Potty training dog

potty training your puppy

For any pet owner, potty training can be a nerve-racking experience. But with proper planning — and a lot of patience — Fido will learn that when it's time to potty, head for the great outdoors.

Your new puppy looks at you with those adoring brown eyes, and then all of a sudden squats in front of you and does his business. We've all been there. It may seem as though your puppy will never be house-trained, but rest assured, with a plan in place, your puppy will be trained in no time.

Keep a watchful eye

Many homeowners fail at potty training their puppies because they don't keep a constant eye on them, allowing them to wander off and have an accident in the house without their owner ever knowing.

Attempting to keep an eye on a new puppy can be a challenge, so try crating the puppy when you're leaving the house or taking a shower, for example.

Create a routine

Start early and get into a regular routine, says Dr. Jason Nicholas of The Preventive Vet. This is especially important after meal times and around nap and bedtime.

"Especially when they are very young, it's important to take your pup out to their toileting area shortly after each meal," he said. "The exact time following the meal is tough to say, but I always recommend starting out doing it five to 10 minutes after each meal, and then adjust the timing based on what your specific pup is doing."

Choose a particular area of your yard as well where you want your puppy to visit, taking him there each time you take him out.

"This consistency can really help them get it," Nicholas said. "And you can also reinforce this by keeping an airtight and waterproof container of your pup's training treats out in the yard near their toileting area."

That way, you'll never have to worry about grabbing the treats on your way out the door.

Use positive reinforcement — and consequences

Just like infants and toddlers, puppies learn off the concepts of reward and consequence. So reward your puppy with praise and even a treat after he's done with his business.

If your puppy does have an accident, apply consequences without delay. However, never hit your puppy or dog or give physical corrections. Instead, use a firm "no."

Nicholas also suggests hanging a bell on the handle of the door you use to take him outside.

"Jiggle that bell each time before you take them out, and show them as you do it and praise them," he said. "They will learn to ring the bell and that doing so is associated with going out to potty, and it will have been positively reinforced — both by praise and treats, and by getting to relieve themselves."

More potty-training articles

House training your new dog
Dog training tips every dog owner needs to know
New puppy: Including the kids in puppy training

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