If you’re wondering how to succeed when house training a puppy, we’re here to help. Having gone through our fair share of it in the tails.com office, here are our top tips for potty training a puppy.
When does toilet training begin?
Hopefully your breeder will have already made a start on puppy toilet training. Your involvement begins as soon as you take your puppy home. It’s a great idea to ask how they’ve managed so far, and what method they’re using. Following their lead with what your pup is used to already is the first step to success.
How long will house training take?
It’s difficult to give an exact time frame for successful toilet training. You’ll see quicker results when you:
- match what the breeder’s been doing
- are consistent
- are attentive to your puppy’s behaviour and needs
- have time at home to manage them
- get them outside on a regular basis
Most puppies can be house trained within 2-3 weeks so they never wee or poop indoors again.
So how do I get started?
The first thing to realise is that dog toilet training has a lot to do with the floor or ground surface. Most breeders start puppy training in an indoor pen with newspaper or absorbent puppy pads covering the floor.
Step 1: Confinement
It’s useful to have your pup in a pen or enclosure, for when you have to leave them unsupervised or simply can’t be sure you’ll be nearby when they make a move to toilet. Covering the floor of the entire enclosure (or room if you don’t have a pen) with newspaper or puppy pads will mean pup can only toilet on that surface.
Step 2: Reward & introduce a toilet command
Praise and reward your puppy each time they go on the paper or pads. You can add a distinctive command word to build positive associations with toileting in the right place. “Toilet” is good as it’s not likely to be confused with any other words. When you see your pup about to wee or poop, say the word and give plenty of praise or a treat afterwards.
Step 3: Reduce the toilet zone
After a couple of days, reduce the area of floor that is covered gradually by taking away a little at a time. Puppies don’t like splashing when they toilet so you should find they’ll naturally head for the absorbent surface they’re used to, seeking out the paper or pads each time.
Step 4: Migrate the toilet zone
Once they’re faithful to that surface, gradually move the toilet zone towards the door you want them to use when requesting a toilet break outdoors. You should aim to have your puppy visiting a small area of newspaper or puppy pads next to the door every time they need to toilet.
Step 5: Transfer toilet zone outdoors
After this it should be easier for you to know when they need to go, and with lots of positivity and praise lead them outdoors to go there. If you’ve got gravel or grass nearby outside that helps too as they’re absorbent too.
Observe for signs and bring pup outdoors each and every time you see they need to toilet. That’s the tricky and time consuming bit. Using the toileting command when they need to go is a great way to transition them from paper or pads indoors to going outdoors. Plenty of praise and repetition of this process will mean you’ve toilet trained your puppy in no time.