Your goal in potty training is to make your dog think that “going potty” outside is the best thing in the world, and for that unfortunately praise will not cut it.
FIRST THINGS FIRST, THE REINFORCER!!!
This is VERY IMPORTANT - You need to figure out the one treat, that your dog goes absolutely bonkers over. NO GUESSING.....If it’s been a while since you have tried foods with your dog, take some time to see what really gets them excited. You want to save that treat for potty training and potty training ONLY. We want this treat to be so special that your dog wants to hold it and go potty outside to earn the reward! Some foods we recommend are:
Chicken, Steak, ham - Cook it without seasoning
Lamb or Veal- These smell really gamy and dogs love that, cook it without seasoning these will be a winner for most dogs.
String Cheese - Great for cutting up into perfect little training treats, specifically Cheddar or Swiss cheese. These cheeses have stronger smells and remember it is all about the smell with dogs.
THE DO’S & DONT’S OF POTTY TRAINING YOUR PUPPY
Do pre cut all of your treats into pea sized portions and place them in a container near the door that you take your dog out to go potty. This is going to save you a lot of time and help prevent accidents because you won’t have to go searching or treats when your pup needs to go potty.
Do take them out the same door every-time, eventually your dog will associate going potty with that door and may start to go to it to alert you they have to go potty.
Do put your puppy/dog on leash for every potty break (No exceptions) this is because there may be times you need your dog to go potty on leash such as at the vet, on
vacation, during a car ride etc if you never teach your pup to go potty on leash they may not know how to when the time comes. Also this will help get your puppy used to wearing a harness and leash.
Do supervise your puppy/dog at all times when they are out until they are reliable with potty training- This means that when your puppy/dog is out of their crate you should be actively watching your them. You can also leash your dog or use baby gates to keep them in the same room with you. If you are not able to supervise your dog/puppy they should be in a confined area or in a crate to prevent them from going potty all over your house. If you do not limit your dogs access while potty training they will go whenever & wherever they feel like and it will make potty training much more difficult!
Do make sure that you are cleaning it up with an enzymatic cleaner that is meant for Urine which will eliminate the urine smell. If you do not clean it up with this type of cleaner your dog will still be able to smell their urine which will cause them to continue to have accidents in that spot. The two products that we recommend for this are Scouts Honor and Natures Miracle
Don't in any way correct your dog/puppy if you catch them going potty in the house! This means no yelling, clapping your hands, shaking a can of pennies, hitting, or rubbing their nose in it. Doing these things will only cause your dog to become fearful of you and going potty around you. Correcting or punishing your dog will do nothing to teach them where you would like them to go instead! If you catch your dog going potty, quietly & calmly redirect them to outside, if they finish going to the bathroom great, reward them and if not take them inside, crate them or keep them confined and try again in 10-15 mins.
Don't always take them right back inside Some dogs do not like going right back inside after potty breaks and can almost perceive it as a punishment, this can hinder potty training because they may begin to hold it outside to prevent having to go back inside. In order to prevent this instead of taking them right back in after they have gone potty try to play some fetch, tug of war or let them chase a flirt pole for 5 minutes (make sure to set a timer) and then when the timer is done take your dog/puppy back inside. This will help reinforce potty training as well as prevent your dog from learning that going potty means they have to go right back inside. (Typically you will notice that your dog will not go while outside, but then will go potty the moment you bring them back inside) If you are doing this with your dog 3-5 times a day, you will have a potty trained dog in 7 days.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARE ON A POTTY BREAK:
Whenever it is time for a potty break make sure your dog/puppy is on leash, grab a couple of those high value treats & put them in a pocket or treat pouch. Then you are gong to take them outside to their potty spot, stand still and be completely quiet. If you move/talk to much while your puppy is trying to go to the bathroom you will only distract them from doing their business. The moment your dog/puppy begins to go to the bathroom say the cue “go pee pee” one time, then as soon as your dog is done going potty click and feed your puppy/dog 3-5 pieces of that high value reward. If you do not have the clicker you can use a word marker such as “yes or good”. Saying “go pee pee” while your dog is going potty will help put it on cue, but DO NOT SAY IT MORE THAN ONCE!!!
HOW FREQUENTLY DO YOU TAKE YOUR PUPPY OUT?
Dogs and puppies in potty training should be going outside at least every two hours during the day. (Some puppies/dogs may need to go out more frequently especially smaller breeds). If you know the things that provoke “going” then you can prevent accidents by taking your dog outside shortly after any of these activities. These activities include...
Playing, Exercising, running around
Getting up from Resting (Sleeping)
After Car rides
Getting out of the crate from a long nap or resting
Your puppy may also display specific behaviors when they need to go potty such as
Abrupt change in activity, behavior, or play
Going to the door, possibly scratching or pawing it
Returning to a previously soiled area in the house
Licking their groin area or rear
If you notice your puppy or adult dog doing any of these immediately take them outside for a potty break.
GET YOUR PUPPY ON A FOOD/WATER SCHEDULE
Make sure that your dog is on a feeding schedule, do not leave food down all of the time for them to eat throughout the day. Instead offer your dog their meals at the same times every day, if after 15 minutes they have not eaten it then pick up the meal and try again at the next meal time. Leaving food down all of the time will make it much harder to potty train your dog because if they are eating all the time you will not be able to predict when your puppy/dog needs to go potty or get them on a schedule. For water you want to offer it to your dog multiple times per day, but you do not want to leave it out for them to engorge themselves or drink freely. Puppies especially do not know how to regulate how much water they should have, so if you let them drink and drink they will be going potty every 15 minutes and potty training will be near impossible. Instead offer your dog small amounts of water every couple of hours, this way you know when they have had water so that you can predict when they will have to go potty. Typically your dog/puppy is going to have to go potty 15-20 minutes after eating or drinking!
HOW TO HANDLE NIGHT TIME POTTY BREAKS
Hold all food and water an hour before bed time, also make sure that your puppy/dog has had a potty break before going to bed. Depending on the dog they may also need one or more potty breaks during the night as well, especially for puppies still learning to hold it. Overnight potty trips are a little different, during the day, you play with your puppy and make a big deal if they go potty outside. If you do that at night, your puppy will start waking you up just to have a party! Overnight potty trips should be strictly business! Take them directly to their potty area, give them a couple of minutes to go. When they go potty calmly & quietly say yes, give them their treats and take them back to bed/crate.
CONSISTENCY IS KEY WHEN POTTY TRAINING
My last piece of advice is to be consistent, if you are consistent you can have your dog/puppy completely potty trained in as little as 3 weeks.