Toilet Training your Puppy!
by Jenny Mee // February 2018
Toilet training young pups is something that all puppy owners have to deal with. However, it can be easier than you think! Most puppies learn pretty quickly and with the correct guidance and positive reinforcement they can soon pick up the correct habits relatively quickly. So read on for some helpful advice on making this stage of owning a puppy as stress-free as possible!
Key things to remember before we start!
Puppies are baby dogs and they need to learn when and where to go, just like they learn how to sit and walk nicely on a lead.
Patience is key! All dogs are individuals and some take longer than others!
Accidents will inadvertently happen – don’t make a big deal of it, just clean up and move on!
Don’t ever tell your pup off or punish him in any way for accidents – this can lead to fear and anxiety related to toileting, and may make it harder to train him.
Consider a crate as your puppy's bed. If introduced and used properly, and if not left for too long, a healthy puppy will not toilet where they sleep.
Investing time in the first couple of weeks will save you A LOT of work later on! So go with him out to the toilet and take him regularly!
Take your puppy out to the toilet approximately every 30 minutes to start with. Particularly:
When he wakes up;
Whenever he has had a drink or something to eat;
After play or exercise;
If he sniffs the ground and/or circles;
Whenever he gets excited (e.g. visitors!)
Pretty much whenever he finishes doing anything!
If he goes to the toilet reward him, if not just let him return quietly indoors. But don’t be in too much of a rush to get him back in – give him enough time to try!
Try to use roughly the same place to set it as his desired toileting area time and time again. By taking him to the same spot each time you are building an association between that spot and the deed that is easy for him to learn and understand.
And repeat! Repetition is the key to success.
Your puppy will soon start to move towards the door when he needs to toilet – so watch carefully and be sure to give him lots of rewards and praise for ‘telling’ you.
Key Tips to Success!
Distinguish between play and toilet time –staying with him and taking him to his toilet spot before play will help stop bad habits developing.
A fixed feeding routine can make it much easier to toilet train. Try to feed your dog at the same time and in the same place every day.
Leaving the door open is something many owners fall into the habit of especially during the summer months when toilet training a puppy, however doing so can slow down learning.
Toileting on Command?
Teaching your pup to toilet on command can be useful to help to get the dog to go when and where is most convenient to the owner, and remind the dog why it is in the garden at night and when distracted.
Each time you take your dog out to toilet keep an eye on him and as soon as you are sure he is going to toilet quietly and calmly repeat the command you want to use. “busy, busy” is a common one.
Once he has finished reward with something he really enjoys (a treat, toy or just some gentle praise).
In time you will find you can say the word when he is mooching about and he will begin to look for a place to go if he needs to go at all. Then you can start to use the command to encourage the behaviour when you need him to go at bed time or before leaving and he is distracted.
Owning a puppy is a very exciting and rewarding time, but there is certainly no denying that owning a puppy does require a lot of work, but with the right input at a young age you should have a well rounded, happy companion for the next 10-15 years. So keep at it, its worth the hard work – we promise!