Unless you want to spend a great deal of your time cleaning up after her, potty training your puppy will be one of the first things that you will want to do when she comes to live with you. Much like toilet training a toddler, teaching your precious pup where she can and cannot relieve her bladder and bowels will take time and patience. It may seem like an impossible task, however, if you are consistent with your approach, your new canine pal will get to grips with potty training much more quickly than you might expect.
Here are our top tips for potty training your puppy.
1. Be Realistic
Before you start potty training your pup, there are a few things that are important to understand. Firstly, it may take some time for your puppy to be aware that she will need to pee or poop. This automatically makes accidents much more likely to occur. Your puppy might also urinate spontaneously if she gets over excited, so don’t be surprised to see a puddle or two when you first return home from being out, or after a walk or play-time. For this reason, although some people start potty training from around six weeks old, your furbaby is unlikely to be able to take full control of her bladder until she is around three months old. If you start too early, don’t be surprised if the process takes longer than you expect.
2. Let your puppy out regularly
One of the biggest mistakes that many new owners make is not letting their puppy out regularly enough. Her bladder is tiny. At eight weeks old, most puppies have a bladder capacity of approximately 75 minutes but obviously this can vary between animals. By eighteen weeks old, your furbaby will still only be able to hold her bladder for around two hours before she needs to go again.
We strongly recommend that you let your puppy out to use her designated toilet area every hour in the first few weeks of your training and then extend this time gradually depending on how much control she seems capable of exerting over her bladder.
3. Establish a routine
Puppies can benefit from a routine just as much as a human baby or toddler can. Knowing what to expect will help her feel reassured. It will also help her to learn to recognize when her bladder or bowels are full, and she must go and relieve herself. It will also help you to realize when she is likely to need to go so that you can make sure she can get outside at the appropriate times. For example, most dogs will need to have a bowel movement within an hour of eating a meal.
4. Clean up accidents without a fuss
Most owners realize that scolding their puppy for toileting accidents is a fruitless endeavour. Your canine doesn’t understand a tirade of angry words so while you may feel you are getting your point across, she has no idea what you are saying. If you are yelling then you could actually be making your puppy fearful of you and your behavior, which isn’t something you want when trying to form a bond between you. And, let’s face it, she hasn’t tried to upset you on purpose. Instead of getting upset, clean up any accidents without causing a fuss. Make sure that you clean the area really well. Your pup’s sense of smell is far better than your own and if she can still smell urine or feces somewhere where it shouldn’t be, it could trigger her to repeat the behavior in the wrong place.
5. There is no such thing as too much praise
No matter how old they are, dogs absolutely thrive on receiving love and attention from their owners. The more positive praise you can offer your puppy when she does her business in the right place, the better association she will make between relieving herself in this location and obtaining positive attention from you. This above anything else will encourage her to make the right decisions when emptying her bladder and bowels.
If you would like more advice on the best way to potty train your puppy, our experienced veterinary team are on hand to help. Please contact our veterinarians in San Antonio TX today at 210-981-4100 to schedule an appointment or learn more.