Updated: May 18
Potty training your dog is an important part of giving you both the chance to live harmoniously. Remember that where your dog thinks they can go and where you want them to go may not be the same place. It’s natural for dogs to not want to go where they sleep but they are fine with anywhere else. Potty training must be communicated and taught.
What not to do
Scolding a dog for an accident after they’ve already gone won’t have any affect on training. In fact, bringing your dog to the mess and yelling may hinder potty training and make everything more frustrating. Your dog won’t understand that your mad about the location. Instead, they will think you are yelling for them going at all and will hide from you next time instead of asking to go out. Or they will start going in secret places like behind the couch or in corners of the house. If they do go inside, make sure to use a cleaner designed for dog urine and feces. Regular cleaners won’t get out the scent that will attract them to return to the same spot and go again.
Constant supervision is key during the training process. You need to catch them right before or just at the start of them going and move them to the right spot. While training you should take them out every thirty minutes. If they don’t go within five to ten minutes go back inside. Supervise or crate them for ten minutes then go outside to try again. As your dog learns and your puppy gets older you can make less frequent trips.
You can hang a small bell on your doorknob at the height of your dog’s nose. Lightly tap their nose against the bell each time you take them to go out to the bathroom. Do not do this for any other outing. Only bathroom breaks. After they are trained, you can choose to leave the bell for an easy way to know your dog is asking even if you’re in another part of the house. You can also remove the bell from the door, but your dog will remember to go to the door and point their nose when they need to go. This will remove unnecessary barking from both your lives.
Once outside tell your dog a potty command. Pick one phrase you use every time, such as “go bathroom” or “potty”. This will help tell your dog that it’s strictly business right now.
Pick a spot
When training go to the same general area each time. Dogs are attracted to going in the same place. This will also make it clearer to your dog why you’re out there if you take them straight to their potty spot. Keep them on a leash and stand still. If you wander around, they’ll want to go for a sniff walk instead. Stay by the approved spot for five to ten minutes and wait.
After your dog is done going praise them. Encouragement and positive reinforcement are an important part of training. Dogs are eager to please and love to hear when your happy with them. This will cement the good behavior you’re looking for. A treat after can also help during the training phase.
Free feeding isn’t recommended. If your dog has designated mealtimes, you can learn your dogs natural bathroom times and get a schedule set for the both of you. Put your dog’s food down for meals and pick up after twenty minutes. Your dog will learn their mealtimes, but you must be consistent with feeding them at the same times each day. When doing mealtimes make sure you check with your vet how often and how much food they recommend for your dog.
If going outside every thirty minutes isn’t a good option for you then you can make a designated area inside your house. Potty pads must be kept in the same spot. If you move the pad, they may still go where it was last time. Be consistent with location.
Another option is a fresh grass patch. This option is easier to transition your dog to going outside. If using the potty pad, then you need to place them on your grassy spot outside when its time to transition them to going out. Seeing their usual material will let them know this is the new potty location. Puppies trained on potty pads won’t know what you want them to do on grass otherwise. After they’ve gone on the potty pad on top of the grass consistently for several days you can start foregoing the pad.
Potty training doesn’t take long. It becomes easier as your puppy gets older and doesn’t need as many frequent trips outside. Just remember to communicate, be consistent and praise. Before you know it you will both be on the same page and living an accident free life together.