Introduction: How to Potty Train a Puppy
House training can be a difficult process, but is essential for puppies as they need to understand that it's unacceptable to excrement in your house. Using positive reinforcement instead of punishments is crucial. All puppies are different, however, most puppies can usually hold their waste for the same number of hours as their age in months.
Step 1: Choose a Bathroom Spot
Whether you have a backyard, or designated area for the puppy to go to the bathroom, familiarize your puppy with this area so they are comfortable enough to eliminate their waste.
Step 2: Take Your Puppy Outside Often
Younger puppies (6 months and younger) can be expected to need to be taken out every 1-2 hours at least. Also, take your puppy outside in the morning after they wake up, after eating/drinking, and during and after play time.
Step 3: Set a Regular Feeding Schedule
Many puppies defecate soon after eating, so having a set feeding schedule will allow you to have more control over when he/she will need to go. This will also ensure that your puppy will go at consistent times.
Step 4: Rewards
Every time your puppy goes to the bathroom in the chosen bathroom spot, reward them. A treat or praise is necessary and must be done promptly after they're done eliminating so they know what is expected of them.
Step 5: Bedtime
An hour or two before bed, put up your puppies water dish to help eliminate your puppy from having to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. If your puppy does need to use the bathroom during the night, do not make a big deal of the situation, as your puppy might take it as play time and not go back to sleep.
Step 6: Accidents
Accidents are bound to happen, usually as a result of the puppy not receiving necessary supervision/attention. DO NOT scold or hit your puppy as this will only worsen the situation. Puppies cannot make the correlation between being punished with eliminating on the floor. Instead pay more attention to your puppy's actions/signs they have to go. If you catch your puppy mid-going, catch their attention sharply-try clapping, and if possible, run with them to their bathroom area.
Step 7: Leaving Puppy
If you're going to be gone for longer periods of time, buy a crate for your puppy. The crate should be big enough for your puppy to lay down, stand up, stretch out, and sit down, as well as be well ventilated. Make the crate comfortable by adding a dog bed, blanket, or towel. Also, make sure to provide water for your puppy while they're confined to the crate while you're away. Do not keep your puppy locked in the crate for extensive hours. Most animals, including dogs, don't want to sit in their own feces, so if they can hold it, they will. If done right, your puppy will come to love the crate and associate it with their own space where they can relax and
feel at home.