Toilet training your puppy takes patience, effort, consistency and a positive attitude.
Here are our tips for successfully toilet training your puppy.
Remember every puppy is different
Everything’s new to your puppy. At first, your puppy won’t know your home. There will be new people, new smells and new sounds in your house that your puppy hasn’t experienced before. The first few days at home will be stressful for your puppy.
Start toilet training straight away but be patient and consistent with it. The benefits will far outweigh the time and effort toilet training them.
How do I know when my puppy needs to go to the toilet?
Puppies should be supervised to ensure they are safe. And if you keep an eye on them, you can watch for signs they need to go to the toilet.
If your puppy starts to suddenly sniff, wonder away, fidget, circle or whine then they need to go to the toilet.
Pick a spot in your backyard where you want your puppy to do their business. Take them to that spot every time you take them outside for a toilet break.
A routine of setting your alarm, will also help toilet training. The key times to take your puppy out are every time they wake up, after eating, drinking and after play.
What happens if there’s an accident?
Accidents will happen. Be patient and calm. Do NOT get angry at them.
Toilet training is about teaching your puppy where to go the toilet.
Punishing your puppy when accidents happen does not teach your puppy where to go – it teaches your puppy to avoid you and to be scared to go in front of you. Trust us, it will only make toilet training harder if you get angry, yell or punish your puppy when accidents happen.
Hopefully you won’t need to use odour or stain removal products too often, but make sure you have some. We recommend having a stash of paper towels handy. Use ammonia-free cleaning products designed for cleaning up puppy accidents. If the area smells like a toilet spot to your puppy, then they will use it again.
To reduce the risk of nasty messes, take your puppy outside frequently to go to the toilet including during the night and first thing in the morning. Set an alarm to remind you to take them out during the night at least once during the night and every hour when they are awake.
Puppies have very little bladder and bowel control. Making them “hold on” is not practical. Give them plenty of chances to their business. The frequency will change as they get older.
Positive reinforcement and praise
Taking your puppy out for toilet breaks has a purpose.
As much as you want to play with your puppy, if you’ve taken them outside for a toilet break then you should ignore them and wait for them to do their business.
Every time they go to the toilet, give them lots of praise and a highly prized food reward. Then play with them. By doing it this way, your puppy will learn that good things happen AFTER they’ve been to the toilet.
A word about puppy pee pads
Puppy pee pads sound like a good idea in theory.
But by teaching your puppy to pee on a pee pad, you’re training your puppy to pee inside the house and to pee on something soft.
If your puppy can’t find a pee pad when they need one, they will find the next best “soft” surface inside the house – your favourite a rug, a towel or even your bed.
If you want your dog to go to the toilet outside, then you must teach them to pee outside. Even if you live in a unit, you can train your puppy to pee on dog toilet trays made from grass or faux grass.
- Pick a spot in your yard that will be your puppy’s toilet area and get them used to going to the toilet in that spot
- Take your puppy to that spot regularly and especially straight after sleeping, playing, eating, during the night and first thing in the morning
- Keep calm and be patient
- Take them out on their leash so that they are less likely to et distracted
- Give lots of praise and food treats when your puppy does their business in the right spot
- If an accident happens do NOT raise your voice, scold, get angry or (heaven forbid) hit your puppy
- Never rub their nose in their accidents; this is very cruel and will only make your puppy anxious and scared of you
If you are struggling with toilet training or need some more help, then please contact us. At Fur Get Me Not, we offer group training classes for puppies, where we cover basic training including toilet training. We also offer private sessions. Give us a call and we’ll assess your puppy’s training needs.