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How to Potty Train A Puppy

How to Potty Train A Puppy

As a new dog parent, potty training requires patience and consistency. Establishing good habits the moment you bring your new furry friend home is a great idea. Start early, prepare for some setbacks, and stay consistent; you will have a well-behaved pup in no time. 

Accidents are inevitable as your puppy settles into their new home. Some puppies settle into a routine quickly, while others need more time and support. 

Puppies don’t learn potty training overnight; they won't get it immediately, but there are ways to make the potty training process smoother and set yourself up for success. Let’s explore how to potty train a puppy so they grow into a confident and fun-loving pup.

Take Your Puppy Outside Regularly

Unlike adult dogs, puppies naturally need more bathroom breaks. A puppy can only hold its bladder for a few hours, usually one hour per month of age. The younger the puppy, the more bathroom breaks they will need. 

When potty training a puppy, a good rule of thumb is to take them out to relieve themselves every one to two hours, depending on their age. Even if they don’t look like they need to go, it still gives them an opportunity to learn. 

Take your puppy out during and after play since puppies tend to want to go to the bathroom during activities, immediately after waking up, and after feeding or drinking. 

During potty and housebreaking training, make sure that your puppy's crate or bed is in a room where your family spends more time and in your bedroom at night so you can take them out for a bathroom break at intervals.

As they age, you can train them to hold their bladders and bowels for longer. Puppies usually need to go potty when they wake up or after eating. Establishing a routine around this will help you predict when your puppy needs a bathroom break, helping minimize accidents in the house. 

Pick a Particular Spot and Cue

So, how do you potty train a puppy to relieve themselves outside and at a particular time? Create a routine! 

To help the puppy potty training process succeed, set boundaries for your puppy on where they should relieve themselves. This means choosing the designated spot. 

Dogs usually don't soil where they sleep, but as your puppy adjusts to their new home, it might be difficult for them to understand where these boundaries lie. Picking a specific spot for their bathroom breaks will help them learn where they should or shouldn’t go. 

Pick the spot you want them to associate with bathroom breaks and take them there every time you go out. It is also vital that you pick a command cue for when you want them to poo or pee. It could be a simple "go poopy" or "toilet," which, over time, they will learn to understand means where they can go potty. 

The more you take them to that spot, the more you will create a scent that encourages them to associate that spot with a bathroom break. 

Use a Leash 

Puppies are a bundle of energy and easily get distracted. When working on how to train a puppy to pee outside, try to minimize these distractions by using a leash, even if you have a fenced area.

Once you've taken your puppy to their designated bathroom spot, you want them to concentrate on relieving themselves and not think they are out for a play session. Placing a leash on them encourages that type of behavior. 

Learn Your Puppy's Signals

The next step is to start learning your puppy’s signals that tell you they need to go potty. The body language differs from one dog to another.

Some puppies start to squat when they want to pee or poo; others walk in circles; some will sniff the ground repeatedly, while others may hunch their back. Once you understand your dog's signal, you can tell when your puppy needs to go. When you see the signal, put a leash on them and take them to the designated bathroom spot. 

Treats, praise, and cuddles are all key parts of potty training. Line your pockets with treats so you’re ready whenever the moment strikes. By using low-calorie and delicious treats, like our Beef Training Treats, you can keep your puppy motivated without overfeeding them. 


Reward Your Puppy for Successes

Potty training dogs can help you raise a confident and well-behaved pup. Dogs thrive on rewards and will repeat actions if it leads to a reward. Positive reinforcement is your ally. 

So, your puppy is at the designated spot, and they have gone to the toilet. Amazing. Now it’s time to treat them to a reward after a successful bathroom break, so they learn to associate bathroom breaks with rewards. Make sure to give the treat immediately so that your puppy knows what they are being rewarded for. 

If you wait too long, your puppy might associate the treat as a reward for coming inside rather than going potty. Also, it's essential to follow up the treat with a positive cue like "good girl" or "good boy." There is no such thing as too much praise; get enthusiastic and let your puppy know they’ve done an incredible job with treats, cuddles, and words. 

