How to toilet train a puppy

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Puppy training your puppy ought to be a simple process, as long as you invest in a good routine. First, you’ll need to build a plan around your puppy’s needs, something you will learn to predict when the pet is young. You’ll find it helpful to record when your puppy poops, wees, sleeps, and eats.

For this, you’ll want to keep track in a diary. You can rehearse signal words such as ‘go toilet’ or ‘go wee’ while your puppy finishes their business. Using different words for each activity will condition your puppy to associate these words with the actual process.

Steps to Toilet Train Your Puppy:

1. Take Your Puppy Out

From the start, take your puppy outside regularly. For instance, you can take the puppy out every hour and wait to see whether they’ll visit the toilet. This minimizes their chances of having an accident in the house after identifying the right place to go.

Over time, your puppy will begin to understand that positive things happen when they go outside. You can reinforce good behaviour with a treat that they like.

When your puppy starts getting used to the routine, you can gradually extend the duration between toilet visits. Don’t rush the process, allow your puppy time and increase the duration according to how fast they take to the training.

It could be anything from a week to a month. Remember, different puppies will learn at different speeds.

2. Recognize When the Puppy Needs to Go

It is very important to know when your puppy needs to go. The following are signs that your puppy may need to go

  • Pacing and circling
  • Whining and barking
  • Intently sniffing the ground
  • Squatting/curving lower body to the ground
  • Going towards the surface/door that they want to use

Ordinarily, puppies become distracted or fidgety when they need to go and instinctively start to sniff around as they search for a spot to use as their ‘toilet.’ Keep an eye on the puppy, particularly after mealtimes, naps or after your pet has been left alone for some time, for example, first thing in the morning.

3. Always Take Your Puppy to the Same Spot

Make it a habit to take your puppy to the same spot via the same exit all the time. The exit should be easy to see from the house for both you and your pet. Should you notice that your puppy is going for that exit, then you’ll know that they need to go and are actually going to go. You can follow them at a distance to see if they will actually go, or if they need some encouragement.

4. Accompany Your Puppy to the Toilet

It’s very important to take your puppy outside when they visit the toilet each time. Fearful and over-excited puppies find it challenging to go alone. These puppies consider the outside world so busy and full of smells, sounds, and new sights that they forget why they went outside in the first place!

Encourage an over-excited or nervous puppy to explore their surroundings. If your puppy responds well to praise, gently praise, and encourage them to sniff around. You can also reward them with treats to reinforce calm behaviour.

The first time you do this, you should get ready to spend as much time as possible so that you don’t rush your puppy and put them off toilet training. If you take them indoors before they actually go, keep an eye out for any indication that they still need to go.

5. Stay Outside for a Bit 

Once the puppy has managed to pee or poop, walk them around outside and play with them for a while before taking them back to the house. This is important so they don’t associate the end of playtime with going to the toilet, which is negative reinforcement.

6. Slowly Reduce Hourly Outings

As you learn your puppy’s toilet routine, you’ll reduce the time you spend on hourly outings and focus on other essentials. It’s good that you record the activities that your puppy engages in, including when they visit the toilet or any accidents that they have in between. This will get rid of any guessing game with time, and make the toilet routine more concrete.

What if Your Puppy Has an Accident in the House?

If you think your puppy might go in the house or you catch them having an accident inside, you can deal with this in a few different ways. First, you can try to interrupt them by pulling out a favourite toy, a treat, or calling them by their name. You can also lead them out firmly but gently if the other tricks don’t work.

Do not punish your puppy if they go inside the house; otherwise, they might associate going to the toilet with punishment, particularly when you’re near.

If you use negative reinforcements such as shouting or punishing your puppy, you may end up with a pet that’s too afraid to be potty trained by you. Always use positive reinforcement like treats and praise to let your puppy feel affirmed each time they have a successful go.

Toilet Training While On a Walk

Many puppy owners are confused about why their young pets don’t go to the bathroom when they’re taken out for a walk. Instead, the puppy immediately relieves itself once they get home. Most puppies are only potty-trained for their house or home. Since puppies are creatures of habit, they can regularly hold it until they get back home before they pee or poop.

To break this habit, consider waking up early in the morning just before you can let your puppy out for his first pee or poop. Next, take him out for a walk and don’t bring him home until they go.

Of course, remember to pick up after your puppy! If you’re not successful the first time, make sure you allow the puppy to go once you get to your garden to avoid an indoor accident. There are various training methods for your puppy to go while on a walk, so if you’re having trouble, seek professional advice!

Dealing with Puppy Accidents

Accidents are bound to occur in the initial stages of toilet training your puppy — so expect them. Your job should be to reinforce positive behaviour and determine the cause of any negative behaviour. Identifying when your puppy is stressed or what persistently leads to accidents will aid in employing corrective measures.

Always clean the soiled area well to keep smells away. Try to keep odour removers and stain removers on hand to deal with this.

Even a puppy that’s trained in the house will have accidents every once in a while. To keep this to a minimum, maintain the schedule of your puppy to be as consistent as you can. If you’re visiting friends or going for a trip, let the puppy take a long walk to empty their bladder in advance.