Every dog owner dreads the potty training stage. Dogs do not understand that they are not allowed to toilet indoors, so it is up to you to show them where is acceptable. Toilet training should be considered complete until your dog is at least a 6 months old as never has an accident indoors. You should expect the occasionally mishap during the first year.
Tip 1: Start Immediately
As soon as you get home with your dog, whether they are a puppy or an older dog, take them straight into the yard. It is instinctive for dogs to explore and mark their territory. Start a short game of fetch or chase around the yard to encourage their bowels to move.
Praise them and give lots of praise when the go so they know they did a good thing. This positive reinforcement is the key part of making the toilet training a success.
Tip 2: Establish A Routine
Dogs love routine and their bodies naturally recognise patterns. You should take your dog out to toilet using the following:
- As soon as they wake in the morning
- After breakfast
- After any play session or training
- After their lunchtime meal
- After naps
- After their last meal
- Just before bed
- Every time they leave their crate (if you are crate training)
Puppies and small breed dogs have small bladders and cannot be expected to hold their urge to go for more than 3 or 4 hours. If you know you will not be home, arrange for a family member, friend or neighbour to pop by to let your dog out for the toilet.
Tip 3: Stay Calm
Never shout at your dog for having an accident indoors. This will only make them nervous about toileting and they may start looking for hiding places instead. If your dog is having accidents regularly, increase the number of times they have access to the outdoors.
Tip 4: Wait 5 Minutes
This tip is more for male dogs. Female dogs tend to squat and let most of their bladder empty, but male dogs will do lots of little wees to mark over unusual scents or the pee of other dogs. When you let your dog out to go potty, don’t bring him in after his first wee. Stay out 5 minutes to see if he needs to go again. Encourage him to explore the yard a little as sniffing can trigger the urge to urinate.
Tip 5: Make It Fun
instead of simply letting your dog out to the toilet and back in when he is done, go out with him. Let him have a wee first, then encourage a game so your dog is focusing on you and finding value in your attention. Stop after 5 minutes to give him chance to go again, then shower him with praise and a treat. If your puppy recognizes that he gets treat and playtime for peeing outdoors, his toilet training will be more effective.