Our Chicken Training Treats use real slow-smoked chicken as the #1 ingredient, with banana for a bit of sweetness. All our training treats are bite-sized and low-calorie for repeated rewarding, which is especially important during dog potty training. They won’t get full on regular treats, which can be more filling, and can quickly go back to focusing on the task at hand - potty training! 

Keep Your Puppy Crated When You Can't Supervise

Crate training can be a helpful tool for potty training. Dogs are den animals; introducing a crate helps tap into that instinct. It will also come in handy when potty training, especially if you want to teach them to hold their bowels and bladders for long. 

Dogs don't poo or pee where they sleep unless they've been in the crate for too long, are sick, have diarrhea, or the crate is too large. If the crate is too big, your puppy may use one corner to relieve themselves and sleep on the clean side. That's why crate dividers are so helpful if you have a big crate to accommodate a growing puppy.  

Try to teach your puppy to love their crate and never use the crate to punish or give them a time-out when they've had an accident inside the house. Positive reinforcement through rewards, praise, or play will help your puppy love their crate.

Whenever you can't supervise them, pop them in a crate. However, ensure that you train them to use the crate only for sleeping and when they need some alone time. This way, your dog's potty training stays on track even when you're not there to supervise them. 

Remember That Mistakes Happen

Like most dog parents, you'll likely struggle a little when learning how to potty train a dog. It's a process that requires time and patience and can feel frustrating at times. If you follow the steps on how to house train a dog, you can successfully potty train your puppy. 

One thing you have to understand during your puppy training is that accidents will happen. If your puppy has an accident in the house, here's what to do:

  • Quietly take them outside to your chosen bathroom spot. Give them a treat if they manage to finish there.
  • Never punish your puppy for soiling the house. Rubbing their nose in their poo or pee, or scolding them will only derail potty training as they grow to fear you and won't, therefore, go to the bathroom when you're there. Punishing your puppy will cause fear and make it unlikely that they will know why they're being punished.
  • If your puppy has an accident in the house, clean the area thoroughly without causing too much drama. The scent of urine or feces can trigger their brain to relieve themselves in the same place. Cleaning products containing enzymatic ingredients will help get rid of pet messes, so keep a bottle on hand during potty training. 
  • Always be on the lookout for signs that your puppy needs to pee or poo, or use a crate to minimize accidents when you can't supervise them. 

Make Plans For When You're Away

While getting a puppy is exciting, reading up on potty training will help you prepare for your new arrival. Puppies need more bathroom breaks than adult dogs (every one to two hours). 

If you have a puppy and need to be away for more than four hours, here are a few things you can do to make sure that your furry friend stays on track while you’re gone: 

  • Hire a professional sitter or have a responsible neighbor pet sit for you when away. 
  • If you're not there to take them out, choose a specific place in the house they can use as a bathroom place. Line up newspapers or cardboard, but understand that it may prolong the process by creating life-long surface preference where your dog relieves themselves on newspapers or cardboard lying around.
  • If you plan to house train, confine your puppy to an area with enough room for sleeping, playing, and bathroom space. Use pet pee pads, newspapers, or an indoor potty box for their bathroom spot. 
  • If they have an accident outside the designated bathroom spot, stay positive and avoid punishing accidents. If you have a dog sitter, try to increase the number of potty breaks. To help your pup stick to puppy-proofed areas, try to minimize free roaming time while you’re away to reduce the number of potential spots for accidents. 
If you are struggling with how to house train a puppy, you're not alone. It can be a wild ride that requires time and patience. Potty training is rarely a linear process and is more like a journey with ups and downs. Accidents don’t mean failure at all; just that your pup needs a little more time and patience. But stick with it because it can also be a very rewarding process as you see your puppy’s confidence build. With some fun positive reinforcement, you’ll be there in no time. Treats, praise, and cuddles are your friends but don’t forget to fuel your pup with healthy and nutritious food specifically formulated for puppies, like Jinx’s Puppy Kibble, or get started with our Puppy Essentials Started


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