There are many different ways to potty train your dog. The most important thing is to choose the one you want to use and then stick with it through thick and thin. We know it can be frustrating at times so we’ve put together a short guide with some helpful tips to get you started.
The Secret to Successful Potty Training
Potty training a dog effectively will require a few tools:
- A lot of enzyme spray
- A lot of treats
- Even more patience
- A puppy
There are other tools you might consider such as a clicker for clicker training but these are the absolute essentials that you need no matter which method you are using.
The enzyme spray is key. When your puppy makes a mess in the house, you need a spray that will not only clean out the stain, it has to remove the odor completely so that your dog can’t smell it. If your dog can still smell the odor, they will start to think that’s their potty place.
Follow these tips for potty training:
- Make sure there is always someone with your dog while he is being potty trained. This makes it easier to stick to a consistent enough schedule while your dog is still learning how to control his bladder.
- Use positive reinforcement. Rewarding the good behavior will motivate your dog to keep doing that behavior. Give him a treat every time he goes outside where he is supposed to. And always do it immediately after he does it.
- Stick to a feeding schedule. Give your dog food and water at the same times each day. This will make his bowel movements more predictable.
- Regulate water, too. During potty training, don’t leave water out for him to drink when he wants. Give him plenty of water when he eats but otherwise, keep it away so that you will be better able to predict when he needs to go.
- Take him out often. Take him outside every 30 minutes to an hour starting first thing in the morning. He needs as many chances to go outside (and as few chances to go inside) as possible while he learns.
- Take him to the same spot. Dogs instinctively like to pick one place that they always go to the bathroom and they recognize this by odor. Work with his instincts by always taking him to the same part of the yard.
- Try to catch him in the act. Keep an eye on your dog as much as possible and if you notice him starting to go inside, say no firmly and take him outside. This is more than enough to correct the behavior. And if you find a mess but you didn’t catch him in the act, just clean it up promptly (using enzyme spray) and let it go.
Potty Training – What Not to Do
Now that you have the basics of what you need to do to properly potty train your dog, you should take note of a few mistakes that many owners make during potty training:
- Don’t rub their nose in it. If you find a mess, just clean it up. Trying to scold them after the fact will be ineffective because they won’t understand why you’re doing it. It will just make them anxious and afraid. You can only use scolding when you catch them in the act, as described above.
- Don’t change methods. Once you choose a potty training method, stick with it. Your dog will not learn if it’s not extremely consistent. Many will make the mistake of trying some new method that promises to be more effective once they get frustrated. No method is going to work if you don’t stick with it long enough to let it work.
- Don’t expect overnight results. Potty training takes months—usually between 4 to 6 months but some dogs are a little slower to learn. Be patient and be consistent. You will get results eventually, just not immediately.
Any method you choose can be effective as long as you are patient and consistent. So decide what makes the most sense for you and then stick with it. And in the meantime, practice all the zen relaxation techniques you know to bear through the frustrating moments of housebreaking your puppy.