Puppy Potty Training
By Courtney D. Pellerin, DVM
So, you just brought home your brand new puppy! You’re so excited. You’ve got all the toys, treats and supplies you need and all of a sudden….you smell something. Your little new fluffy bundle of joy is squatting on your favorite rug leaving a bright yellow stain.
Here’s some tips to avoid that bummer and potty train your new best friend!
- Start early so your pup can get the hang of it as soon as possible in their new home. As a guideline, puppies can only hold their bladder for about 1 hour per each month of age, up to about 10 hours maximum.
- When starting training, eyes on the puppy as much as possible. Should they attempt to start eliminating in the house, you can immediately redirect to the proper area (outside, pad, etc). Consistently reinforcing the correct area will help your puppy learn where you expect them to go. It can also help them signal you when they need to be let out by starting to move toward the designed elimination area.
- Start by taking your puppy out once every hour and give them 3-5 minutes to sniff around. You can give a verbal “potty” command consistently as well.
- When your puppy eliminates outside, enthusiastically reward them with high verbal praise and training treats.
- Mistakes will happen, the goal is to continue to minimize their occurrence. Do not punish your puppy for accidents. It can make them scared to eliminate in front of you and could lead to them trying to eliminate in corners or under beds. Positive reinforcement will always be more beneficial and effective than punishment.
- If you have to be away from the home during the training period, it may be beneficial to confine your puppy to a crate or small gated area to ensure they do not eliminate all over the house. The crate/space should ideally only be large enough for them to sit, stand, and turn around. If there is too much additional space, they can learn to eliminate in one corner and relax comfortably away from it.