Worried about toilet training your new puppy? There is no doubt that with first time dog owners one of your first concerns will be: ‘How do I toilet train my puppy?’ The secret is simply making sure that your puppy is taught exactly what you want it to do and where, consistency and dedication is key.
Here are some top tips to help you along the way:
1. Do not punish your puppy if he gets it wrong. This is the number one rule for good reason. There is all sorts of horrible advice and ways about toilet training puppies but people often forget that your puppy is just a puppy. A baby almost. He doesn’t know where the toilet is and isn’t able to hold it for any length of time. If you punish your puppy it will confuse him and he may lose trust in you. Pick a term such as ‘be quick’ or ‘go potty’. Any phrase is fine as long as you only use it for this meaning and everyone who trains your dog uses the same phrase.
2. Reward you puppy every time he gets it right! Affection and praise go a long way, as does a little treat. A small piece of chopped carrot or a kibble would be fine.
3. Make sure you are in a position to give the reward every time too. This means going in to the garden with your puppy, even if it is raining! If you don’t, you might find your promising and rewarding your puppy for having a wonder around, which will confuse him. Rewards reinforces the right behaviour, every time your puppy isn’t rewarded will make the process longer.
4. Prevent mistakes before they happen. Easier said than done sometimes! But every time your puppy makes a mistake and goes in the wrong place, toilet training suffers a setback. You may find you have to watch your new puppy almost all the time for the first few days at least.
5. Learn when puppies need to go to the toilet. This will be when they wake up, after every meal, after every game and probably every hour or so during the day too. All puppies will have a tell-tale sign of needing the toilet too. You will need to determine what this is for your puppy. It could be circling in a certain spot, scratching at the door, sniffing the floor… take your puppy out at these times too and be ready to reward him.
6. If you can’t watch your puppy at all times, such as during the night, then restrict the area they have to sleep in using a crate or blocking off a small area. Puppies will have been taught by their mothers not to soil their bed. This means you have to make sure your puppy is not in there too long as they only have small digestive systems. You will need to go to bed late and get up early to let your puppy out in the morning. It is also advisable to let them out in the middle of the night too.
7. If your puppy has an accident in the house, ignore the mistake. Don’t punish your puppy. Ig you catch your puppy in the act, take them outside straight away. Be sure to clean up using an enzyme-based cleaner, normal household cleaners won’t be strong enough to clean the smell for your puppy’s sensitive nose. If it still smells of toilet, chances are he’ll go there again.
8. The first thing you should do when you bring your puppy home is take him outside to his toilet area. It should be somewhere near the house, somewhere quiet and ideally somewhere enclosed for privacy.
9. In the toilet training phase, if you have to leave your puppy, it is a good idea to leave them with someone who can carry on with toilet training. Expecting your puppy to stay home on his own and not have any accidents is unrealistic and unfair on your puppy. They don’t want to disappoint you.
10. Relax and don’t worry, it may take time but you’ll get there. Keep rewarding your puppy and be consistent and it will be a breeze. It’s a good opportunity to build your dog’s trust in you.