Puppies are delightful and full of energy. They have a lot to learn, and as their owner, it is up to you to teach them. One of the most important things is where and when to eliminate appropriately.
Puppies are eager to please, and they do well when given structure and guidance. The problem is a lot of us do not take the time to teach them consistency. If there are two owners, many times, each owner uses a different word when giving the puppy direction. This can cause confusion, and the puppy does not know what to do.
- Be consistent. When you communicate with your puppy that it is time to eliminate, decide on a word that everyone in the family is going to use. Words like “potty,” “bathroom,” “hurry” are some examples of what you can say to communicate to your puppy that it is time to go outside and use the bathroom. When everyone in the family uses the same words, it makes it so much easier for your puppy to understand what you want them to do.
- Remember, your puppy has a small bladder and limited muscle strength, so they cannot hold it for long. It is important to take them to the bathroom about every two hours and especially after they were actively playing or just woke up from a nap. It is a good idea to also coordinate your puppy’s bathroom use with their feeding schedule. Many veterinarians will recommend feeding your puppy twice a day (unless they are really young, then they might need to eat more frequently). Eating food will stimulate your puppy’s digestion, making elimination that much easier right after a meal.
- Teaching your puppy how to use a crate, is another way to help them learn how to control their eliminations habits. Since most dogs view their crate as their den, and they do not typically eliminate in their den, using a crate encourages the puppy to hold it longer. Also, many puppies learn to feel safe and comfortable in their crate and use it as a place to feel secure.
- Make sure to use positive reinforcement with your puppy. Using positive reinforcement and supportive words and phrases help encourage them to eliminate correctly. If you are negative or yell at your puppy, many times, they will learn to become afraid of you. Puppies do not convey a “guilty look” because most of the time, they do not remember what they did to understand why you are upset with them later.
5. Learn to read your puppy’s signs of when they need to eliminate. They might paw on the ground, or whine, or even bark to get your attention. They might even sit in a corner by themselves. Learning how to identify when they need to go to the bathroom can help you reinforce their restroom habits when you notice that they are giving you signs that they might need to go to the bathroom, say something like “potty” and see how they react. They might get excited, and eventually, they will learn that you can understand their signs, and they might become more obvious or communicate directly to let you know that they need to eliminate.
Potty training a puppy can be complicated, but also very rewarding when they learn the rules and structure of your home. Remember, be consistent, use specific words, and always give your puppy extra love when they do something right.
We are happy to answer questions about potty training, puppy vaccines, puppy nutrition, or even how to add a new puppy to your ‘pack’. Just give us a call! 626-358-1146