PeTopics: How To Potty Train Your Puppy!

March 8, 2016

Today we will hit a few highlights on house training your dog. The key to success for house training is making a good schedule and sticking to it! You can also refer to our past crate training recommendations, because the two go hand in hand!

The rough “rule of thumb” is that puppies can hold it about an hour longer than their age in months. So a 2 month old puppy can only hold it for 3 hours. Expecting them to hold it for longer than that timeframe is unfair, and ultimately they will have accidents!

1) Put your puppy on a regular feeding schedule. Usually feeding them 3 times daily is sufficient. Some of the toy breed dogs will need more frequent feedings, so if you have a toy breed dog talk with Dr. Krakowski, Dr. Bailey, or Dr. Craddock to make a more appropriate protocol for them. After their meals, take up all food so they don’t have free access. This will help keep them more consistent with their bathroom times. You can also pull up water near bedtime to help eliminate nighttime drinking and subsequent urination.

2) Start your schedule. Your puppy will need to go out immediately when they wake up, then start to time their outside time with their feedings. Usually letting them go outside before and after a meal will maximize success. Again, let them out before bedtime, and you may need to have a period overnight depending on the age of your pup.

3) When you are not able to directly supervise them, they should be confined to their crate (or tethered to you with a leash so you can see them start to sniff/wander off). Since they are in their crate, they will be more likely to hold it until you can pay full attention to them and take them outside. Not supervising or confining your puppy and allowing more “free range” in the house often leads to them sneaking off and having accidents. This is probably the biggest mistake most people make during potty training!

4) Reward success, don’t punish failure! Every time you have success taking them outside, give them a treat! Make outside the “cool” place to use the bathroom so they look forward to going out and receiving their reward for using the bathroom. When they have accidents, they don’t “learn” from their mistake unless you catch them immediately in the act. If you catch them, make a noise to catch their attention, scoop them up, and bring them outside. Reward them for finishing outside. Accidents should be considered the human’s fault, not the dogs! More often than not, we didn’t take them out often enough or we weren’t paying enough attention!

5) Avoid pee-pads and newspaper! Often allowing urination/defecation in the house sends “mixed signals” to your puppy. The most success is had when the issue is very black/white. Outside good, inside bad. Most issues with potty training arrive due to puppies getting mixed signals on where it is acceptable to urinate/defecate, and are allowed too much unsupervised freedom. Train them right off the bat to go outside for bathroom time; don’t confuse them with pee-pad/newspaper training!
Don’t hesitate to call with questions or concerns with potty training your pups! We at Chatham Animal Hospital will be happy to help!

Please call our Cary veterinarian Dr. Krakowski, Dr. Bailey,
or Dr. Craddock at Chatham Animal Hospital today at
(919) 469-8114 if you would like to discuss this further!

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