Potty Training Tips
One of the first tasks that should be accomplished when you get a dog, regardless of the age of the dog is to make sure it is housebroken. There are many different ways to potty train your dog. We strongly recommend combining it with crate training as this makes it much faster. The tips below will help you on your way.
Regardless of the weather, you should start housebreaking your dog as soon as he arrives. Do not give him time to get the idea that it is okay to potty in the house. That will just delay the training process and make it more difficult.
If you choose a spot in your yard that you want the dog to eliminate in and always bring him to that spot while training, he will begin to go there naturally. This can make clean-up easier and help reduce damage to your lawn and flower beds.
When you bring your dog out to potty, he should always be on a leash. This prevents him from taking off for a romp around the yard. Once he has done his business, he can be released to enjoy the great outdoors, provided your yard is fenced, while you clean up after him.
Always clean up after your dog immediately. This is more hygienic and prevents anyone from stepping in it and tracking it into the house. It also prevents your new buddy from eating it. Coprophagia is not uncommon and generally pretty disgusting. Avoid it by cleaning up after your dog right away.
Hang a set of bells, like Christmas jingle bells or even a single bell on a string, on the doorknob that leads to your yard or wherever you have decided to have the puppy potty. Every time you open that door to bring the puppy outside, touch his nose or paw to the bells to make them ring. This helps him associate the bells with the door opening. When he has to go he will begin to go to the door and ring the bells to let you know he needs out. This avoids the situation where the dog is waiting patiently for as long as they can at the door to be let out and no one knows he is there.
When you bring your puppy out to do his business, use a word to indicate that he should potty. It can be any word, just use it consistently. This will come to be associated with elimination and can make having your puppy pee in a strange location when travelling a whole lot easier. Some dogs can be reluctant to eliminate away from their "spot''. Using a word can help make the connection that they are not being bad by eliminating even though this isn't where they normally go.
As soon as your puppy eliminates in the designated spot, praise and reward him. You want to establish in his mind that this was a good thing and that it makes you happy. Most dogs want to please their owners.
As a general rule, all dogs have to pee when they wake up. If your puppy was taking a nap, he should be brought outside to eliminate as soon as he wakes up.
Most dogs will need to go to the bathroom within twenty to forty minutes of eating. After your puppy has had his meal, wait twenty minutes and take him out to his potty spot.
If you are crate training your dog, he should be taken outside to potty as soon as he is let out of the crate, every single time. If he does not go when outside, bring him back in and put him back in the crate. Try again in a half an hour. The reward for going outside is loose time in the house to play. Ideally house time is done on an empty bladder to help avoid accidents.
When your dog is loose in the house, you should always be watching him until he is fully housebroken and knows the house rules. If you are watching him, you will see the signs such as circling and lifting the tail that indicate he needs to go potty. You can scoop him up and head for the designated location outside. If you are not watching him, he may have an accident that could have been prevented. Consider using baby gates to limit where the puppy can roam in the house.
No matter how closely you watch him, there will occasionally be accidents. If you catch him in the process of eliminating, pick him up and take him out. Do not scold him after the fact. That will have a negative effect on your training and does not send him the right message.