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Potty training your puppy is one of the most important things you will do for your relationship with your dog. The overall goal is to house train your dog so that eventually you will feel comfortable leaving them to roam the house even when you are not there. The first step in that process, of course, is potty training. The last thing that you want to have to worry about when you are away is that your dog will mess up your home, so potty training is a vital first step.
The first question most people ask is how long the potty training process will take. The truth is that it will be different for different dogs and in different circumstances. For instance, if you begin potty training when your puppy is eight months old, it will be a much different process than a more mature five-month-old dog. Most people will tell you that between four and six months is average but that it could take considerably longer or shorter than those time frames.
As you continue reading, you will see some of the important things that you should do to make the potty training process successful for both you and your puppy. Make sure that you are starting the process at the right time when your puppy is at least eight weeks old so that they have enough bladder control to succeed. House training your puppy requires patience, commitment, and consistency to achieve your goal. Following the basic guidelines and principles that follow will help you learn how to potty train a dog.
A Defined Space
Keeping your puppy in a defined space in your home is as important as anything else you can do for the house training process. Finding the best dog crate for your puppy is vital to the overall house training process and the potty training process specifically. According to the American Kennel Club, dogs like cleanliness and will not go in their crate unless they are left in for far too long . When in their crate, your puppy will let you know that they need to go, and it is your job to react to that.
A Safe Place To Go
Choosing the right spot for your puppy to relieve himself or herself is probably the first and most important step in potty training your dog. The spot should be comfortable and familiar to your puppy and it should be close to the door that you will most regularly take them out. You may have noticed that dogs, as a general rule, relieve themselves in the same spot almost every time. Their own scent is a trigger for this and it is very common for a puppy to use the same spot over and over again even without training. In potty training, you should use this to your advantage and make it your first priority to find a place right outside that your puppy can use over and over again. It is natural for them and will help make potty training a safe and easier experience.
Create A Routine
Puppies do best on a regular schedule for all aspects of their life and this includes potty training. A good rule to consider is that a puppy can hold their bladder for approximately one hour for every month of its life up to six or eight hours, and this should help you set your routines. To start with, frequency is key. Take your puppy out at least every two hours, if not even more often than that. Always take them out when they wake up and right before they go to sleep as well as before and after playing. Any time your puppy may have gone a length of time without pottying. Here are some good rules to consider when creating a routine for your puppy:
- Take your puppy out frequently.
- Pick a safe and close spot outside and take your puppy, on a leash, to that spot.
- Offer positive reinforcement every time your puppy go to the bathroom outside. It can be in the form of treats or praises, but make sure it happens.
- Crate train your puppy.
- Put your puppy on a regular feeding schedule and do not deviate from it. Feed them the same number of times and at the same time every day.
- Do not let them drink water for at least two hours before bedtime to reduce the likelihood that they will wake up in the middle of the night.
Using Rewards as Positive Reinforcement
As good pet parents, using positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to help potty train your dog. Giving your puppy a reward every time they successfully relieve themselves outside is a great way to teach them this behavior. Do not go overboard, but a simple treat along with praise will help your puppy know that this is a behavior that they should repeat. As with the secret to effective obedience training, make sure the reward is immediate and consistent so that it is tied to potty training.
On the flip side, if your puppy has an accident, it is not the end of the world. You will find considerably more success rewarding good behavior than punishing bad behavior, and doing both can just be confusing. In the long run, you do not want negative things to be associated with the potty training process and that is exactly what will happen if you punish your dog every time they go in the house. Be assertive and strong, but also be calm and collected when your dog has an accident. It can be really frustrating to take your puppy out, wait and wait for them to go, and then have them go as soon as you step back inside the house. As frustrating as it is, however, it is also very common so be prepared to stay calm and take your dog out immediately to where they should have gone. Forgo the punishment and then reward them as soon as they are successful again.
Most puppies will give you a sign that they need to go outside. Some potential signals include whining, circling, sniffing, barking, or if your puppy is roaming the house they may even scratch the door . When your puppy makes any of these signs, as good pet parents, you have to act quickly. They are telling you that they need to go, and your response time can be the difference between success and failure which is very important in the beginning stages of potty training.
In addition to the signs and signals your puppy may give, you can also look for patterns in your puppy’s digestive tract. If you notice that your puppy needs to relieve themselves 5 minutes after drinking a lot of water or 20 minutes after eating a meal, then be ready at those times. Set a timer if you have to, but be ready to act when you know your puppy needs to go outside.
House Training Tips
There are a lot of things that you should teach your puppy, but none of those will mean much with house training them. The long-term goal of house training your puppy is to be able to leave them in your home with the freedom to roam around the house for long periods of time. Here are some tips to get to that point in your puppy’s life:
- Do not punish your dog. To teach your dog to go to the potty, use positive reinforcement exclusively.
- If you find the evidence but are not present for the act, do not react angrily. A dog does not have the intellectual capacity to connect your anger with an action the committed previously.
- Stay outside for longer periods, especially during the beginning stages of training. Your dog will be able to explore and get used to its surroundings.
- Use enzymatic cleaners rather than ammonia-based products when cleaning inside messes. Using a strong-smelling solution may draw your dog back to the same spot over and over again.
- If you catch your puppy in the act inside, make a loud noise or clap to show that they are doing something unacceptable. Keep your cool and calmly redirect their behavior and take them outside.
Common Problems And Issues
When you are teaching your dog to go potty outside, some problems and issues will come up along the way. Your dog will inevitably potty inside from time to time, and there may be legitimate reasons for doing that. Here are some common things that may come up when you is to train your dog:
- Intense excitement may cause your dog to potty without realizing it.
- Some dogs have medical issues that could make it very difficult or impossible to potty outside.
- Some dogs suffer from separation anxiety and could express this through going potty inside.
- Surprises, startling noises, and fear could cause a dog to potty without thinking.
How do you stop a dog from peeing and pooping in the house?
If there are behaviors in your dog that you want to change, you have to train them and teach them what you want them to do. Whether you use a clicker for training, marker words, positive reinforcement, or any combination of those things, you cannot expect a dog to just do what you want them to without working with them. Redirect their behavior and show them what you want their behavior to look like. Use the tips and tricks listed in the above article to teach your puppy that they need to use the potty outside.
How do you potty train a dog in 3 days?
The first thing is to not go into the potty training process thinking there is a specific number of days or amount of time needed to potty train your dog. There are so many variables included in teaching your dog to potty outside that setting a three-day hard goal will do little more than add stress to you and your dog. Give yourself time to truly have the potty training complete and certainly do not put a three-day hard time limit on the process.
How long does it take to potty train a dog?
It can take up to four to six months to completely house train your dog and the important thing is to do it correctly rather than doing it quickly. Again, setting a date for completion just causes stress and you cannot really predict when your dog may be completely potty trained.
Can dogs potty train themselves?
The short answer to this question is “no.” If you were to leave a dog to their own devices and expect them to potty train themselves, you will be left with little more than a filthy home and a frustrated life. Could you send your dog away and have someone else potty train them? Maybe. But you would miss the bonding time and you would have to be away from your dog for an extended period of time. The best course of action is to take the time necessary to potty train your puppy. It is hard work, but you will not regret it and you will grow closer to your puppy through the process.