15 Tips To Potty Train Your Dog

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Potty training your new pooch can certainly prove to be a difficult task.

However, it’s one of the most important things you must teach your dog and the faster you do it, the happier you’ll both be. Sometimes a trainer has more difficulty than another because he or she might not be potty training correctly.

There are plenty of tips to help you, and quite simply some tips work better than others. Here are our 15 best tips that will help you potty train your dog in no time.

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1. ALWAYS Use Treats

Dogs learn by positive reinforcement and not negative. As soon as he picks his spot outside, give him the treat. Don’t wait until you’re back in the house because he won’t connect to what he did to deserve the treat.

Every single time he uses the bathroom in the right place, give him a treat. Treats are a very good way to convey a message to your dog – a message of approval, that is. Never use treats to bait a dog into doing something or to stop him from doing something he shouldn’t be doing. That way you’ll end up with a dog that basically blackmails you in order to get some of those sweet, tasty treats.

When it comes to potty training, make sure to stay consistent and reward your dog with a treat every time he does his business where he’s supposed to, at least for several weeks, until he’s well trained and has no more “accidents” in the house.
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2. NEVER Rub His Nose In It

Many dog owners believe that rubbing their dog’s nose in their “accident” will teach them something, but this is not the case. In fact, it will just frighten and confuse them and many even consider it as brutality.

Rubbing your dog’s nose in their poop is harsh and humiliating and your dog will not appreciate it. Humiliating and scaring your dog is not a good base for a lasting, respectful relationship between a dog and his owner.

Furthermore, there is really no evidence out there that this method is successful. Having poop all over your place is gross and revolting for humans, but as we all know, dogs are not so squeamish when it comes to their own (or someone else’s) excrement.

So, instead of unnecessarily confusing and harassing your dog by pressing his nose in poop, consider some other, more effective, potty-training trick, preferably something that involves positive reinforcement rather that punishment.

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3. Give Him Plenty Of Chances To Go Outside

If your dog is still a puppy, you’ll need to take him outside at least once an hour, as you don’t want to give him the opportunity to relieve himself inside.

This will not only prevent the accidents in the house, but it will also give your dog a chance to discover the connection between relieving himself and being outside, completed with a positive reinforcement coming from you.

Young puppies tend to pee and poop more often that older dogs, because they still haven’t learned to hold it in. Not just that – they don’t know yet that there is a reason they should hold it. So they need to learn and while they are learning they need to go outside more often.

Of course, it is impossible to take the dog out once every single hour. You are certainly not going to do that during the night either. But try and spend as much time with your dog as you can during this period, and give him enough chance to go out and do his business.

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4. Feed And Hydrate Your Dog On A Schedule

Dogs that are not potty trained shouldn’t have complete access to their food and water because chances are you won’t know when they need to use the bathroom. The general rule is to feed your dog and then immediately take him outside to go potty.

Many dogs, especially the younger ones, have their bowel movement or they urinate right after they eat or drink water. This is a simple physiological mechanism, one that you can certainly take advantage of during the potty-training period. If you expect your dog to poop after meals, then it will be easier for you to predict when it will happen and you will take the dog out to do it.

Furthermore, feeding and hydrating your dog on a schedule teaches the dog that there is an order of things that should be respected by everyone, both him and you, and that order will eventually include peeing and pooping.

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5. Take Him Outside Every Time He Barks

He will eventually learn that when he needs to potty, he needs to bark. Although, be aware that he can learn to manipulate you this way as well so be cautious when teaching him this connotation.

A puppy doesn’t know yet how to let you know he needs to go outside. So you have to do it reverse way – pick a signal, such as barking, and attach a meaning to it, in this case, the need to go outside. After a while, your dog will connect the dots and realize that every time he barks, he goes outside.

Of course, this may backfire if you are not careful, especially if you have a dog that just loves spending time outside, regardless of potty. However, if you do this right, you’ll have a perfect mechanism of signals between you and your dog. Just keep in mind that by barking dogs communicate other things too, not just the need to potty.

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6. Smaller Dogs Need To Go Out More Often

Smaller dogs have smaller bladders, so they may need to go out more frequently than larger breeds.

This is something you should definitely keep in mind when starting to potty-train your dog. Don’t expect your Maltese or your Chihuahua to have the same potty habits as your neighbour’s Labrador. You shouldn’t compare dogs like that at all, because you’d just be setting yourself for disappointment, but when it comes to going out to pee and poop, this is particularly true.

The logic behind this tip is simple – small dog equals small bladder equals more frequent walks outside. And it’s not just the bladder – smaller breeds digest food faster and have more frequent bowel movements.

So, of you are a proud owner of a mini poodle or a pug, remember to be more patient with him and make more time for walks, and more frequent ones, too.

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7. Don’t Let Him Run In The House

In order to ensure that your dog is not finding a sneaky place to potty in the house, keep him in a small, confined area in the beginning where you can keep an eye on him.

This rule only applies for that tricky first period of your time together, when your dog has not yet been completely potty-trained. You certainly don’t want to restrain you dog or limit his movements in the house because dogs are creatures that love to roam and explore and that get very frustrated when that liberty is taken from them.

Still, in the beginning, limit his walkabouts around the house to one or two rooms where you can easily control where he is going and what he is doing. A dog that secretly goes potty somewhere in the house will certainly be much harder to potty-train, not to mention the hygiene concerns for you and your family.

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8. Praises, Praises, Praises

Dogs want to please their owners. Every time he does the right thing, praise him. Show him that you’re so excited and he’ll continually want to please you.

