Potty Training Stinks!
But you can do it, with these three easy steps to potty training your dog!
For most dog owners, potty training is the “crappiest” part of owning a dog (I couldn’t help myself). But there are three things you can do now, to save your carpets and your sanity. I’ll explain them as simply as possible so tomorrow we can have an accident free day. Yay!
1. Put your dog on feeding schedule.
Unless a qualified veterinarian has told you otherwise, your puppy or dog does not need to have access to food and/or water ALL day. Just like we probably shouldn’t be snacking all day, your pup shouldn’t either. Putting your dog on a feeding schedule will accomplish two main things:
A. It brings more routine to your dog’s life, which he/she will thrive on!
B. It allows us to monitor what goes in, so we can monitor what goes out!
I am a fan of feeding two times a day. Three times seems to complicate things.
Set an hour block in the morning and an hour block at night when you will feed your dog. Stick to this time as much as possible. And remember, if you do decide to give treats or water during other times of the day, be ready for those to come out the other end! That means you and Fido will need to be taking a trip outside shortly!
2. Don’t give your dog all day to eat.
Give your dog five minutes to eat during each feeding. If he finishes during that time, praise him and immediately take him outside to do his business. If he doesn’t finish, pick up the bowl, wait five minutes. During this time you should keep your dog under strict supervision. Keeping him in a crate is preferred. After five minutes, set the food back down.
If he finishes his food within five minutes this time, praise him and head outside! If he doesn’t, pick up the food after the five-minute period, wait a few minutes and then take him outside. He has lost his chance for breakfast and will have to now wait for dinner. Don’t put any food he didn’t eat from the morning in to the dinner feeding.
Repeat this process and he will learn only after a few days that he only has a five-minute window to eat. What we want to communicate is that if you finish your food we get to go outside and have fun! If you don’t, then you will have to wait until the next feeding time to fill your belly.
3. Be clear with what you do with him outside.
Once you are outside, let your pooch smell, walk around, and do "his thing." Just make sure you are taking him to the same space every time. We want to be consistent. We want to communicate to him that this area is where you do your business. Even if you have a fenced in backyard, put your dog on a leash, take him to the designated “potty spot” and let him start his business.
When your dog starts to “take the position,” be quiet. Don’t bother him. As soon as he is finished, then start the praise, pet him, and give him some treats! Really make it a big deal. If the space permits, take your dog off the leash and play with him! We want to let him know that going to the bathroom out here is way more fun than going to bathroom inside!
Some dogs will need to move around a bit before they will go to the bathroom. So experiment with doing some short jogs with your pup on a leash before heading over to the “potty area.”
Be patient and be consistent. All dogs are different and they all learn at their own pace. For dogs just learning make sure you keep and eye on them at all times and have them spend a lot of time in their crate. And remember, make everything you do with your dog fun!