The not so fun part about your new puppy, housebreaking or potty training. My husband would argue, it’s called housebreaking, not potty training. He says potty training is for toddlers, not puppies. Call it what you want, the goal is the same, you don’t want your puppy messing inside the house. I am going to give you tips on how to get your puppy going to the bathroom outside in no time.
I have trained my own dogs over the years as well as helped with many clients’ puppies. I will admit when a client doesn’t follow my advice on this topic, I do get a bit frustrated! I want to make it as simple as possible even if it seems anything but.
The number one thing is persistence and well maybe, lots of patience. You need to be persistent of where and when your puppy goes potty. I recommend you dedicate a special area in the yard where you want your puppy to use the bathroom and take her there every time! For the first several weeks, don’t worry about walking your puppy. You do want to use a leash though. This gets your puppy use to having a leash and also gives you control to keep them in their “potty area”.
Initially your puppy needs to know that outside is for bathroom use. So when you take your puppy out, only stay outside until he goes potty, then bring back inside right away. If your puppy starts playing around and not going potty, bring back inside and try again in about 5 to 10 minutes.
You need to look for clues that your puppy has to go potty. If you see them searching and sniffing, that is a good clue. Also take them outside about 10 to 15 minutes after eating or drinking. You may need to adjust this time, if you find they need to go sooner after mealtimes. Also take frequent breaks outside during or after playtime. At first outdoor time will seem excessive but as your puppy ages, they will be able to hold it longer.
I highly recommend crate training. I personally like the metal crates. The reason is you can adjust how much space your puppy has with a divider. You only want enough space for your puppy to stand up and turn around. Dogs generally do not like to potty where they sleep. If your puppy has too much room, you may find they will go in the crate. You can adjust this barrier as your puppy gets bigger. If you have a plastic crate, you can use a box inside to block off part of the crate.
Rule of thumb if your puppy is under 6 months, they should not be in crate for more than 3 or 4 hours. This will mean you for the first few months; you will have to get up in the middle of the night to take them out. If you work, you will need to hire someone to take them out during the day or come home on your lunch break. Puppies are a lot of work at first!
Never use the crate as a punishment. You want your puppy to feel safe and comfortable in their crate. To get them use to it, you can offer a training treat, a special toy, or lots of praise. If you cant keep an eye on them while you are home, you may put them in there, keeping in mind the time restraint. Or you can use a leash in your home, but keep in mind those sharp little razor teeth may chew through it.
When your puppy goes potty outside, praise them in a high pitched voice “good boy/girl!” Or you can offer a training treat. I also like to use phrases when trying to get them to go like “go potty”, “go pee”, “go poop”. Eventually they will associate these words and not waste time going to the bathroom. They know we are out here for business, which may come in handy during a rainstorm or freezing cold weather.
If you should catch your puppy going inside the house, do not start yelling or screaming. A firm “NO!” and take them outside to their spot will do! Never rub their nose in it or physically hit them! All you will be doing is scaring them, so the next time they will just go off and hide to do their business.
Some people like to use training pads or newspaper. I am very much against this! With the exception of toy dogs who may not be able to handle the elements of outside. Using training pads or newspaper is just delaying your pet from going to the bathroom outside. It’s an unnecessary step. This will confuse your pup. They will get use to going on the pads which are inside. Then you want to transition to outside but they are already use to going inside! Doesn’t really make sense.
Some puppies are quick learners and people don’t have much problems housebreaking. Others can take much longer to train. Again the key is persistence and patience. You must have a routine and stick to it. All family members and any help you may have also need to stick to the pups routine.
I recommend getting a puppy in late spring or summer. This will make it much easier for you and your pup to want to go outside, because you will be spending a good amount of time out there the first several weeks. It’s not fun training a pup in a blizzard or below zero temps! When winter does blow in, your pup can have fun enjoying their first snowfall! Hopefully with these tips, they will be housebroken by that time!