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What Should I Know About Puppy Potty Training?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 05 February 2018
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Puppy potty training may be considered one of the main responsibilities when you first get a young dog. It’s valuable to realize that it will take some work and a ton of consistency to train your puppy. It also takes time. You cannot expect most puppies to be fully trustworthy on the issue of always going outdoors until they are at least six months old, and some smaller breeds may need even more time for their bladders to mature.

The first golden rule of puppy potty training is to remember that puppies are babies. It doesn’t make sense to get angry at the puppy for accidents, anymore than it would make sense to yell at a human infant for still using a diaper. To avoid lapses, you or other family members are really the ones in charge of making sure the puppy gets to an acceptable place to do its business. This can be accomplished in several ways.

First, when you’ve gotten a puppy, you should use a crate so that you’ll have some time to not watch the puppy. Crate the dog anytime you cannot watch it completely. You really have to watch the puppy at all times to prevent accidents before they happen. When you want your dog with you, keep it on a leash attached to your clothing or to your wrist. Any signs that the puppy may be getting ready to urinate means you should get outdoors immediately.

Expect accidents in the beginning, and keep the puppy on floors that are easily washable. If an accident does occur on the carpet, be sure to use carpet-cleaning materials designed for removal of pet stains, so no residual smell remains. Keep designated puppy areas clean of accidents right after they occur to avoid encouraging your dog to continue using these areas as bathroom spaces.

(It helps to keep a regular schedule of feeding and bathroom times when you’re in the midst of puppy potty training. A few minutes after your dog has eaten, take it out for about 10 minutes. Don’t use this time as playtime, but if your puppy does have a bowel movement or urinates, give it praise. Some dogs will refuse to go when they’re taken out at designated times. If after ten or so minutes you can’t get the puppy to use the bathroom, place it in its crate for about fifteen minutes and try again.

You probably need to aim for visits outside every two hours, and note your puppy’s schedule. They will gradually be able to hold more in their bladders and bowels, but at first they won’t be able to hold much. Make sure not to keep the puppy waiting as you observe this schedule. As the dog becomes more reliable, you can lengthen time between visits outdoors.

It’s important not to scream at your puppy if it has an accident, and remember if the accident occurred when you weren’t watching, the puppy isn’t likely to remember it. If you catch your dog “in the act” simply take them outdoors and use a word like “No” to remind them that all bathroom business is conducted outside. Dogs that are routinely stressed out due to owners shouting may have a harder time mastering potty training.

Another great tip in puppy potty training is to make sure to not leave water available to the puppy about two hours before bedtime. This may help reduce need to urinate at night and gradually train your dog to wait until morning to use the bathroom. On the other hand, if the puppy does make sounds or signs that it needs to go at night, you should get up and take it outside.

It can take work to be effective in puppy potty training, but over time your puppy will master this skill, especially as it matures. Some people really don’t have the time to devote to puppy potty training. If this is the case, you may want to consider adopting an older dog that can be trained more quickly or that is already trained.

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