Potty Training Dogs

Like training any behavior, potty training your dog can take time, patience and commitment. Potty training should begin as soon as you bring your dog through the front door – there’s no time like the present!

Before Your Dog Arrives

There are some steps you need to take before your dog arrives at your home. One of the first things you should do (if possible) is to set up a room or area for your dog that will be his zone.

Be sure to remove (or hide) any rugs or blankets around your dog’s area, as it’s likely that your dog will go to the toilet on them. Puppies love soft objects that are absorbent, as it keeps his paws from getting soaked in urine.

You’ll need some puppy training equipment to make the process a bit easier. It will help if you have the following:

  • Ammonia-free cleaning supplies (your dog may associate ammonia with urine)
  • Litter box
  • Puppy pads
  • Odor eliminator
  • Rubber gloves
  • Treats (to reward your dog for doing a good job)

The First Week

The first week is crucial to potty training. The first thing you need to do is keep an eye on your dog and get to know his habits.

One thing you need to look out for is how long after eating/ drinking that your dog pees and poops.

Establish a routine for your dog, including set meal times and a bedtime for your dog. This will make it easier to train certain behaviors into and out of your dog.

Find a spot in the house (litter tray) or garden that will be your dog’s designated toilet area. This location should be easy to get to and away from his bed area.

Some dog owners prefer to introduce their pup to potty training with pads. If you decide on puppy pads:

  • Lay them out around the area of your puppy’s indoor potty area.
  • Change them regularly, but try and leave a little bit of the scent of urine on the clean pad. This will help your dog associate the smells with going to the toilet.
  • Your dog should start going to the same space every time. When you notice this, start moving the puppy pads until there’s only one or two left.
  • If your dog does defecate in the wrong area, pick it up and place it on the puppy pad.
  • Once he’s used the puppy pads, gradually move them to the outdoor area. With time, your dog will start going potty outside.

With time, your dog will start to associate the designated toilet area with going potty. He will learn to associate:

  • His scent
  • The smell of urine and feces
  • The location of the potty
  • Commands (e.g WEE WEE or POOP)
  • Timings

These associations will be formed within the first couple of weeks and will help speed up the potty training process.

Be sure to take your dog here first thing in the morning, and the last thing at night. During the daytime, take him out at least every two hours, and between 5 and 20 minutes after mealtimes.

The First Month

After the first week, you should be more familiar with your dog’s routine and his eating habits and toilet habits.

You should be more aware now of roughly how long it takes his food to digest, and how long after drinking water it takes him to need a wee.

Use this knowledge to your advantage, and take him out just before you expect him to urinate/ defecate.

You’ll start to pick up on the signs that your dog needs the toilet. Some of the signs include:

  • Sniffing around
  • Pacing around in circles
  • Suddenly stopping what activity
  • Whining
  • Pacing
  • Waiting by the door
  • Sniffing his behind
  • Squatting

If your dog shows any of these signs, then it’s time to take him to the designated toilet area. If your dog has already begun squatting, it may be too late – but take him to the toilet area anyway so he associates going to the toilet with the toilet area.

Don’t be disheartened if your dog continues to have accidents. For the average dog, it can take anything between 4 and 6 months to be completely potty trained, and even then – all dogs will have an accident every so often.

Keep it up!

Don’t be disheartened if your dog continues to have accidents. For the average dog, it can take anything between 4 and 6 months to be completely potty trained, and even then – all dogs will have an accident every so often.

Keep up rewarding your dog when he goes potty in his designated toilet area. Positive reinforcement can do wonders and can strengthen your relationship with your dog.

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