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House training is probably the first challenge you’ll face when you bring home a new puppy. It can also be one of the most frustrating challenges about having a puppy in your home. Puppies have to relieve themselves several times a day but of course, it takes them a little time to figure that out!
But if you approach potty training your puppy with consistency, love, and a bit of patience, you can make progress quickly. We put together advice and tips to help you both get there. We can’t promise your puppy will never have an accident in the house, but we can help you keep them to a minimum!
🐶 What are your puppy’s training needs?
Before you settle on a schedule for bathroom breaks and put together a plan of action, think about what your particular puppy needs. The kind of dog you have – in both breed and temperament – changes what makes sense for house training.
Think about your dog’s size. All puppies are little, but smaller dog breeds have smaller bladders – your dachshund puppy is going to need potty breaks more often than a Newfoundland would.
And all puppies need to use the bathroom often. When they first join your family, they’ll need to pee every couple of hours, and will probably have to be taken out at least once during the night. But don’t worry! As your puppy grows, they will need to use the bathroom much less often.
⏰ Establish a schedule
In general, here is when most puppies will need to go out to use the bathroom:
- Right when they’re up in the morning.
- When they wake up from a nap.
- After they eat.
- During and/or after playtime.
- Last thing before they go to bed.
With these guidelines in mind, take them out for bathroom breaks at each of these times. Pay attention to your puppy’s cues – some will need to go more quickly than others after a meal, for example. Until you’ve figured out your own dog’s system, pop out in the yard with them every five minutes to help avoid an accident.
🐕 Keep things consistent
Consistency in house training is about more than just timing. Try to keep the spot you bring your pup to pee or poop the same, as much as you can.
Remember, relieving themselves is also a way for dog’s to mark their territory. Help your puppy remember what they’re supposed to do when you take them outside by bringing them to the same spot in your yard each time, as much as you can.
Of course, you can’t make this consistent for every bathroom break, and this is harder to do if you live in an apartment or if you are on a walk when nature calls. Just try to work this consistency of location in as much as you can to help your puppy along with house training. For example, make a point of always stopping in the same spot, one where it’s easy to scoop your dog’s poop, on your way to the dog park.
😶🌫️ Avoid distractions
In a lot of ways, puppies are like toddlers – they are easily distracted! Try to keep those distractions down when your dog needs to get down to business. For example, choose a boring corner of your yard – maybe a spot that faces the fence – for bathroom breaks. Or if you’re on a walk, try to stop on a quiet side street instead of right beside the dog park.
And make sure you aren’t the distraction! Don’t play with or talk to your puppy until after they’re done using the bathroom, to help them stay focused.
👍 Praise them!
If your puppy does follow the plan and uses the bathroom when they should, show them how proud you are of them! Once your dog is all done, show them what a great job they did and offer a favourite treat – try something soft like healthybud’s Duck Calming Aid or a small treat like a piece of Turkey Meal Bites.
If your puppy has an accident, correct them in the moment by making a noise to get their attention, like a clap, and say “No” firmly. Then take your dog outside to the right spot to use.
But remember: Don’t yell at your puppy if they have an accident, or rub their nose in the mess. They won’t make the connection and it will just make them confused, and maybe scared!
Wondering how to best clean up after those inevitable accidents? Look for a cleaner made for pet messes to get rid of the smell. This is important, so your dog doesn’t think they should keep peeing or pooping in that spot because they smell that they once did.
Stay healthy, stay happy, stay curious #healthygang!
Lots of love,
- The healthybud team
DISCLAIMER: The information presented here is not meant to replace your vet’s advice or prescribed medications, but only to suggest additional options to explore, based on your dog’s condition.