How to Train a Puppy – Potty Training

brown and white puppyLearning how to train a puppy to use the bathroom outside is simpler than you think. Puppies do learn at different speeds, but it typically takes anywhere from a few weeks to several months to complete potty training. Puppies ages eight to ten weeks normally need a bathroom break every hour. Here are some tips to keep your puppy training on track.

Bathroom Schedule Take your puppy out:

  • First thing in the morning
  • After a meal
  • After a nap
  • After playing
  • Right before bed

Golden Rules for Potty Training

  1. Supervise puppies at all times in the house. Until your puppy is fully house-trained, never leave them alone in an open area. Instead, provide a playpen or crate to rest in. 
  2. Take your puppy out on a leash often. Start with half-hour intervals and work up to each hour. Go to the same spot or similar surface every time you go outside. Until your puppy has had all of his vaccines, keep him away from spots other dogs may have used.
  3. If you see your puppy sniffing and circling, take him outside immediately.
  4. Don’t forget to praise and reward your puppy whenever he goes outside. Continue this pattern for several weeks. Positive reinforcement makes this process easier for everyone.

Accidents inside the House

If you catch your puppy pottying in the house, interrupt him without being too harsh and take him outside to finish. Use a phrase like “Ah, ah, ah! Let’s go outside!” If he finishes outside, praise and reward him. Harsh punishments can make puppies afraid to go to the bathroom in front of you and can cause them to have accidents more often. If your puppy makes a mistake when you aren’t there, don’t scold or punish him. He is not able to make a connection with his accident. Rubbing his face in his mess will only scare him. Remove him from the area and use an enzymatic cleanser to help remove any traces of the mess.

Going Forward

girl kissing black and white dogAfter several weeks of no accidents, try giving your puppy more freedom. Allow him access to an extra room while under your supervision. If he does well, allow him to explore new rooms every few weeks. Once your puppy hits the three-month mark, you can start extending the duration between bathroom breaks. Add an hour every week or two. If your puppy starts having accidents, go back to more frequent bathroom breaks and then try again.

The key to learning how to train your puppy is patience and positivity. Spend time with your puppy and give him lots of love. You’ll be surprised at how quickly he learns.