Dogs are by far the most popular pets in America, with more than 48 million households owning at least one of these gorgeous companions. Dogs can provide amazing company and comfort, and help you and your family stay active.
However, owning a dog is a huge responsibility. Ensuring that your dog has a happy and healthy routine will help it thrive throughout life.
Potty training your puppy will help it feel more secure in its environment, and training them is a great bonding experience. This routine will also protect your home from puppy accidents, so everyone benefits!
So how do you teach your puppy about where to go and when? Well, there are plenty of things you need to do to get your puppy potty trained. Read on to find out everything you need to know.
When Should You Start Potty Training a Puppy?
It is important to only start potty training once your puppy is physically and mentally old enough. Otherwise, this can lead to frustration for both you and your dog.
Most puppies are ready to begin training once they are between 12 and 16 weeks old. Of course, you can start taking your puppy to their bathroom spot before this time to get them familiar with it. But don't expect to see huge results from your training until they've passed the 12-week mark.
How Often Do Puppies Need Go?
Understanding how often your puppy needs to go is incredibly important. This will ensure you give them plenty of time to get to their potty spot throughout the day.
As puppies get older, they can hold their wee and bowel movements for longer. However, while they are small, you will need to let them out for regular bathroom breaks to minimize accidents. As a general rule:
- 2-month-old puppies need to go every two hours
- 3-month-old puppies can wait up to four hours between going to the potty
- 4-month-old puppies will need a potty break after five hours
- 5-month-old puppies can hold their wee or bowel movements for around six hours
- Fully-grown dogs can hold it for between six and eight hours
As they reach old age, your dog's bowel and bladder control may also start to weaken. This means you'll need to let them out for bathroom breaks more often again.
The breed of your puppy can also affect how often it needs to go. Larger dogs like Doberman Pinschers and Retrievers can hold on for longer between potty breaks. In comparison, small dogs, such as Pomeranians and Toy Poodles, will need to go more often.
So it is worth keeping this in mind when you start potty training your puppy.
However, this isn't the only thing that will affect how easy or difficult your puppy finds potty training. The way that you handle this transition will also make a big difference. With that in mind, let's take a look at some handy puppy training tools and tips that will help get your puppy potty trained in no time.
Find a Potty Spot and Stick To It
Understanding where they are meant to go is incredibly important for dogs. So make sure you choose one potty spot and stick to it while you are training them.
Once they're older and used to the routine, they will naturally continue using this spot. This also means you won't need to search your backyard for dog mess!
If you want your dog to pee outside, you might choose a spot in your backyard that is out of the way. You can use outdoor grass dog pads to protect your lawn.
Indoor dogs can also use puppy pads in one area of your home so they have a place to go. Make sure you change these regularly to avoid odors and potential leaks!
Look for Signs That They Need to Go
Dogs are creatures of habit but new puppies haven't established their habits just yet.
Because of this, they might not always need to go to the bathroom at the same time each day. They also don't have the bladder or bowel control to hold their business for long periods of time.
When you are around your puppy, keep an eye out for signs that they might need to go. These can include:
- Smelling their rear end
- Pacing in circles
- Sitting or barking by the back door
- Sniffing the floor
- Squatting like they are getting ready to go
If you notice your puppy doing any of these things, get them out to their bathroom spot as soon as possible!
Feed Them at the Same Time Each Day
What your dog eats and when has a huge effect on how often they need to go.
As a rule of thumb, most puppies will pass their bowel movements around 30 minutes after eating. Keep an eye on the time to ensure they can get to their potty spot before this. When they are very young, you may need to lead or carry them to this spot.
This will reduce the number of accidents they'll have in your home.
Sticking to the same meal times gives your dog a sense of stability in their daily life. It also makes it easier for them to understand when they are going to be let out to go to the bathroom.
Keep an Eye on Their Water Bowl
Of course, how much your dog drinks will also affect how much they need to urinate.
Some dogs are naturally big drinkers, so keep an eye on their water bowl to understand their drinking habits. If your puppy drinks a lot, you'll need to let them out more often to go to the bathroom.
In the summertime, you may notice that your dog drinks a lot but goes to the bathroom less. This is because they are using the water for valuable hydration.
You don't need to worry too much about this. As long as your dog is still going a few times a day, they are healthy.
Go Outside Regularly
While your puppy is still young, it is a good idea to take them out or to their indoor potty spot regularly. This gives them the chance to go and helps to avoid accidents.
