While training up at my Smyrna location yesterday I was approached by an individual seeking advice about potty training. They said it took them 5-7 months to potty train their last puppy! I understand this is not the norm but potty training is a headache for many. Being I have had people tell me they returned a dog due to not being able to potty train them, it is clearly an issue that many face.
Question: What is the fastest way to potty train my dog?
Answer: Consistency, repetition, and diligence, with a healthy dose of patience! Here are our favorite, tried and true, tips for success:
-Proper crate training involves a crate that is only large enough for him/her to lay down in. Most larger crates come with a divider that can be moved as your dog grows, or you can buy progressively larger crates (if you have that kind of money). Unless they are sick or not taken out enough, dogs and puppies will generally not potty where they have to lay down (unless left in there for a exorbitant amount of time). If they have room to potty on one side of the crate and lay on the other, they will do just that. Think crating is mean, please read our other blog: 4 Reasons to Crate Train
-Take the puppy outside as consistently as your schedule allows (every 2 hours, every 3 hours, the younger the more often). This teaches them that they are going to have the opportunity to go outside on a consistent basis. Gradually increasing the interval from every 2 hours, to every 3 hours, etc will gradually increase the amount of time your pup can hold his/her bladder. Note: If you take your pup out and they do not go to the bathroom when you come back in put them directly back in the crate for 10-20 minutes and take them back out, repeat as needed.
-Even when you are home the pup should be in the crate unless you are supervising him/her 100% of the time. This means you are standing with, sitting with, or playing with him/her actively. The reason being is “when” they squat to go pee you can swoop them up and immediately carry them out to the yard to show the proper place you want them to do this activity. Note: Screaming at them is not needed during this step (it will just scare them), simply say nothing or tell them OFF once as you are picking them up to take them OUTSIDE (never crate for bad behavior). Note: You only have a little over 2 seconds to catch the pup in the act, if it is later than that hit “yourself” with a paper and move on.
-Give lots of positive reinforcement every time they potty outside in the designated area, like an excited “GOOD POTTY, GOOD POTTY!” and/or some high-value treats. Note: This is likely the biggest step I see missed. People with fenced yards don’t even go out with the young dogs, while potty training your pups need to see you are happy when they go in the grass!!
-Never punish your puppy after the fact – it is your fault for not catching them in the act! We don’t punish a very young child when he poops in his diaper, so we wouldn’t punish a very young puppy for doing something natural that he doesn’t know is wrong.
-Feedings should also be on a consistent schedule. Young puppies should be fed 2-3 times a day (depending on age and adult size), if possible. Young dogs typically poop/pee immediately after they wake up and immediately after they eat/drink. In both cases, it’s a good idea to take the puppy outside before the accident happens. As puppies age they stop going immediately after eating, you can put them back in the kennel for 15-30 minutes after they eat, then take them straight outside.
As with everything dealing with dogs the key is being repetitive and consistent.
Off Leash K9 Training, Georgia offers a 1-hour puppy consultation lesson full of advice like this to get your life with your puppy off to a great start.