How to Potty Train a Puppy
Potty training can be an arduous task for you as a dog owner but sometimes, it's vital. There are the same old key techniques that lead to success as well as some new tricks to make the potty training easier
Table of contents
Potty Training basics

Let's say you're a new pup owner. When is it a good time to potty train a puppy? To ensure everyone's happiness, you have to get to training immediately, from the very moment your new dog steps into your house. On the first walk you need to wait until he does his business outdoors. This may take several hours, so you will have to walk for a long time. Be prepared. If it's cold outside, make sure the puppy doesn't freeze.

Potty training includes not only teaching your dog where to go, but also holding it and alerting you of its needs. In order to master the potty training, you must adhere to 4 simple rules: Limitation, Schedule, Attention, and Praise.
Limitation

Limitation Your key responsibility will be to restrict your dog from doing its business in inappropriate places. Of course, nobody asks you to monitor your dog 24/7, you need an enclosed safe space within your house. Dogs don't usually potty at the place of their rest, so limiting the area to a size of a bed is a good idea, which will also train your dog to have more bladder and bowel control.

What would be suitable for an area like that? Personally, we recommend using a specialized cage or crate. You are also free to assign a small room in your house gated by some kind of a portable fence, like bathroom or pantry.

The main secret is to make the area comfortable for your dog, so that it wouldn't have any urges to soil it. With a properly chosen area, you will start seeing a desirable result almost immediately.

With time, as your dog goes outdoors more consistently without any mishaps at home, the bounds of the dog's area can be expanded. It is important to not to grant access to your entire house, but increasing the unattended habitat gradually step by step every week or so.
Schedule

A well-defined schedule is a must both for dogs and their owners if you want to have any significant results with your potty training as well as training in general. The schedule should include alone time, play time, training sessions, walks, meals and everything else that your dog is used to.

The best way is to make an actual schedule to plan out potty breaks every 1-2 hours. With dogs of an age under a year you can follow a simple rule that will allow you to determine for how long should it hold its potty urges. Take a number of months and add one. If your pup is 4 months old, then it should be able to "hold it" for 5 hours. Of course, this formula is not set in stone and certain activities can affect how long your dog can go without a relief.
Crucial remarks about potty breaks:
1. Always follow your dog to the potty place so that you could immediately reward it
Getting a treat after going potty is the strongest signal for dogs that it's a good idea to go there and not somewhere else.
2. Be sure to come up with a cue for your dog to go potty
It can be a phrase like "Go out!" or some other. The important thing here is to avoid repetition. Say it only once beforehand and reward your dog in case of a success. In time, your dog will connect the dots and realize that this phrase means a treat for completing a specific task. This will also be handy if you happen to be forced to potty in an unfamiliar place.
3. Train your dog to potty both on-leash and off-leash to be able to adapt to different circumstances
A dog that is trained to potty off-leash can have a hard time pottying with a leash on.
4. Don't make your dog pottying in the same place
Take it some other places around often to ensure that it can be confident in unfamiliar conditions. It can be tempting to train your dog pottying exclusively in the yard of your house but if you happen to take it along on your trip, you might encounter problems.
5. Make sure that your dog potties on different surfaces like grass, sand, gravel, etc.
Adaptability plays a key role in your training success, and you should expand the possibilities for your dog, while maintaining a list of restricted surfaces such as couches, carpets, hardwood floors, etc.
6. Potty walks should be only about pottying
Save play for the play time, as it can stand in the way of potty training and induce some undesirable behavioural patterns. If your dog is overly excited when going potty and deems it as a play, you should limit the play until it fulfills the task at hand. Your dog needs to form a habit: toilet first, then running, play and other important activities. So go out for a walk and wait.
7. Does your dog stay alone at home for long periods of time?
If the answer is yes, then you should ensure access to the potty place for your dog. It helps to involve relatives, friends or professionals to watch your dog in your absence.
Attention

Your dog must have a special "luxury" treat stored somewhere near the house entrance. This way, you won't forget to take it on walks to reward your dog. This treat will serve as a stimulus for your dog to behave itself, whether it involves potty or other kind of training. Don't forget to praise your dog for its achievements. Emotional praise is also very important, as it forms the bond between you and your dog and acts as an additional behaviour reinforcement.
Praise

Limitation Your key responsibility will be to restrict your dog from doing its business in inappropriate places. Of course, nobody asks you to monitor your dog 24/7, you need an enclosed safe space within your house. Dogs don't usually potty at the place of their rest, so limiting the area to a size of a bed is a good idea, which will also train your dog to have more bladder and bowel control.

What would be suitable for an area like that? Personally, we recommend using a specialized cage or crate. You are also free to assign a small room in your house gated by some kind of a portable fence, like bathroom or pantry.

The main secret is to make the area comfortable for your dog, so that it wouldn't have any urges to soil it. With a properly chosen area, you will start seeing a desirable result almost immediately.

With time, as your dog goes outdoors more consistently without any mishaps at home, the bounds of the dog's area can be expanded. It is important to not to grant access to your entire house, but increasing the unattended habitat gradually step by step every week or so.
Should you Use Potty Pads?

Generally, we don't recommend using potty pads for potty training a puppy. Your dog must be focused on the only goal, which is pottying outside. Potty pads interfere with the training and can be a source of mixed signals for your dog. However, if you intend to make an optional potty space for your dog, potty pads will prove invaluable.
What can help you with potty training

It might be a good idea to prep a number of items and tools that will make potty training as effective as possible. Here you will find the list of essentials:
A cage, crate or a small gated area in your house or apartment
A cage, crate or a small gated area in your house or apartment. It is necessary to make a confined space for your dog to avoid piles or puddles in other areas. Your house will be potty scent free, and your dog won't be confused by such scents. Furthermore, dogs usually don't soil the place where they spend most of the time.
Specialized cleaning products
Specialized cleaning products. As we mentioned, smells are a very important aspect of a dog's life, and you have to deal with them effectively should an accident happen. Preferably, look for solutions with urine-dissolving enzymes to ensure a complete odor-free environment.
Keep a healthy stock of rewarding treats
Every time your dog does something right, you have to reward it with its favourite high-end food. And you don't want to ever run out, because failing to reward your dog might send conflicting signals and hurt the potty training process.
You might want to get a litter box for smaller dogs or pups
Sometimes pottying outside is not available and your dog will need an alternative option as a place to go. Litter box is a solid solution that might aid in your potty training at home.
Get yourself a training app
In the recent years dog training apps have become one of the most useful tools you can get for effective potty training. Such an app will give you timely prompts on when and how to interact with your dog to achieve your goals.
With the help of world-class dog training experts, we have developed eTrainDog, an app that contains all the necessary elements for all sorts of dog training activities, including potty training. With eTrainDog, you will get the best results in no time and will keep a number of accidents to a minimum.
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