Do this once an hour if you can. Your puppy might not go every time, but it helps them get familiar with the spot and what they are meant to do there.
Over time, you'll start to understand how often your puppy tends to go and how long they can hold it.
Reward Them After They Do Their Business
Rewarding your puppy when they do their business is essential to successful potty training. This lets your dog know that they have done the right thing.
You can give them physical praise and positive encouragement by saying things like "good boy/girl". Giving them a small dog treat will also reinforce this message.
You may find that your puppy goes to their potty spot and waits, without doing any business, in the hope of getting a treat. This isn't a problem. It's just their way of figuring out what the rules are.
However, make sure you don't reward them simply for being there. This will confuse the process. Instead, save treats for once you've seen them go or checked for evidence that they've gone to the bathroom!
Use Their Crate Space
As you can probably tell by now, the more time you can spend with your puppy, the easier it will be to potty train them. However, it isn't always possible to be around your puppy every single day.
In that case, try to limit where they go in your home while you are potty training them. If they have a small space, such as a laundry room, keep them there or put them in their crate.
This is their personal space where they play, sleep, and feel safe. So they won't want to mess it up by doing their business there. Instead, they'll bark to let you know they need to go to the potty.
You can also put old towels down in this area while they're still small. This will make it easier to tidy up any accidents.
Handle Accidents Calmly
Although you want to avoid them, some accidents are inevitable when potty training a puppy.
These might be annoying or inconvenient, but try to stay calm when they happen. Your reaction can have a big impact on your dog's happiness while learning to use their potty spot.
If your dog does have an accident, start by taking them back to their potty spot. This will reinforce where they are meant to do their business. If they go to the bathroom again while you're there, you should still reward this with a treat.
You should clean the accident area immediately and keep your puppy out of the way. Bleach is a great disinfectant, but you should also make sure you treat the area to eliminate odors. Avoid products containing ammonia, as this smells like urine for dogs.
It's important to get rid of odors as soon as possible to avoid future accidents. If your dog can smell their mess in your home, they are more likely to return to that spot to go to the bathroom again.
If your dog starts having a lot of accidents, especially after you've trained them, this could be a sign that they are anxious or unwell. In that case, make sure you take them to the vet to eliminate any other health issues.
Put Puppy Pee Pads Near Their Bed
Night-time potty training takes a little longer than day-time training. This is simply because most puppies can't hold their bladder and bowel movements for that long.
This might mean that your puppy has a few night-time accidents. When this happens, repeat the steps above and clean up their crate or bed straight away.
As your puppy gets used to their potty routine, they may wake you up in the night barking for the bathroom. If you don't feel like going outside, put a pee pad near their bed or crate and let them go there. Using a natural pee pad like Gotta Go Grass will help your pup recognize going on real grass is good. Once they use this option, reward them like normal.
They will get used to this routine with time, so if they do need to go in the night, they'll know where to go. This means that they won't need to wake you up to go to the bathroom.
When you get up, take them to their potty spot straight away and reward them for any business that they do.
Prepare for Different Environments and Situations
Some environments and situations can throw up challenges for potty training. Preparing for these will help your puppy maintain their potty training routine in the face of these challenges.
Staying in a New Environment
If you stay with a loved one, your dog might not know where they need to go to the bathroom.
When you first arrive, show them to their new temporary potty spot and keep an eye out for signs that they might need the bathroom. This will help you catch accidents and helps them learn where to go quickly.
Meeting Other Dogs
Most dogs and puppies go to the bathroom when they meet other pets. This might be because they feel excited or nervous, or want to mark their territory.
Taking them to the bathroom before they meet other dogs will help you reinforce their potty training routine.
Bad Weather or Hostile Environments
A lot of dogs don't like going to the bathroom in the snow or rain. Other things, like fireworks, can also make them reluctant to go outside. So you'll need to provide a little extra support when this happens.
Go out with them and dig out their potty spot or try to provide some shelter for them, followed by plenty of praise. If your dog really doesn't want to go outside, then offer them an alternative, like a puppy pad near the back door, to avoid accidents.
Nail Your Puppy Potty Training Routine in No Time at All
As you can see, there are plenty of things to keep in mind when puppy potty training.
This requires consistency and patience but persevering with your routine will pay off in the long run. As your puppy starts to get familiar with the routine, they will understand when and where they should do their business. So your home will be accident-free in no time at all!
Are you looking for the perfect puppy pee pads for your home? Then check out all-natural dog grass pads now! This amazing solution will keep your potty training regimen on track and your home odor free.