HOW TO POTTY TRAIN A PUPPY

February 11, 2017

Key Points

  • Crates are an important puppy housetraining tool that can make your life easier.

  • Puppy pads and paper training offer a temporary solution to housetraining.

  • Consistency, attention, understanding, and patience are all key in housetraining.

Learning how to potty train puppies at the right time and place is one of the most important first steps you can take for a long, happy life together. House soiling is among the top reasons why dogs lose their homes or end up in shelters. Few people are willing to put up with a dog who destroys rugs and flooring, or who leaves a stinky mess that you have to clean after a hard day at work.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you do some research in advance on how to house train a dog, decide what will work best for your situation, and make a plan.

There are three tried-and-true methods for training your puppy, says Mary Burch, Ph.D., director of the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen and S.T.A.R. Puppy programs. These include:

Also, frequent walks outside help.

Dr. Burch says that there are pros and cons to each, but they all can be successful if you follow a few basic tips, including:

  • Controlling your dog’s diet

  • Keeping a consistent schedule; this pertains to trips outside, feeding and exercise

  • Providing regular exercise—it helps with motility

  • Reinforcing your puppy for “going” outside

Let’s explore some of these concepts in depth.

Crates Rank High as a Potty Training Tool

Many people who are new to dogs cringe at the idea of confining their puppies in a crate, but the reluctance to use this tool generally evaporates after a few days of living with a new pet. Dog crates make life easier. It’s a good idea to get your dog accustomed to one for many reasons, such as vet visits, travel, convalescence, and safety.

Dogs are den animals and will seek out a little canine cave for security whether you provide one or not. That makes it relatively easy to train your dog to love her crate.

The principle behind using a crate for housetraining is that dogs are very clean creatures and don’t like a urine-soaked rug in their living spaces any more than you do. It’s important that the crate is the right size—just large enough for the dog to lie down, stand up, and turn around. If it is too large, the dog will feel that it’s OK to use one corner for elimination and then happily settle down away from the mess. Many crates come with partitions so you can adjust the size as your puppy grows.

When she feels an urge, the puppy will usually let you know by whining and scratching. That’s her signal that she has to go and wants out of her little den. Now! Don’t delay because if you let your pup lose control in her crate, she’ll get the idea that it’s OK to mess up her living space. Then she’ll think nothing of leaving little packages around where you live, too.

 

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