This is truly a golden rule, one that applies to every trick or command you want to teach your dog. When it comes to potty training, it is particularly important.

Dogs do best with positive reinforcement. Every experienced dog trainer will tell you that a praise will open thousand times more doors than a punishment, and punishments often backfire.

It’s quite simple. Every time your dog pees on the spot where he’s supposed to, praise him. Tell him he’s a good boy or a good girl and that he’s doing a good job. The more pleased and excited you appear to the dog, the more willing he will be do it right again.

This simple rule will get you a long way with potty-training. 477999599

 

9. NO FOOD OR DRINK BEFORE BEDTIME

It makes perfect sense – if you don’t want your dog to pee inside the house while you’re sleeping, don’t let him drink a lot of water in the evening, before bedtime. This may seem like a cruel rule, but it’s not like you’ll be depriving your dog of essential things like water and food. Just adjust the time of feeding and remove the water bowl an hour or two before bedtime.

If the dog has been playing all evening, by all means, keep the water. But make sure to give the dog the chance to go out and pee.

Most puppies can sleep for seven hours without having to pee. If the dog does wake you in the middle of the night, try to stay calm and quiet, so he doesn’t get the wrong message and get all worked up and playful. Take him out quietly and let him do his business and then go straight to bed. This will prevent night time walks from becoming a habit.

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10. WATCH THE PUPPY CLOSELY

You need to learn to read the signs your puppy gives when he needs to pee or poop. In order to do so, whenever you are not actively playing or training with him, keep him on an extra-long leash tied to a piece of furniture.

This may seem strange but it will confine the dog to a certain area and keep him in your sights so you can react at the first sign of his need to eliminate.

The signs usually include squealing, barking, scratching on the door, sniffing around the door, circling, squatting and restlessness. As soon as you pick up on one of those signs, take the dog out to do his business.

Of course, as soon as he eliminates, remember to reward him with a treat or with praises, in order to cement the message you are trying to convey – that the house is not to be used as the bathroom and that potty belongs outside. 119821482

 

11. PICK A “BATHROOM” SPOT

This rule applies for people who live in a house with a yard or in an apartment building with a green space where dogs are allowed. Picking a particular spot in your yard is important, especially in the beginning, because it will be easier for the puppy to understand that there is one place where it is okay to pee or poop then to try to figure out the difference between “inside” and “outside.”

Also, it will be more convenient for you to pick up the litter from just one spot than to have to cruise your yard with a poop baggie.

When you pick a spot that is suitable for the purpose, take your dog to it on a leash and wait for him to eliminate, and then reward him with treats or praises. Only after he’s done, you can go for a longer walk or play for a while.

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12. BE CONSISTENT

Being consistent is vital with just about anything that you want to teach your dog, and it is particularly important for potty training. If you say or do one thing today and a different thing tomorrow, your dog will become confused as to what exactly is the right thing to do.

If you picked one bathroom spot, stick to it. If you are paper-training your dog, don’t put papers all over the house – pick one or two spots. If you are using treats when your dog eliminates outside where he is supposed to, use them every time, not just occasionally. The same goes for praises and reprimands. And don’t skip his walks – give him the chance to do the right thing.

Once your puppy has been thoroughly and properly potty trained, you can be more relaxed and eventually stop with your training steps and routine. But keep training him and be consistent with the rules and rewards until he stops making mistakes altogether.

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13. DON’T LOSE YOUR TEMPER

If you decide to get a dog, accept all that comes with owning a dog. It’s simple as that. You can’t expect a puppy to understand what he’s supposed to do without you teaching him, and you can’t expect him to learn in just one day. You need to accept the responsibility that comes with owning a dog and being patient with his mistakes is a big part of it.

You should never lose your temper around your dog, because it sends a negative and potentially harmful signal. Your dog may become afraid of you, which may lead to him not being able to eliminate in front of you, which, in turn, will lead to more mistakes in his potty habits. Worse, he may become defensive and even aggressive with you, and then you’ll have a real problem.

Work together with your dog, be patient and don’t punish him if he doesn’t get it right as quickly as you want him to.

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14. NO PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT

This is another rule that applies to pretty much everything you are trying to teach your dog and to your entire relationship with him in general. Physical punishment is not only cruel and inhumane, it is also ineffective and counter-productive.

When it comes to potty training, physical punishment, such as hitting the dog with the newspaper, the leash or a stick, will prolong the training process and potentially create serious psychological problems for your dog.

If you hit a dog for peeing or pooping in the wrong place, he will associate the punishment with the physiological need he was trying to meet. As a result, he may have difficulties going potty whenever you are near. The dog may become confused as to what he is supposed to do and even if he was almost through with potty training may start soiling the house all over again.

Furthermore, dogs that are physically punished are more likely to become aggressive and dangerous, not just towards you but for the others as well.

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15. ACCEPT THE MISTAKES

Don’t expect your puppy to get it all right in a day, a week or even in a few weeks. During the potty training process, there will be a lot of mistakes. The success of the training depends largely on how you will deal with those mistakes.

For instance, if your dog goes potty inside the house – let him know he’s not supposed to do that there, then clean the soiled surface thoroughly, use a scent-covering product and throw away the rag you used for cleaning. And continue with the training as if nothing happened.

Don’t punish the dog, don’t rub his nose in his poop, don’t scold him hours after he’s made the mistake – he will not know what you are punishing him for.

If you catch the dog doing it inside the house, raise your voice, tell him “no” and try to take him out as quick as you can, but don’t wait with your reaction – do it immediately or don’t do it at all.

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