The Do’s and Don’ts of Potty Training Your Puppy

It is not a particularly pleasant experience to walk into a room to find that your puppy has had “an accident” in the middle of the floor. This is especially true for the first time puppy parents. And let’s face it, losing our temper and being angry is often our first reaction. What do you do? How do you train your dog to do his “business” outside? Before we answer those questions, here is a list of “Do’s” and “Do not’s” on how to help the process go a little smoother:

When accidents happen, please DO NOT:
Yell at your dog or swat your dog’s rear end. The accident may have happened long before you walked into the room and chances are he has already forgotten what he did. Not to mention, you could injure your dog.
Rub their nose in it physically. Not only is this action pretty disgusting and cruel, it will do nothing to teach your dog proper “potty training” etiquette.
When accidents happen, please DO:

  • Stay calm and take a deep breath.
  • Be patient and remember that he is just a baby.
  • Remember, your puppy really needed to “go” and doesn’t know what to do unless you show him what you expect of him.

This video will get you started.

Two-Step Learning Process
Not only do you want your puppy to learn to do his “business” outside, but you also want him to let you know when “nature calls”. These are two processes going on simultaneously and you need to work on both of them.

Going outside versus inside. When your puppy has an accident in the house, get a paper towel and either soak up or scoop up the mess. Before you do anything with it, leave it on the floor and bring your puppy to the scene of the crime. Let him or her smell the area and in a firm voice say, “NO.” Next, take the paper towel with its contents outside in an area you want your puppy to “go,” lay it on the ground and let him smell the contents once again. This time praise him and maybe even give a treat. What you are doing is letting him know that inside is a bad place to go “potty” but outside is a good place. Repeat this process until the puppy is consistently going “potty” outside. Be sure to reward with treats when he goes outside on his own.

Teaching your puppy to let you know when it needs to “go.” Head to your local craft store to find a little bell and tie a string to it. Next, tie the string to the handle of the door you are most likely to use when letting your dog out. Make sure it is at nose level to your puppy. Once this is set up you are ready to start. Every time you take your puppy outside hit the bell first or hit the bell with your puppy’s paw. This is creating a conditioned response and showing your puppy that when he needs to “go”, if he rings the bell, the door will open. Be vigilant. If your puppy hits the bell, even if it is just playing, immediately take him outside. The more consistent you are with opening the door upon the bell ringing, the faster your puppy will pick up on this trick and use it consistently.

  • Things to remember
  • Your puppy is just a baby and doesn’t know what to do yet.
  • Take your puppy out as often as possible, especially after eating or drinking.
  • Be consistent and patient.
  • Keep your puppy confined to a limited space inside in the beginning, preferably on tile or linoleum.
  • You have a darling puppy. Enjoy him!  If you get frustrated, head out for a walk to work off your aggravations and soak up the attention you most certainly will get from your adorable bundle of joy.

This process could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, but with consistency and patience, your dog will soon be potty trained.  Good luck!

Photo from @dogwatchofcolumbus via Instagram

3 Comments on “The Do’s and Don’ts of Potty Training Your Puppy

  1. HELP! Ive had my puppy for 6 wks. he is now 4.5 mos. old. He can hold it for 10 hours in a crate. I can take him outside to pee and then sometimes 10 minutes later he pees in the house!!! I don’t understand if he can hold it 10 hours why he does this behavior?? Sometimes he will bark and I take him outside immediately. I have rewarded, rewarded, rewarded and praised when he goes outside. I never yell at him when he has an accident nor stick his nose in it. I have never owned a dog. I did not start out with a small area and then enlarge it. Had no clue. i don’t know what to do at this time. Lately I have tried to put him in his pen and all he does is whine big time. The vet tells me he is a puppy and to keep food out at all times. Articles say to feed him three times a day. Again, what to do. he is used to food being down all the time. How do I get him to only eat three times a day?

    • Hi Janelise, thanks for your question. Potty training can definitely be a challenge for a dog owner, but it seems like you are on the right track. Perhaps another call to your vet or an experienced dog trainer in your area is in order. They may have worked with a puppy who exhibited similar behavior (like peeing in the house right after peeing outside), and thus provide you with some advice or training tips. In the meantime, keep at it and good luck!

  2. Pingback: Potty Training – New Hartford Animal Hospital

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