How We Potty Trained Our Puppy in One MonthMarch 10, 2022
As I mentioned in this post last week, we got a Lab puppy a few months ago. We had so much success with house training / potty training the puppy that I wanted to share some of our tips and tricks. After being with our dog for around four weeks, he was fully house trained. He knew exactly where he had to go when he needed to use the bathroom and it seemed like he really didn’t want to eliminate in the house anymore. I fully believe that with the right consistency and dedication, it’s totally possible to get a puppy potty trained within a month. Let’s get to all the details!
When Should You Start Potty Training a Puppy
Is there such a thing as it’s too early to start potty training a puppy? Nope! Basically, assuming you received your puppy around 8 weeks of age or older (no reputable breeder would send a puppy home before 7-8 weeks of age,) you can get started right awaysetting up good potty training habits for your little pup.
How to Teach Puppy to Go Potty Outdoors
So here’s the million dollar question: how do you communicate to the little pup that the outdoors (the backyard, in our case) is where we want him to go to the bathroom? Simple! It’s two steps: giving him the opportunity to be successful and positive reinforcement.
- Giving him the opportunity to be successful: This simply means bringing him outdoors A LOT – and I mean A LOT when he is a young puppy. When we first got Oliver, we brought him outside probably at least once per hour. We are lucky that we had a private backyard and we both worked from home at the time, so this was feasible. However, if bringing the dog outside is not as convenient, the overall process will take longer. By bringing the dog outside practically all the time, we are increasing the chances that when we normally has to go to the bathroom, he is outside already. Other times that dogs will usually need to go to the bathroom include: after naps, after meals, and after playtime. So make sure to always go out after those events.
- Positive reinforcement: So let’s say the dog goes to the bathroom outside. Now what? How do we communicate to the dog that we are happy that he eliminated in the yard? With treats and pets and “good boy”s. Yes, it feels a bit odd to be praising a successful potty trip, but dogs can sense body language and more. So give a treat, reward the dog and pet profusely. As the dog starts to go to the bathroom outside more and more often, you can reduce – and eventually eliminate – the positive reinforcement.
How to Handle Puppy House Training Accidents
So accidents are a common part of the puppy potty training experience. No, it doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong if your puppy has the occasional accident. Accidents are common when you are out of the house for a long time or when you are distracted with work and missing your dog’s cues. The best thing to do if you come across an accident is based on whether the accident is already done or whether it is … um.. ongoing:
- Accident already happened: Simply clean it up. Scolding the puppy will usually not have an effect. The dog will not know what he did wrong, especially if the accident has already happened.
- Accident is actively happening: A firm “no” is appropriate once you see the dog in the act. Quickly pick up the dog and bring him outside to finish. Once he finishes outside, reward and praise him for finishing outside.
When Are You Done Potty Training a Puppy
It can be hard to define exactly when you are done potty training your puppy. We know some puppy parents who have older puppies and are still dealing with occasional potty accidents. For us, we felt like we were done with potty training once we couldn’t really remember when the last accident was. It took about a month from consistently applying these potty training principles until we felt like we were basically done with the house training phase.
How to Reinforce Good Potty Training Behaviors for the Future
While you may feel like you are done with the active phase of potty training, don’t forget to continue to be a responsible puppy parent. Give your pup nutritious food, offer plenty of exercise opportunities (this is key for more active breeds,) and shower your pup with plenty of affection. Don’t forget two walks per day (minimum!) and also continue to offer to take dog out to the backyard after naps, after meals and after playtime.
Did I miss any key potty training tips? Let me know in the comments!