Potty training puppies is one of the most important jobs dog owners have. It's an essential skill your dog should learn very early in life, especially if you want your own life as its owner to be a lot less stressful.
Of course, the first thing you should realize before training is that your puppy is a baby. It doesn't have full control over its own bowel movements, and it will need time and practice before it learns when and where to do its business.
In addition, your puppy's learning capability is determined by its breed - some dog breeds are just naturally easier to potty train than others. On average, it may take around two to three weeks before your puppy is fully potty-trained.
Here's a list of the essential guidelines for puppy potty training:
- Start early - Potty training should start the moment you get your puppy home. When you let your dog out into the house, confine it to areas with washable flooring and don't let it near carpeted rooms. During the instances that you can't watch your puppy, keep it in a confined area or large box at all times, without exception.
- Proper feeding - Feeding must take place at the same times every day. Developing a routine is essential here. You should typically give your puppy its food and water at least four hours before bedtime and then withdraw its water bowl two hours before bedtime. Feed your puppy dry food in order to keep its stools dry.
- Regular potty walks - Set a regular schedule for taking your puppy outside. The recommended times are: first thing in the morning, ten to fifteen minutes after every meal or drink, every time it wakes from a long nap or ends an active play session, and last thing at night. Do not play with your puppy until it has defecated. If there is no action after ten minutes take the puppy back inside. Wait around ten minutes and then take it out again to do its business.
- Punishment - Never, ever scold or punish your puppy if you don't catch it in the act. Dogs have no way of knowing what you're angry at them for unless you're actually scolding them while they're doing it. If you see your puppy starting to urinate or defecate in the house, say "No!", pick it up, and take it out to finish its business. Never yell at your puppy or get angry at it for these accidents. Instead, accept some of the blame; you should have been watching your dog better.
- Rewards - Every time your puppy poops in the proper place, praise it using an approving tone, petting, and gestures, and reward it with a little playtime together. Praise always, always works better than any form of punishment.
- Cleanliness - Keep your puppy's box or living area clean by removing its stools everyday. Your dog dislikes stepping in them as much as you do.
Puppy potty training doesn't have to be hard, or messy, or a constant daily struggle. Don't view the activity as a tedious, menial obligation or the downside of owning a puppy.
Instead, look at it as one of the first bonding experiences between you and your pet. Just a slight shift in your mindset will make the whole experience a lot easier and happier, resulting in a healthier and more loving relationship with your canine companion.