Potty Training Your Puppy

There is no rule that says you have to crate train your puppy-but it can make life a lot easier for you and puppy.

Statistics show that more puppies are abandoned every year because of house-training problems than for any other reason.  Correct house-training is one of the most important foundations of a healthy relationship with your puppy. It is your responsibility to establish good house-training habits.

Whenever you are home, keep your puppy closely confined to the crate if you can’t keep a very close eye on him. If you don’t want to use the crate, keep your puppy on a leash tied to your belt, or an eye-hook screwed into the baseboard. Most people don’t understand the principle behind close confinement and think that a crate is a place to leave puppies for hours on end. Others think that a crate is a cruel prison. Confinement procedures aren’t meant to be cruel or to last forever. Once your puppy is house-trained, he may have run of the house. But, if you give your puppy unsupervised free reign of the house to soon, he will have accidents.

For some puppies, making good things happen inside the crate is all that is needed in order to teach them to be comfortable there. Placing a good snack or treat in the crate for puppy..something like snack-filled puzzle toys, like a Kong, pig’s ear, bully sticks or beef esophagus. These are all good treats for puppy, and he will begin to look forward to being in his crate.

Crate Training:
I use and highly recommend using a crate for potty training among other things. Use schedule feeding your new pup until they are completely potty trained. I recommend feeding 2 or 3 times a day based on your schedule, though consistency is always best. The puppy will feel safe and secure knowing what and when to expect food and when he will get to go out to potty and play.

I fill the pups food bowl full and offer it to him for 20 minutes 2 or 3 times a day, allowing him to eat all he wants in that time. I then put the food away and pick the puppy up and take him outside to the location that I have chosen for him to go potty. I give him 5 or so minutes to go potty.If he goes potty I make a HUGE  DEAL about ” What a good puppy” and really praise him so he knows that is what I wanted. If he doesn’t go potty right away I pick him up and hold him or if I cannot keep my eyes on him I put him in his crate and then in about 5 or so minutes I take him back out to go potty and if he doesn’t go, I again crate or hold him. I do this until he finally goes potty outside. Once he does go potty I allow him to run free inside, though supervised. I always keep my pups very close  or on a leash next to me. He may start sniffing or walk in circles, which means he is looking for a potty spot. The main point is to not let him run free out of site to prevent any  accidents.

The rule of thumb to remember  with a little pup,  is  “FOOD AND WATER IN and FOOD AND WATER OUT” usually within 10 to 15 minutes of eating or drinking. So , with scheduled feeding I have control, for the most part, when and where he goes. And with a schedule, it doesn’t take long for puppy to be potty trained.

RULE OF THUMB: During day light hours, puppy can hold urine for 1 hour for each month of age. 8 week old puppy can hold it for 2 hours, 12 week puppy for 3 hours, etc.

There are those who favor placing a divider (try a cardboard box placed in the back of the crate if you don’t have a divider) in your crate so you can keep his crate just big enough to stand up, turn around and sleep. They feel that any bigger than that he may  potty inside the crate. Pups do not like to  potty where they sleep, so if you keep it small enough to sleep only they will be less likely to have accidents in their crate.

Personally, I feel that there should be a little more room in the crate than just for pups bed. I like to use a crate large enough to have the bed in a corner and then a space in the crate big enough for puppy to potty in, so that he doesn’t soil his bed, if he does have an accident in the crate. I feel that this keeps puppy from soiling his bed where he sleeps. I don’t want my puppy to have an accident on his bed and then lay in it, thus, becoming desensitized to staying clean.

Young pups usually need to be taken out in the middle of the night to  potty. They will usually let you know by either barking or whining. It is hard for them to hold it all night at a young age, but the older they get the longer they can hold it and will be able to wait until morning.

I try to make the last meal of the day early enough that he goes to potty long before bedtime and then I take him out again just before bedtime. This way he may actually be able to hold it all night and I might get lucky and be able to sleep all night. I don’t keep food and water in the crate, that is just setting puppy up to need to go out to potty, or to make a mess in his crate.

If you stick with this sometimes rigid schedule he will be potty trained in a few weeks  or so and save you and your pup hours of frustration and clean up later on!

After the pup is completely potty trained you can remove the divider from the crate and use the crate for his own special place.

Dogs are Den Animals and love having their own place to sleep and hang out away from the world. His crate should always be a positive and safe place for him. He will grow to love it.

Your puppy should not live in his crate! Let him spend periods of time there when he can’t be watched, or when he is resting, and while being house-trained. When used this way it will teach the pup to hold himself and to help adjust to his new life in your home. Even when house-training is completed, the crate can continue to be used as a place for your pet to go rest and still feel a part of the family.

Crates are also great for confining your pup to keep him out of trouble when you can’t watch him. They are convenient if your pup needs to stay with a pet-sitter or if you are traveling and stay at a motel. A crate helps to create a familiar spot that your pet will be comfortable in.

Potty Training

When  you first bring your puppy home you should begin the outside training process. When you take your puppy out of the car, have him or her on a leash and take him directly to the location you want him to go potty. Use a potty command phrase that you want the puppy to learn to go potty when you tell him to. I use the phrase, “Go potty”  It will usually only take a few days for puppy to learn the phrase and will almost immediately squat when you say the phrase.

Then wait for the puppy to do his business. Immediately after the puppy finishes going potty, bend down and praise him/her.

Be consistent with whatever phrase you choose and say the same thing every time.

When finished, take puppy into the house. Play with pup for 10 to 15 minutes, then place puppy in crate. Repeat this process every 2 to 3 hours. 

Always be consistent. Soon your puppy will begin to understand the routine. Always place puppy back in the crate or enclosure unless you’re going to watch him at all times. Never, leave the puppy free to roam the house while housebreaking. One accident can set you back. Remember, if your puppy has an accident in the floor–it’s not puppy’s fault. It is your fault for not keeping a close eye on  him and for not taking him outside frequently enough. 

If the accident happened inside the crate, then take the puppy  outside more often, or get him on a more consistent eating schedule so that you can time when he needs to go outside and potty better. Do Not give your puppy food or water at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. In the morning, go to the puppy and put his leash on him, pick him up and carry him to the door quickly and take him to his spot to potty. Give the command to “Go Potty.”

Do not use the doggy doors until puppy knows his/her spot to go potty and not to go in the house. Be patient and consistent! In no time you will have a puppy who is housebroken!