Housetraining (Potty Training) is one of the first things you would like to teach your furry friend. It isn’t as difficult as it may seem for first time dog owners. Encouraging correct behavior, consistency and patience is all you need.
When should you start?
Housetraining should ideally start when when your puppy is between 12 and 16 weeks of age. At this age, she has sufficient control over her bowel movements and bladder to start housetraining. The usual time required by a puppy for housetraining is 4-6 months.
What should you do?
Keep surroundings clean
In their natural surroundings, puppies are taught where not to poop by their mothers. Their resting place is cleaned up immediately by their mothers in case they mess it up. In the absence of that smell, a puppy does not correlate her resting area with relieving herself. Same thing needs to be replicated by us at our home. Any place where puppy has had an accident (peed or pooped), should be cleaned promptly and thoroughly. This will prevent your puppy from associating any place within your home with relieving herself.
Make feeding and relieving schedule
Make a schedule for feeding your puppy and avoid giving food between meals. Puppies usually relieve themselves after waking up, eating and playing. So, take her out as soon as she wakes up in the morning, after each meal and after a playing session. Take her to the same spot each time so that she will start associating the smell at that spot with relieving.
Puppies are required to be taken out every few hours for relieving, till they sleep in night. The actual time duration will vary for each dog. A younger puppy may need to be taken out every hour whereas an older puppy may need to be taken out every 12 hours. Determine the time duration based on your puppy’s habit of relieving. If you notice that your puppy relieves herself in the house every hour than take her out every hour. On the other hand, if you notice that your puppy can control her bladder for 6 hours, then take her out once every 6 hours. Make sure to praise your puppy whenever she relieves herself outside, after she has done her business.
If it is not possible for you to carry your puppy outside every time she needs to, create a space within your home where she can relieve herself. This may be an unused washroom or one corner of a rarely used balcony. You may use puppy pads for this. If you use puppy pads, move the puppy pads gradually towards the door she will use later to go out. This way she will be able to associate the door with relieving.
Stop her, if you notice it
If you find your puppy doing her business in front of you or about to do her business (say, in the act of squatting), startle her by a loud clap. This will stop her from relieving for a few moments. Immediately pick her up or guide her to the appropriate spot for relieving herself.
Signs to look for
The most common signs a puppy makes when she wants to relieve are whining, barking, squatting, restlessness, circling or scratching the door.
Bear in mind that accidents will happen (You are dealing with a puppy after all!). Be patient and continue with the training. Your puppy will learn soon.