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18 February 2021
Potty training your puppy is an inevitable and necessary task you will have to achieve. Accomplishing this goal will be completely conditional on your consistency and patience with your new fur-baby. It is best to begin potty training your puppy when they are around 12 to 16 weeks old. At this age, puppies have better bladder and bowel control. Before this age, it may be very difficult for your puppy to hold it in.
It usually takes between 4 to 6 months for your puppy to be completely house trained depending on their breed. Smaller breeds urinate more frequently, and therefore, require more trips outside. Here are some tips that can help ease the potty training process:
It is always helpful to have a designated potty area outdoors so that your puppy learns where to do their business. You should visit this same area with your puppy in the morning, right after meals and before bedtime to reinforce this location and avoid any accidents indoors. If you are unable to be home for an extended period of time, make sure to keep your puppy in a crate or puppy-proofed room with a potty pad just in case they need to go. You should always make sure they have emptied their bladder before you leave them.
In addition to having a designated area for potty training, you may also want to come up with a phrase that will let your puppy know that it’s time to relieve themself outside. For instance, you may want to say something like “potty time” when it is time for them to do their business.
Whether you begin your puppy on potty pads temporarily or directly outside, it is important to always reinforce them positively when they do their business in the dedicated area. You may reward your puppy with lots of praise and a treat for every correct behavior. If your puppy has an accident, you should never scare them. A simple “uh oh” and a redirection outside is the best way to correct this behaviour.
Likewise, if you catch them in the act, you should interrupt them by saying “uh oh” followed by your potty phrase. Next, lead them outside even if they’ve already finished their business. This will show them the correct location they should be going to when they need to eliminate. Reward your pup if they continue their business outside after the accident. Punishments for accidents are never effective and may even cause your dog to be mistrusting and fearful of you.
The more consistent and positive you are in rewarding your puppy and being proactive in letting them outside, the easier it will be for them to become fully house trained.
Dogs are sensitive to odours and easily make associations with them. Therefore, it is imperative that you thoroughly clean the areas where your puppy has their accidents. If not cleaned properly, the scent will remind your puppy that they have to “go”, creating an association with potty time and that area.
If you wish to use puppy pads to potty train your dog, it is recommended to gradually move the puppy pad towards the door in order to create an association with the door and eliminating outside. Remember that puppy pads are only a temporary solution and that the ultimate goal is to have your puppy completely house trained to go do their business outside only.
If your fully potty-trained puppy or dog begins to suddenly have accidents, you may want to visit your veterinarian to rule out any possible medical conditions.