One of the easiest ways to potty train a puppy is to simply pay attention and watch for signals. Make sure your puppy is always where you can see him when he is loose in the house. You may need to use baby gates or close doors to keep your puppy from wandering off and going potty in the house. When you notice the puppy sniffing around or if you see him start to squat, quickly scoop him up and take him outside. If you are having trouble keeping track of the puppy while he is loose in the house, or you get distracted like me, keep him on a leash while he is out and about in the house with you.
After the puppy eats or drinks, take him outside to go potty immediately. A puppy will always need to go to the potty shortly after eating or drinking. Control when the puppy eats, as well. He does not require a full bowl of food available at all times. He should be fed on a consistent schedule. This will help get him on a potty schedule too.
When you take the puppy outside after eating or drinking, do not use this time to play. Simply stand or sit off to the side and wait until he finally goes. When he does what he is supposed to and potties outside make a HUGE deal out of it. Praise, treats, excitement, make sure he knows he did a wonderful thing. Additionally, every time the puppy goes potty or when you are waiting for him to go, use the word you want to associate with training him to go. For example, you might repeat, “Go potty, good boy! Good potty!” This will train him to understand what you want him to do, which is go potty in the designated spot.
Crate training is also imperative in house training a puppy, as well as teaching your dog that a crate is a good thing. There is nothing worse than trying to put a large dog in a crate that has never been in one before. Choose a crate that is large enough for the puppy to stand and turn around in; never use the crate as punishment, such as a “time out” corner. It
should be a place where the puppy feels safe and comfortable. Take the puppy outside to go potty before putting him in his crate. He can be safely crated for three to four hours; puppies rarely use the crate as a potty and will learn to hold it while in the crate. Take him outside to potty as soon as you let him out of the crate. While you may feel like you are imprisoning him, puppies that are crate trained begin to appreciate the safety and security of their crate, and it becomes a safe place for them. I always give a tiny treat when my dogs go in their crates and eventually turned it into a command the dog knows. When I say crate, the dog goes in the crate. It becomes quite handy.
Repetition and consistency are two key factors that will help your puppy learn to let you know he needs to go potty. Whenever you take the puppy outside to go potty, always take him through the same door and to the same area of your yard. This will help to train him to go to that door when he needs to go potty. I have also had luck in making the puppy sit before he goes through any door, anywhere. This teaches the puppy two important things: not to pull you through a door or run out of a door and secondly, to go sit down in front of a door when he wants to go outside. I prefer this to the bell on the door knob methods because some dogs learn to ring the bell incessantly just to go out and play, which can get annoying pretty fast.
If while training the puppy, he does have an accident inside, NEVER punish or scold the puppy unless you catch him in the act. Dogs don’t generalize and if you punish them after the fact they really don’t know what they are in trouble for. Other unacceptable behaviors that have been popular in the past are hitting the dog with a newspaper or rubbing his nose in the accident. These are not productive training methods and in my personal opinion would be considered abusive.
On a side note if you have a dog that has been potty trained for a time and all of a sudden starts having accidents inside, the first step is a vet visit. The dog could be suffering from a urinary tract or kidney infection and not be able to control their bodily functions.
The key to all of this is patience. Remember, a puppy is a baby animal. Losing your cool isn’t going to help the situation. If you keep your cool and stay consistent your new family member will be potty trained in no time.
~ Amanda, The Mastiff Blog‘
What tips worked for you when house training your puppy?