At PAWZ, we love all dogs — but we have to admit that puppies are extra cute. Those sweet little paws. Their little squeaks and barks when they’re playing. Puppy breath! What isn’t there to love about puppies?!
Oh, that’s right: potty training. Puppies are adorable, but housebreaking your pup can be a challenge. Don’t worry — we’re here to help. Today, PAWZ is bringing you all the information you didn’t know you were missing about potty training. We’re talking about timeframes, tips to help your pup, and a few helpful hints to save your sanity (and your shoes).
Why Is Potty Training Important?
Just like human children, puppies need to be taught where to potty — and as quickly as possible. The longer a puppy is allowed to go in the house, the less likely they are to stop. Along with crate training, potty training a new puppy ensures that everyone is on the same page and happy in the family dynamic.
An untrained puppy won’t be able to control their urges to go all over the house (mainly because they won’t know any better). By teaching them when they’re young where it’s appropriate to potty, it helps us make sure they won’t just lift a leg wherever they please. Or squat… you get the idea.
Bottom line: Teach them young, and your housemates will thank you.
What You Should Expect
You know that potty training won’t be super easy, but what else should we expect from the process? Let’s break down a few things to keep in mind.
It’s Going to Take a Lot of Patience
You might be ready for a lengthy process, but you also need to get your zen on board before starting. Dogs take time to learn anything, and figuring out where to go potty isn’t always easy. It’s going to be a lot of trial and error — and puppy pads — and you have to be ready to weather the storm.
A helpful way to think about the process would be from your puppy’s perspective. Remind yourself as often as possible that they are so little, and you’re basically eliminating places from their mind where it’s okay to potty.
Timing Will Be Different for Every Dog
It takes puppies four to eight weeks on average to become fully potty trained. By the end of these two months, your pup should be able to do three things:
- First, tell you when they need to go out or use a doggy door if you have one.
- Second, have little to no accidents in the home in between walks or trips outside.
- Third, know where to go. You might have one designated area in your yard where your pup is supposed to go, or maybe you have puppy pee pads around the house.
Still, even human children can have accidents for a few years after potty training. We shouldn’t expect perfection from our pups, either.
If your best friend is a first-time dog mom and got her old puppy trained in a week, don’t fret. Every dog learns at the speed that is right for them, and some dog breeds take a longer amount of time to train.
Mistakes Are Going to Happen
You have to be ready for accidents. Young puppies and older dogs alike take time to get it right, and they’re going to get it wrong in the process. Like all dog training, even the best dog will require a little patience and TLC. Expecting accidents is key to not getting overwhelmed by potty training.
Have the products on hand that you need to keep floors clean. Make sure to use puppy products that are both non-toxic and will eliminate the smell.
Getting your fur baby’s smell out of the floor after an accident will lessen the chances of future accidents in this spot. If puppies can still pick up their scent, they’re more likely to see it as their potty spot. Then accidents will just become everyday occurrences in these areas (at which point, you’ll want to grab the potty pads).
There are a few toilet training steps you'll want to take before bringing your pup home from the shelter, breeder, or kennel. From items to ideas, you’ll want these in place before your pup starts the potty training process.
Have Your Spot Picked Out
Whether it’s anywhere in the backyard or a specific corner, have a designated area plotted. Knowing where they’re supposed to go before the puppy comes home or starts potty training is helpful for everyone.
Have Your Supplies Ready
You’ll want positive reinforcement ready every time your pawfect pup goes potty where they’re supposed to. Be sure to buy treats made for puppies; others could upset their tummies. The last thing you want is to potty train your puppy while they’re irregular!
Get Your Training Schedule Together
We know you’re probably excited about some puppy/mommy road trips (we’ve even got the cutest gear for you here). Before you can hit the road with your new dog, though, you’ll need to make sure they’re comfortable with their routine at home.
Be prepared for a lot of nights and days at home setting a strict schedule.
Have your schedule worked out before your fur baby starts potty training. This includes a set time for your feeding schedule, playtime, walks, and outside time. Make sure that bathroom breaks are far enough apart that your pup will need to go.
Also, schedule breaks that aren’t so far apart that it creates a big chance for accidents. Once you’ve decided on the perfect system, set alarms, hang reminders, and do anything that will help you help your puppy poop at the right spot and the right time.
A consistent schedule is key.
Helpful Tips Once You’re in It
We want you to know that if it’s not going well, that’s ok. And if it is going well, that’s awesome! Either way, there are always helpful tips and tricks that could make potty training even easier for puppy owners. We’ve collected a few ideas for you here to help your sailing stay smooth.
Always Use Positive Reinforcement
When you scold your puppy, they have no idea why you’re upset. Their adorable doggo brains can’t associate the punishment with their past actions.
Instead of trying to use punishments for potty training, stick to positive reinforcement. Highly praise your pups when they potty where they’re supposed to, and you’ll see better long-term results (and get a little puppy love, too!).
The phrase “you attract more bees with honey” rings true. Giving a dog treats and praise for a job well done will make sense to your pup faster than scoldings. When you attempt to punish your pup, they will be afraid of you and still won’t understand what happened. Giving them praise for doing their business where they’re supposed to will click for your pup, and they’ll do it again.
No Water Before Bed
Picking up the water dish one to two hours before bed will help with potty training. Ensure they’re hydrating all day so that taking away water just before bed isn’t an issue. They should have enough time as well to empty their bladder.
It will also help eliminate the chances of accidents in the morning — or the middle of the night. If they can’t drink water throughout the evening, they won’t have a full bladder when you get up to let the pup out. This way, you can get them outside for potty time without worrying about them not being able to make it.
One Person To Rule the Training
If you’re in a house with a significant other or a whole family, only one person should be in charge of training. Of course, everyone should be involved with loving and taking care of a puppy. But multiple trainers could confuse a small pup.
When it comes to potty training, one person should be in charge. Positive reinforcement and trips outside should be performed by the same person every time. Once your furry BFF is on a schedule and accident-free, other family members can get in on the fun.
Carve Out the Time
Plan ahead for potty training. Use some vacation days, or have someone in place for work hours. Potty training takes a lot of time, and the more time you spend away from your pup during potty training, the slower the process. Taking some time off to potty train will go more smoothly for everyone.
If you aren’t able to do that, have backups. And then backups for your backups. Ensure that every potty break you put in your pup’s schedule is accounted for. It might also be better if you have a family member that is home more often to be in charge. That may not be the situation you all originally intended on, but it might be something to consider. Constant supervision is going to be super helpful.
Potty training a puppy can be a hard task, but we know you’re ready! We are confident that these tips and tricks will get your pup potty trained in no time.
Here at PAWZ, we absolutely love dogs of all ages and sizes. Potty training might not be the most fun part of being a dog mom, but the trust built with potty training is a beautiful thing. We are so grateful to be a part of the love you and your fur baby share!