Potty training a puppy, a dog that needs a refresher, or an older dog that’s just come into your life, can be exhausting, frustrating, and messy. Embarking on the journey of potty training can be both physically and emotionally demanding Trust me, I know. It’s been eight consecutive days since my youngest dog hasn’t left presents for us around the house. Woo hoo!
If you have kids, you know potty training takes time and patience. There will be accidents. There will be times when you come inside from your long walk and bam, your pup relieves itself while staring at you in the eyes. It’s all part of the puppy parent gig.
Here are some helpful tips, tricks, and tools to get the job done while keeping you a little sane.
Be Realistic Regarding Potty Training Your Dog
Would you expect your newborn baby to be potty trained upon arrival? That would be a firm “NO”. When a puppy joins your home, it shouldn’t be expected to be potty trained.
Even if you had your breeder offer potty training during your pup’s first eight weeks, your home is still a new environment filled with new people, sounds, and rules.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Well, a dog doesn’t get potty trained in a day. If you’re the exception, we’re all bowing down to you and wondering when your book comes out.
Here’s the reality. You will have paper towels, wipes, or cleaning spray attached to your hip. You will step in pee, curse, then slip and nearly crack your head open. You will wonder what you did with your time before your puppy arrived.
On the other hand, you will be shocked at how excited you can get when your dog goes potty outside. You will feel a sense of accomplishment and realize this is just a stage that will pass.
What Goes in Must Come Out
Seems obvious but it’s a concept you’ll be reminded of daily. If you’re leaving a full bowl of water out all day, you’re going to be gambling and the odds will be against you. Limit your dog’s water intake so you can guestimate the need to use the bathroom, however, never take away water for an extended period of time because you’re sick of cleaning up the mess. It’s important to ensure your dog’s getting the proper amount of H2O, especially in hotter climates.
Puppies have small bladders and can only hold them for so long. To figure out how long, PetMD.com suggests an estimated calculation of your pup’s age in months plus one. This means if you have a three-month-old puppy, it should be able to go four hours without accidents. So you’re accident-free for four hours at a time, right? Not so fast. Just because it’s capable, your pooch still needs to learn how to hold it in and where it’s appropriate to go.
If you’re training an older dog you may have adopted, it will be able to hold its bladder longer, but there should still be a method to the madness. Some use the method of training.
Since you like your sleep, limiting water intake at night is key. The American Kennel Club (AKC) suggests removing the water bowl two-to-three hours before bedtime. If your dog’s thirsty and staring at you with those puppy eyes looking for some liquid relief, an ice-cube usually does the trick, and it’s fun to play with.
If you’re wondering how your puppy will tell you it’s thirsty, it may go into the bathroom and sit by the tub or start drinking toilet water. Hopefully, you’ve flushed. Gross, yes, but oh the stories I could tell you.
Crate Train Your Puppy
I’ve had four dogs and the only one who had potty training issues was the one we didn’t crate. Crate training is great in so many ways. It’s a safe and cozy place for your pet, keeps your house from turning into a disaster when you’re not home and gives you more control.
Dogs don’t typically like to mess up their sleeping area, so the likelihood of pooping and peeing in the crate is decreased with a crate when compared to letting your puppy roam. Does this mean you won’t wake up at 3 AM to find your dog covered in poop? No, but it’s less common to experience.
When you take your puppy out of the crate, either first thing in the morning or after a nap, you should head right outside. Don’t forget to use your designated command like, “go potty” or “go pee-pee”. When the deed is done, jump up and down, praise your dog, and give a yummy treat.
Recognize the Signs
While you can’t predict every time your dog’s planning on relieving itself, there are certain signs to watch out for.
Walking around in circles
Change in behavior
Heading towards a previous accident spot
When you catch on to these hints, immediately take your dog outside and use your command word. Don’t be hard on yourself if you miss a signal. As you get to know your dog better, you’ll understand the secret language you two will develop.
Focus on Progress, Not Pawfection
There’s no such thing as perfection, or rather pawfection. To expect flawlessness from your pet is not practical or healthy for anyone.
It's crucial to remember not to vent your frustrations onto your beloved dog. While some might suggest using negative reinforcement like pushing their snout into urine to teach them a lesson, it's important to know that such actions are a big no-no. Reputable organizations likeAmericanhumane.org firmly advise against punishing dogs for accidents in this manner. This approach instills fear in your pet rather than facilitating a faster and more effective potty training experience. Instead, opt for positive reinforcement and patience to foster a loving and successful training journey. Personally, it just seems wrong.
With a deep breath, patience, crate training, a sense of humor, lots of love, positive reinforcement, and consistency, you’ll get through this short, but annoying phase of owning a dog. Now that you’ve conquered potty training, you can move on to teaching your dog how to fold laundry.
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