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Potty Training Tips

The most common question I hear from my puppy clients is "how can I help potty train my puppy"? The reality is that there is no one clear answer. Potty training can vary between each dog, with some dogs being easier to potty train than others. Some dogs, unfortunately, don't ever become fully potty trained, but that's usually due to either neurological defects, being kept in unclean conditions at a very young age, or being taken from the mother too early.

The biggest way to help your puppy learn potty training is to have them on a consistent schedule. Keeping your puppy on a regular schedule helps them develop good household habits, and can prevent accidents from happening. In addition to a schedule, crate training your puppy can set them up for success in the long run. Typically, puppies do not like to mess in the area that they sleep in (again, there are some exceptions), keeping your puppy's crate clean and free of any messes can help them make the distinction between going inside or outside. Usually, puppies need to go outside a few minutes after they have eaten, after they have woken up from a nap. When your puppy starts to stir or make noise in their crate, that means that they have to go NOW. If you don't let your puppy out and they mess in their crate, they will eventually get the idea that it is okay to go in their crate and we absolutely do not want that.

Another helpful tip is to control your pup's food. If you break their meals up into three small meals a day, not only are you contributing to a consistent schedule, but you can anticipate and target exactly how soon after your puppy eats that you have to take them out, helping to build that association in the future.

Scolding your puppy for going inside won't do anything, as puppies' brains are not developed enough to understand consequence. Rather than scolding them if they have an accident, just clean the area thoroughly and try to catch it next time.

If your puppy does successfully go potty outside, praise them! Tell them what a good puppy they are! Give them a treat! Let them know that that was the best thing in the world that they have done! You want to make it such a big deal that they associate going outside and going potty with something REALLY good!

Potty training takes time, we get it, it's frustrating. Keep up with your persistence and it will pay off.

So to recap:

  • crate your puppy

  • give them frequent potty breaks (every hour or so for young puppies)

  • watch how much they are eating and drinking

  • keep them on a consistent schedule

  • don't scold them for having accidents

  • keep your head up!! It takes time!

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