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Potty Training


If you want your puppy to learn to go outside, always take them outside to a specific spot to go potty. I take them out on a loose leash, ignore them while they explore that spot, and then when they DO go potty, I make a really big deal of it and praise them. Do not use potty pads in the house unless absolutely necessary. Potty pads will inhibit potty training. Using potty pads teaches your puppy that it is o.k. to go potty in the house. It is also confusing for them because it feels like a thin carpet, so they can’t tell the difference between going potty on the pad or on your carpet/rugs. If you have to be gone longer than they can hold it then use a litter tray with litter (alfalfa pellets-they smell like grass which reinforces going on grass), or even a small piece of sod/real grass placed in a shallow pan. There are companies that actually deliver grass patches to your house.


Rule of thumb is that a puppy can hold it for one hour longer than their age in months. I.E. if a puppy is two months old then they can hold it for three hours, if they are three months old then they can hold it for four hours etc. (given of course they have been to the bathroom before being in their crate/playpen) This rule only applies for during the day. During the night they can hold it much longer because their bladder becomes inactive just like human bladders do. Taking away water and food a couple hours before bed helps them hold it longer through the night.


During the night you might have to take them out once or twice, for a couple of weeks. But within a couple weeks they should be able to go 8 hours at night without going potty. Or you can just set up a litter box outside their crate at night, leave the door open, and put a gate around it so they only have room to use their litter box and go back into their crate. Then you don’t have to get up during the night. Remember not to make 2am a playtime!  They get to go potty and then back in the crate until morning. They will put up a little fuss, but they will learn that is the time to sleep. 


Consistency now will create a lifetime routine for their potty habits. Take them out first thing when they wake up from sleeping/naps, after eating or drinking, before bed or going in their crate etc. If they don’t go to the bathroom but you think they will need to, then put them back in their crate for 15 minutes, then take them out and try again. 


Do not scold your puppy for going potty in the house. They will become afraid to go potty in front of you, and will hide going potty from you and sneak off to go potty. Sometimes they will even be afraid to go potty in front of you when outside, they will hold it, then when they come in they will sneak off to their hidden potty spot. When they go potty outside give lots of praise and a treat. Rubbing their nose in it does absolutely no good. They don’t understand and have no idea why their nose is being rubbed in their waste.


If you have a fenced yard, a doggy door is very convenient. If you don’t have a doggy door then consider bell training so that your puppy can tell you when he needs to go outside to potty. Your dog needs to have a way to let you know when he needs to go.


Keep your eye on your puppy at all times until they are potty trained, that way you can recognize when they need to go to the bathroom so that you can take them out right away and praise them when they go outside, you can also prevent accidents in the house. Some people like to “tether” their new puppy, if they are out of their crate keep them on a leash secured to your belt so that they can’t sneak off and have an accident. When they need to go to the bathroom they will put their nose to the ground and start sniffing frantically in circles. They'll squat and lift their litte tail.


Crate training helps them learn how to control their bladder. They will not be very good at controlling their bladder until the bladder is more mature, usually around 3 months old.


When cleaning up accidents don’t use anything with ammonia-it smells like urine to them and will make them want to go potty there again. Use a cleaner that has enzymes to break down the smell.  I've loved Force of Nature. 

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