Puppy Toilet Training

Puppy Toilet Training

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How To Toilet Train A Puppy

Would you like to learn how to toilet train a puppy? Puppy toilet training doesn’t have to be difficult!  With careful management, supervision and routine, you can set your puppy up for toilet training success from the moment you bring them home.  Read on to learn more.

1.      Manage Your Puppy’s Environment

The first step is to carefully manage your puppy’s environment so that they are unable to toilet in areas that they shouldn’t.   Until your puppy is toilet trained, they should either be with you where you can supervise them 100% of the time, in a puppy-proof long-term confinement area such as a laundry or a play pen which has a toilet area, bed or crate, water and chew toys when you are unable to supervise them or in their outdoor toilet area which is close to the exit, under cover if possible and separated off from the rest of the yard with a playpen.  The outdoor toilet area should be big enough that they can pee at one end and poop at the other.  Until you can fully trust your puppy, close doors and use baby gates to prevent your puppy from accessing areas of your house and pick up rugs and mats as puppies often find these tempting to toilet on.  You may also decide to use a crate to assist your puppy with toilet training, however ensure you understand how to teach your puppy to love their crate before using it.

2.      Supervision

Toilet training mistakes often happen when we take our eye off our puppy, even if just for a brief moment so it’s important that you closely supervise your puppy.  If your puppy isn’t in their long-term confinement area or their toilet area, a great idea is to have them attached to you with a leash or relaxing beside you on a mat or bed so you know exactly where they are and what they are doing.  Learn to read the signs that your puppy is about to toilet – look for sniffing the ground, circling, inability to focus, irritability, moving away and squatting.  If you see any of these signs, quickly scoop your puppy up and take them to their outdoor toilet area.

3.      Routine

Puppies can generally hold their bladder for their age in months plus one, for example a two-month old puppy can hold their bladder for 2-3 hours, although this varies for each puppy.  Teach your puppy to hold their bladder through using a crate and provide plenty of opportunities for your puppy to toilet in their outdoor toilet area by taking them directly to the toilet area every hour on the hour, immediately after eating, drinking, sleeping and playing.  Quietly wait with your puppy in their outdoor toilet area until they toilet.  Each time they toilet and while they are toileting, add your verbal cue such as ‘Toilet’ or ‘Busy, busy’ so you can ask them toilet on cue when they have made the connection.

4.      Rewards

Immediately after your puppy has finished toileting in their outdoor toilet area, reward them with lots of verbal praise and 3-4 pieces of high value food, such as roast chicken or something else that they love and don’t often get.  Make a big deal out of it to let your puppy know how happy you are!

5.      Avoid Punishing Your Puppy

Avoid punishing your puppy for toilet training mistakes – this includes telling your puppy off or any other forms of verbal or physical punishment either in the moment or after the fact.  If you punish your puppy, they don’t learn that they shouldn’t toilet inside – instead, they learn not to toilet in front of you, which makes things difficult when you are waiting for them to toilet in the appropriate area. 

6.      Common Mistakes

If your puppy is toileting in areas they shouldn’t, tighten up on your management and supervision.  Ensure you are taking your puppy out to their outdoor toilet area often enough as puppies would much rather stay with us than go to their toilet spot alone!  Puppies often don’t completely empty their bladder when they toilet so avoid bringing them back inside without supervision as they will sometimes either toilet as soon as you put them onto the ground or move away to find a spot to toilet. 

If you would like some help toilet training your puppy then contact us for a private, in-home puppy consultation or join our comprehensive fun and informative Puppy Pre-School programme where we can help you resolve your toilet training issues and set your and your puppy up for success!