Getting a new puppy means lots of licks, cuddles, and cute entertainment. It also means having to put in some work training your puppy so that he can have a happy, healthy life. First up? Housetraining.
Teaching your pup where to relieve himself starts early. In fact, you can start teaching your dog about their potty etiquette as soon as you bring them home – as early as 8 weeks old.
The more consistent you are with this puppy potty training, the greater the chance you will see successful results. It can all happen within a few days or it may take a few months.
Show Your Puppy the Bathroom
When you have to go, you know where to find the bathroom. Now it is time to teach your dog the same thing.
Your dog should have a specific area designated for going potty – and he needs to know how to find it. Starting every morning in the same particular spot outside, as well as ending each day there, too, can help the puppy get familiar with the spot.
Create a Schedule
Puppies go a lot when they are little. And this means you will spend a lot of time outdoors at their potty spot. Don’t worry, though, as they grow, they develop more bladder control and the time between these visits can increase.
Each puppy is different but use the timeline below as a guide to help you develop a routine. Then, adjust as needed.
- 6 to 12 weeks: Potty breaks every 2 hours and within an hour after eating
- 3 to 6 months: Potty breaks every 2 to 4 hours
- 6 to 10 months: Potty breaks every 4 to 6 hours
- 10 months and older: Potty breaks every 6 to 8 hours
Developing a schedule based on your pup’s age and routine can lead to great success in potty training. As he or she grows, adjust the schedule accordingly. Whatever you do, maintain consistency throughout the process.
Potty Training for Overnights
Young pups under about 4 months of age tend to sleep for shorter periods of time. When they wake up, they are going to want to go to the bathroom. This means you have two choices: head out to the potty spot one or two times during the night – or clean up a mess in the morning.
As they get older, they will start sleeping solidly through the night so this shouldn’t be an issue.
Knowing When Your Pup Has to Go
Puppies aren’t as vocal as older dogs – especially when they are very young. So barking to tell you they have to go is just not likely to happen. What you can do, however, is keep an eye out for hints that it is time. These may include:
- Standing at the door
- Whining – either by you or at the door
- Walking back and forth between you and the door
- Sniffing or circling an area in the house to go potty, just as they would outside
Paying attention and getting your puppy outside not only saves you from a mess on the floor, but it is also confirming to the dog that with this action, you get this response. Next time he has to go to the bathroom, he will likely take the same steps to get your attention, eventually making it a pattern.
Rewards for a Good Pup
Finally, reward your dog. As you go through the puppy potty training process, keep some treats near the door and grab one as you walk out. When your pup goes potty where he is supposed to, reward him with a treat. This, too, is a positive reinforcement for future behavior.
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