence to schedules and limitations. Your dog wants to please you, but you must teach them how. Older dogs should not be difficult to train if you are consistent in your methods.
In addition to following the above steps, it is important to remember a few extra tips to make sure your potty training is as successful as possible.
1. Clean Up Potty Accidents Immediately
Dogs use their noses as indicators of where to go potty and when they smell residual urine odors, they naturally think that is the place to go. Take a potty accident to their potty pad or outdoors and leave it there. Some dog breeds are notorious for being stubborn when housebreaking. If you have trouble with a terrier, a pointer, a setter or a Chihuahua, you must be extra consistent with the dog’s sleeping, eating and potty walking schedule. Just one slip-up can set you back to square one.
2. Practice Patience & Kind Words
Avoid using harsh words or smacking a dog that has a potty mistake, they learn better when they are not screamed at or hit. A dog who was potty trained but suddenly begins having accidents may have a medical condition. See your veterinarian to rule out any physical problems.
With practice and patience, your stubborn dog will be fully potty-trained, and your home will be accident-free!