Toilet training is one of the main issues that we are called to help with. The excitement of getting a new puppy is often replaced with frustration as the reality of the hard work involved in toilet training sets in. We have some tips to help you when toilet training your puppy. By following these simple tips, you will speed up your puppy’s toilet training, and make life happier for the pup and all the family.
Remember there are at least six specific occasions when you will need to take your puppy outside to toilet. These are:
- As soon as he wakes up in the morning
- Before going to bed at night
- Every time he wakes up from a nap
- After exuberant play
- When you return home
- After eating
In addition to these occasions, you should make sure your puppy is in your sights all the time, so that he can’t disappear somewhere to toilet without you knowing. Also, by making sure your puppy is in sight, you can see the signs of when he is preparing to toilet, and pop him straight outside.
It is very important to remain with your puppy whilst he is outside. That way, you will know that he has toileted, and you are on hand to give immediate praise. This will reinforce that toileting in the garden is the right thing to do. Very often, we make the mistake of putting our puppy outside alone for 10 minutes and then letting him back in without know whether he has toileted or not. A puppy may whine or scratch at the door to be allowed back in, and the owner will let their puppy in and praise him. The puppy won’t know he is being praised for toileting outside (assuming he has) because he has forgotten that. He may think he is being praised for asking to come back in, and that is not necessarily the behaviour that you want to train into your dog.
For night-time sleeping, you could consider a crate (see our article on crate training). This provides a safe, enclosed bed for the puppy. It needs to be large enough for him to stand, turn and lie down, but not large enough for him to create a toilet area within the crate. First thing every morning, and immediately after every nap, you can then take your puppy straight from the crate to toilet outside. You may also like to try using lavender to scent his bedding. He will then associate the smell of lavender with his bed, and you can then also use it to scent strategic places in your house. Because these places will smell like his bedding, he is less likely to toilet there. You can go as far as adding lavender oil to the water you use to mop your floors, as this will make your whole house smell like his den to the puppy.
It is very important to be lavish in your praise of a puppy who toilets in the right place. On the other hand, never punish your puppy for making mistakes. These are bound to happen from time to time, and the only things you should do in these situations are:
- Mop up the accident
- Clean the area thoroughly with an appropriate cleaning product that does not contain bleach or ammonia, as these ingredients leave a scent similar to that of urine, and may confuse your puppy.
- Remove any faeces and put them in the garden area where you want your puppy toilet, as this will help to guide him to the right place next time.
- Never show him or push your puppy’s nose into his mess. This will only make your puppy afraid and confused, and will possibly cause him to go and hide to toilet. This will only make matters worse.
We do understand that it isn’t always pleasant to go and stand outside in the garden several times every day, especially if it is dark and/or raining. However, by dedicating yourself fully to the process, and sticking with an established routine, your puppy will be toilet trained much more quickly, and both of you will be much happier. Remember that your puppies brain is only a few weeks old and is still developing. The time it takes for a puppy to learn to toilet outside can vary and can sometimes take several weeks before he gets the hang of things.
As with all aspects of dog training, you must be consistent and patient. Never become frustrated or hit your puppy! Do call a professional if you need more help and support. Our trainers have a wealth of knowledge and experience and will help to guide you through the process.
Bark Busters trainers have trained more than 1 Million dogs worldwide and are renowned authorities in addressing dog behaviour with all-natural, dog-friendly methods. Bark Busters training is the only service of its kind that offers International guaranteed lifetime support. With hundreds of trainers around the world, Bark Busters continues its mission to enhance the human/canine relationship and to reduce the possibility of maltreatment, abandonment and euthanasia. Contact your local Bark Busters dog trainer to see how they can help.