Potty Training Your Puppy
Have you recently brought a new puppy home or are you planning on doing so? If yes, have you thought about the process of housebreaking? Housebreaking your puppy is not technically difficult but it does require consistency which can be difficult to achieve.
Generally speaking, there are three options to choose from when beginning to train your puppy:
- Crate Training
The idea behind crate training is that it offers your puppy a place to feel safe and relaxed in. They eventually learn not to relieve themselves inside as it creates an uncomfortable environment where they eat and sleep.
- Potty Pads
Potty pads are a good option for someone who cannot be there to take their dog outside but can hinder your ability to train your pup to relieve themselves outside.
Frequent trips outside combined with the use of a crate is the usually considered the best option as it familiarizes your dog with going to the bathroom outside and only outside.
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The proper age to begin training your puppy varies between experts, but starting between 12 and 16 weeks old is considered ideal. At this age, your dog will have better control of his or her bladder allowing and will be able to associate commands with actions. During this time, it is very important to be consistent with your commands and the location of your dog’s bathroom breaks.
To ensure consistency, think about making a schedule to remind you when to take your dog outside; you should always
take your dog outside first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Next, your puppy will also need to go outside after playing or napping and usually 20-30 minutes after eating. A good rule of thumb is to take your puppy outside every 30 minutes during the early weeks of training.
When outside, make sure to bring them back to the same spot they went to the bathroom before. Smelling their own scent creates a comfortable and familiar place to relieve themselves. Pay attention to your pet and say a command like “go potty” as they begin to do their business. When they are finished, praise them using the command by saying something like “good potty” accompanied by a treat. The important thing at this stage is to familiarize your dog with going to the bathroom on your command.
If you have a backyard, continue to be consistent with the place your pup goes to the bathroom but also be consistent with the arrangement of your backyard. Your puppy will associate a change in furniture arrangement with a change in its environment which can create unfamiliarity and hinder the training process. Therefore, it is best to hold off on any renovations or additions until your puppy is a little older and familiar with their routine. Also, be sure to stay outside with your puppy until he has completed his business for at least the first couple weeks of training.
The most important factor in housebreaking your puppy is consistency. By creating consistency in your commands and the environment, the process will go more quickly and smoothly. Be sure to stay with your puppy until they complete their business and reward them with a treat and praise.
Housebreaking may take some effort, but it all pays off when you don't have to worry about a carpet cleaning bill!