The Truth About Potty Training
One of the most challenging part of owning a new puppy is potty training. Puppies have short attention spans and even smaller bladders, this means they aren't always concerned about where they are going potty.
We start teaching our puppies that there is a designated potty area, designated sleeping area, and a designated play area as young as three weeks old. This helps puppy learn that they shouldn't go potty wherever they want and they need to stop, and think about where they are supposed to 'go potty'. That way, when they transition into their new homes, and their new families introduce their potty area (whether it be a yard, a mulched area, or something different) puppy can continue to pause and think, "where is my potty area? I know it shouldn't be where I play or sleep, so where is it?" Of course, some puppies need help remembering where they are supposed to go potty more than other puppies, and some puppies may take weeks or even months to fully train, but if you follow these steps, hopefully you can make their potty training a bit easier!
First Rule: Puppies can hold their bladder for one hour per ever month old they are. So an eight week old puppy can hold its bladder for two hour increments (puppies can go longer at night, but this is true for during the day) That means puppies shouldn't be expected to stay in their crates for longer than two hour intervals during the day. It's also worth noting that just because puppy *can* hold its bladder for two hours, it doesn't mean your puppy will. Your puppy may need to go outside and go potty three times in a one hour time span. Second Rule:
When puppy potties inside (because its inevitable, it will happen eventually!) don't scold puppy. Simply pick puppy up and take him outside, and give him his potty phrase, "go potty" or whatever you choose to tell him. He may not need to go if he already went potty inside, but at least puppy is making the connection that outside is where he should 'go potty'. It is important *not* to scold puppy for pottying inside because puppy may not understand they are getting in trouble for going potty inside, instead they may associate going potty in front of you as something "bad" and now when you take puppy outside and stand watch, he's not going to go potty because he's scared you may scold him again, he will hold his bladder until you take him back inside, then he will find somewhere to hide and go potty when you aren't looking. I see this problem ALL the time on the facebook pages I follow, "I take my puppy outside to go potty every half hour, it doesn't matter how long I stand outside with him, he refuses to go, but as soon as I take him back inside and turn my back he pees on the floor! What gives??" Don't start this vicious cycle with your puppy, I know its hard not to scold puppy when you catch them pottying inside, but it will become an even bigger issue for you when you can't get puppy to potty outside either.
Third Rule: Puppy should be taken outside to potty every time they wake up from a nap, every time you take them out of their kennel, immediately after eating, and if they have recently drank, they will need to go outside relatively soon after that as well. After rigorous play, or anytime you notice puppy stop what they are doing and start sniffing around on the floor (they are sniffing for somewhere to potty!)
Watching for 'potty signs' is a great way to stop puppy from pottying inside.
Fourth Rule: Use the same phrase every time you take puppy outside to go potty. Teach your entire family to say the same thing. When you take your puppy outside, take a treat and a clicker with you. As soon as puppy finishes going potty (make sure you wait until they are done or sometimes they will stop mid pee to get a treat and then they will need to pee more when you get back inside) Click your clicker, praise them abundantly and give them a treat. By associating going potty outside with a positive reward, puppy will be more willing to repeat it.
Until you can trust puppy to give you a sign that they need to go outside and potty, your puppy should not be left unsupervised or on material that will be hard to clean if they have an accident. (Like carpet or an area rug) When we have puppies we are potty training we quarantine them to our kitchen unless we are 10000% watching their every move and then we may let them on our carpet, but puppies pee quickly, and every time they pee on your carpet/rug, that smell will continue to attract them back to that area to continue to potty again. So if puppy potties on your carpet once, theres a good chance they will go back to the same place to potty there again. So for this reason we keep puppies on tile/wood/easy to clean floors at first and make sure we are always watching them.
If you are busy and can't watch puppy, puppy should be placed in their crate, outside in an enclosed area (like a play yard) or tethered to you on a leash so they can't wander away and potty somewhere. Tethering your puppy to you also gets them used to leashes fairly quickly! Above all, remember your puppy is a baby and they will not understand where they are suppose to go potty right away. It takes patience, persistence and understanding, but soon enough puppy will catch on if you are consistent in your routine and praise puppy every time they go potty outside.
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