Puppy Potty Training 101
Updated: May 17
David Wilkins, IACP Pro Master Trainer
Throw out the newspapers and puppy pads; you are training them to pee in your house! Go out and get a good cage and crate train your puppy. Dogs are den animals. They enjoy enclosed places where they feel safe and secure. Think of the crate as a crib with a lid.
Your puppy should be in their cage any time that you can’t watch them. Give them something to chew on that they won’t destroy, like a Kong or Nyle Bone. Spend time with them...but when you are on the phone, the computer, watching TV, cleaning house, or making dinner, keep them in the crate. If they go to the bathroom just once in the house, that is all they need to fail.
After puppies sleep, eat, or play, they need to go outside and go to the bathroom. Take them on a leash, and standing in one spot, tell them to go potty and praise them when they are done. Don’t give them treats when they do a good job, they will want to go outside to eat rather than go to the bathroom. Remember that every time you feed your puppy, they have to digest that food and relieve themselves, so if you keep feeding them every time they go out, 6 to 8 hours later they're going to have a bowel movement.
At feeding time, give your puppy 15-20 minutes to eat. If they graze all day by eating a little here and there they are going to poop a little here and there. That is why it is so important to put them on a schedule. When you give them water, make sure to take them out half an hour after they drink.
All puppies learn from consistency and repetition. That can be great or disastrous. If you do it right and follow this simple schedule they will succeed, but if you don’t watch them and leave them to walk around the house unsupervised because you think that it's cruel to keep dogs in a cage, they will fail. Would you leave a small child in a room on the floor alone to crawl around to get into whatever they want? No! You would put that child in a play pen or chair swing. When they still wet and poop their pants, would you let them go all day without a diaper? I certainly hope not!
The #1 reason that people fail in potty training their puppy is that they get impatient. Puppies grow quickly, so we think they are ready. Remember, after the first year, your pup is equivalent to that of a 5-6 year old human. Puppies can be left alone in a crate but not all day. When they're 8-10 weeks old, their bladder is very small and they will need to go out every two to four hours. If you know you won't be able to get home or have someone come to let a puppy out, perhaps look into getting an older dog because puppies can be a lot of work to potty train. Apuppy's organs aren't fully developed until 16 weeks of age. By the age of 4 months, they should be 100 % house broken.
The biggest secret to potty training your puppy is first thing in the morning, when you hear them get up, take them outside. If they don’t go, bring them back into the house, and put them back in their crate. When they start to whine, take them back outside on a leash.... tell them to go potty and repeat this until you succeed.
If they start going in their cage, it is too big and you'll need to purchase a divider to make the area only big enough that they can stand up and turn around. Do not lock them in your laundry room.. it is not a play ground! Puppies will find trouble if they are locked in a room... and if you’re lucky they will only poop and pee in there. Sometimes they chew their way through a wall or door or worse... electrical cords. They are teething and need to chew...and no matter how many toys or bones you give them, they will always chew on what you don’t want them to. MOST IMPORTANTLY, make sure to walk your dog, play with them, and do whatever you can to exert their energy.
Dogs are meant to go to the bathroom outside, not in a litter box. Ask someone that has their dog going on potty pads or in a litter box if they have ever come home to a dog that has wet or pooped next to the pad or in a carpeted room. You’ll find out that their dog is not housebroken... but that they just live with the mess. Are you going to?
We at K9 Kindergarten have worked with people confined to wheel chairs and have had success with training their dogs to go potty outside. Anything can be done in a humane way when you are taught by a professional, especially an IACP pro trainer. Give us a call if you need help with potty training your dog. We will come right to your home and help you and your dog to be successful. Most of the time a dog's problems are man-made. Let us help you to get it right the first time! We use K9 behaviorto your advantage. We work with all breeds large or small. They are all canines... they respond in the same manner of communication. We can teach you to understand their language with just a little training.
Give us a call 586-232-4955 If you are still having issues after following these instructions.