By Amber Kingsley
Getting a new puppy is an important decision that requires a great deal of forethought and then a tremendous amount of care and responsibility. First comes basic training, those valuable lessons like walking on a leash or how to sit and lie down on command. But before we begin obedience training and implementing other important regimens, we must get our little canines to “do their business” in a place besides our favorite living room rug and that means using puppy potty training techniques.
Modern puppy potty training techniques
Today, animal lovers are using positive puppy potty training techniques such as those recommended by agencies like the Humane Society of The United States to train their pups. Praise and treats during these learning experiences go much further than the old methods of punishment, fear and using negative consequences.
Don’t use newspapers
So, forget about using newspapers (especially don’t plan to roll one up and swat your dog on the nose with it). This is an antiquated and ineffective puppy potty training technique that should have long ago gone by the wayside.
Old thinking: Using newspapers to cover floors and carpets to give your puppy a spot to take care of business.
New thinking: Leaving urine-soaked newspapers out also leaves a strong scent behind that almost gives a puppy permission to continue using that spot as a restroom. Instead, use potty pads or other indoor options such as an automatic self-cleaning potty or disposable grass potties.
Start puppy potty training techniques early
Old thinking: People used to wait until puppies were at least 12 weeks old before starting potty training.
New thinking: Newer information shows puppies can be trained younger, especially if you establish a daily routine. At around three weeks of age, most pups will begin eliminating away from their nest. Many five-week-old puppies start regularly going in the same spot. Most puppies also begin to prefer using familiar places to do their business. By six weeks, most puppies can be left alone for an hour without worry about an accident. Because most puppies are weaned at around eight to 10 weeks, there’s no reason to wait to start using puppy potty training techniques when you bring your new puppy home. Most trainers think seven to nine weeks of age is the perfect time to start using puppy potty training techniques.
Going outside and scheduling
Old thinking: Get your dog outside several times a day and confine the dog in crate or other small space when left home alone.
New thinking: Get your dog outside every two to three hours and especially within 30-40 minutes of eating or drinking. Dogs who have to be left alone for extended periods may still need indoor potty options, but by 13 weeks, most dogs can be left alone for four hours a day without accidents. And by 14 weeks, most dogs should be able to sleep all night without a potty break.
Patience is a virtue
Old thinking: Set a rigid schedule and stick with it. Punish dogs when they have an accident so they “know” what they did was wrong.
New thinking: Be patient. Some dog breeds such as pugs and dachshunds can be hard to potty train. Also, puppies, just like toddlers are prone to having some accidents. It’s all just part of the process. Don’t become upset by these minor setbacks and continue your training. And don’t punish your dog. Often accidents happen because owners miss cues or forget to get the dog outside in a timely manner. It’s also important to remember that the size of your dog can make a difference. Tiny dogs have tiny bladders and even when they are fully housebroken, don’t expect a toy breed to be able to hold his bladder for more than five or six hours.
Stick with it and eventually your efforts will be successful and you can celebrate having a dog who is completely housebroken.
Amber Kingsley is a freelance journalist and member of a pet enthusiast/animal lover group in Santa Monica. She has donated countless hours supporting her local shelter within operations and outreach. Amber has spent most of her research writing about animals, food, health, and training. Follow Amber on Twitter.