Toilet training a new puppy—it sounds like a daunting process, particularly when you fixate on the lingering risks of finding an unpleasant stain on your carpet (or worse, in your bed).
However, puppy housetraining doesn’t have to be the nightmare we fear it to be. It’s actually a rather simple process, as long as you maintain patience and understanding on more difficult days.
At the foundation of any dog toilet training are some key methods, all agreed upon by experts and mastered by puppy owners everywhere. Equally important are some practices to avoid.
To make it simpler for you, we’ve put together all of these do’s and don’ts into one handy guide.
Dog Toilet Training Essentials
1. Reward-Based Training
Training with your puppy’s favourite rewards is one of the most effective ways to ensure housetraining success. Whenever your puppy eliminates outdoors in a proper place, reward him with praise, treats, a playful walk, or another high-value reward.
This positive reinforcement will help your puppy to associate going to the toilet outdoors with a worthwhile treat.
Plus, this reward-based training strategy provides you and your puppy with plenty of bonding opportunities. Young dogs, in particular, are especially appreciative of praise from their new family. They like to know that you’re happy, and they’ll appreciate all the positive fuss and attention.
Ensuring that both feeding times and times to use the bathroom are spaced regularly throughout the day (and at the same times each day) is crucial to encouraging good habits for your young pup.
For example, feed your puppy at specific times each day as instructed by your veterinarian. Feed your dog only at these times, as irregular eating means that your puppy will become more likely to need the toilet soon after.
Then, make a routine of starting each morning by taking your pup outside to relieve himself. Also take him outside every hour or so, after each meal, and after he wakes up from a nap. Don’t forget to visit the loo one more time before bed!
Pick an outdoor spot where you’ll encourage your puppy to go every time. This consistency will create a sticking point in your pup’s brain— “this spot is an okay place to pee and poo.”
Plus, your puppy will recognize his own scent in this spot, another instinctive indicator that it’s time to use the toilet. You may even want to associate a particular word or phrase with going to the toilet in this chosen spot. Not only will this remind your pup of what they need to do, but it will create yet another consistent connection in their brain which helps them to form appropriate toilet habits.
If you notice signs that your dog needs to go, maintain consistency and take him to his designated spot—outdoors or on a training pad.
The No-No’s of Dog Housetraining
We all make mistakes (and so do our pups), but do your best to avoid the following practices while toilet training your new puppy. Any of these mistakes could lead to confusion for your puppy and a resulting bump in the road when it comes to successful housetraining.
Mistakes to avoid when toilet training your puppy:
- Punishing your puppy when he has an accident. You may have heard the rumour that rubbing a dog’s snout in his accident or scolding him loudly beside the mess will discourage him from further accidents, but this is far from the case. The most you’ll achieve with these methods is making your puppy afraid to toilet in front of you at all!
- Feeding your dog too much or offering him a variety of foods, both of which might rough up his digestive system or cause an untimely need to toilet.
- Allowing your pup access to water shortly before bedtime, which may result in a night-time wetting accident.
- Allowing your pup free access to the outdoors, especially when you’re not present. While toilet training, the garden should be a toilet for your dog and nothing more. It takes some time for a pup’s brain to make this distinction, so only allow your dog into the garden when it’s time to wee! Also, always be sure you’re around to offer praise.
Above all, patience is key when toilet training a puppy. How quickly a dog can be housetrained is entirely dependent on the pup himself, but expect to spend at least four to six months working consistently and routinely with your pup before you achieve the desired result. In some cases, toilet training a puppy may take as long as a year, but keep at it.
VetIQ® Toilet Training Aid
VetIQ® Training Aid
VetIQ® Training Aid is a simple, yet effective liquid that toilet-trains your pet to a spot of your choosing, while protecting carpets and furniture from staining and keeping lawns and flowerbeds clear.
- Helps train your dog to urinate in one place
- Safe & effective
- For indoor & outdoor use
- Makes house-training easy