Puppy Training Tips - Potty Training 101 and Puppy Handling
POTTY TRAINING 101
PUPPIES are so cute!! However, there is a lot of work ahead with puppy training and potty training your puppy. The first thing to remember about any behavior that you do not want is to never let your puppy practice it or he will repeat it. The more he practices any behavior, whether good or bad, the more he will repeat it. So, the more he practices bad behavior, the harder it will be to reverse or go extinct. In this case, it’s going potty in the house.
CRATE TIME: When you cannot supervise your puppy, he must be in a crate big enough for him to walk in, turn around, lay down comfortably, and sit without hitting his head on the top of the crate. The crate will keep him safe and prevent him from practicing any behavior you do not want. In this case, it’s eliminating in the house. The more he is allowed to have potty accidents, the longer it will take to potty train your puppy. Most puppies and adult dogs do not eliminate in their crates. They learn from their mothers to sleep in one area and eliminate in another. The best crate to buy is one that includes a divider. Use the divider to give your puppy enough room to sleep. As your puppy grows, you will need to increase the size of his sleeping area. Make sure there is nothing absorbent (a mat or bed) in the crate until he’s potty trained. Puppies and adult dogs are fine in the crate without a bed. Remember they lay on the floor, the sidewalk, the grass, etc. Your puppy will have to eliminate the first thing in the morning, after eating and drinking, after play (sometimes even during play), after taking a nap and before bedtime.
SCHEDULE: Take your puppy out on a schedule. Take the same route and use the same door to go outside in the beginning. Puppies learn better with consistency and routine. As you are walking outside, say something like, “outside”. Then once you get outside say “go potty”. You want your puppy to know a word that means “we are going outside” AND a word that means “do your business”. For example, don’t say “go potty” until you are at the place outside where you want your puppy to eliminate. Feed your puppy on a schedule - once in the morning and again in the evening. If you free feed your puppy it will be hard to put him on a schedule. Pick up the water bowl about 6:00pm in the evening and take him outside to eliminate 2 times before bed.
ROUTINE: If you have a house with a yard and you want your puppy to only go in one place, put a leash on him before you go outside. Take him to the place you only want him to eliminate and say, “go potty” (once he goes potty in that place, you no longer need to use the leash). As you puppy is eliminating, name it “potty”. Say it 2-3 times, but be sure to pause in-between saying "potty" so your puppy will not think it’s one big word. It's very important to praise with a “good girl/boy” ONLY AFTER he is done eliminating. If you tell him he a "good boy/girl" while eliminating, he may not empty his bladder fully, and will finish his business when he gets back in the house. Give your puppy a treat immediately after he done outside. Do not wait to give him a treat when you get back in the house, or he will think he’s being rewarded for coming in the house. Dogs have an attention span of 3 seconds (puppies have about 2 seconds) and timing is everything, so the reward must be given immediately after eliminating or he will not realize that good things happen when he goes potty outside. Give your puppy only 10 minutes to eliminate, so he will learn that he only has a certain amount of time to do his business. This will prevent him from taking a long amount of time and then you are late for work. This will be helpful when you are in a hurry, or traveling and need to stop to let your dog eliminate. However, try not to go immediately back in the house after he eliminates. Let your puppy know that he can spend his 10 minutes smelling or exploring also. If you come in the house right after he has eliminated, the puppy will learn to wait until the last minute to do his business.