Beginner Potty Training
Learn to train your dog where to go potty, and where NOT to go!
Potty training is actually very simple! Your biggest goal is to make sure your puppy (or adult dog!) has access to grass when they need to go potty (either #1 or #2!). After that, they take care of it themselves! And all you need to do is let them know they did the right thing (treats and praise of course!) So how do you make sure they’re outside when they need to be, and don’t potty inside??
The first thing to know about potty training is that short periods of crate-time are absolutely necessary. So you should make sure that your dog loves spending time in the crate by following the CRATE TRAINING lesson. After this, potty training is really just a matter of having a solid schedule and using stinky delicious treats to make sure your puppy knows they’re pottying in the right place!
The first thing to decide on is how long your dog can already go before needing to pee. Usually with puppies it's safe to start with every 2 hours. This is A LOT of pee breaks, but don't worry, we'll stretch that out very quickly! When your dog has just peed, you can start the schedule from the beginning. Here are the steps you'll need to follow:
The timer starts from the last time your puppy peed. Make sure they get an awesome treat and praise because you want them to know peeing outside is a very good thing!
If your puppy has just peed, they likely won’t go potty in the house since their bladder is empty. Let them play inside for a while! If you’re using a 2 hour schedule, then 1/2 to 3/4 of that time (1 to 1.5 hours) is good for them to stay loose (or in a play pen).
For some dogs, teething and other destructive behaviors may still be a problem, so an exercise pen like these will be a good management option for when you can’t watch them all the time.
A your puppy gets closer to needing to potty, you’ll need to pout them somewhere where they won’t want to pee. So for the next 30 minutes to one hour, they should go in the crate where they will hold it until they can go outside.
Your biggest goal with potty training is to make sure your puppy or adult dog gets reinforced for pottying outside. We want to avoid punishment as much as possible with potty training, so when they’re learning to potty, we need to keep them in the crate whenever they’re at risk for going potty. Dogs don’t like pottying in their own crate, so this will help them hold it until they go outside again.
For example, if your dog went out to potty at their scheduled time, but didn’t do anything, they need to go back in the crate for a bit because they’re probably going to potty in the house if they are able to run around freely.
Take your puppy outside and walk around with them to find the right spot to go potty. Give lots of praise and treats when they do it, and start the time over again!
When your new dog or puppy is just starting off with potty training, they need to be super consistent with being able to go outside. So everyone in the house needs to know what’s going on when it comes to the schedule! It doesn’t matter how you do it – signup sheet at the door, group chat on your phone, or just plain telling someone when to walk the puppy – but they need to have a consistent schedule to learn how to potty!
Potty training takes time, and it will be a while before your puppy can hold it in for as long as you can! We recommended starting with a schedule that repeats every 2 hours. You should be able to expect from your dog:
However, this is just an estimate! Every dog is unique, so you may want to start at more time than 2 hours, and may be able to progress faster.
A written schedule like this one can help you stay on track with your dogs daily pottying.
WeeWee pads are useful if you have very specific reasons to need to use them. Trainers usually don’t recommend them unless you are going to be out of the home working for long hours. This is because they can be a bit confusing to your dog about whether they should be going potty inside or outside.
Behavior modification, for rude behaviors or fears, takes time and effort. Sometimes you don’t have the time to do training, so you should use management techniques and tools to remove your dog from difficult situations. This way they can’t repeat the bad behaviors and lose the good progress you’ve been making with training.
For example, if you want to have friends over, take the time to make sure your dog is rewarded for sitting politely, but if you don’t have the time to do that training, put your dog away as people arrive so they aren’t encouraged to jump up.
Weewee pads are a good MANAGEMENT tool if you need to leave your puppy or dog for a long time and they’re not 100% potty trained yet.
Weewee pads come in different sizes, smells, and thicknesses. You may also want to purchase a frame for the weewee pads, as some puppies like to tear the pads apart as a game! There are also options for larger pads and using an exercise pen for your pup while you’re away for long periods.
Most forms of punishment in training are not very effective, and potty training no different. Punishment can be used sometimes, but you can only scold your dog if you catch them in the act and then must take them out immediately to finish outside. If you find a poop or pee in the house, you cannot punish them because they will have forgotten about it by then, and won’t understand why they are being punished.
Adults dogs will usually poop 15-30 minutes after they have a good sized meal. And puppies will usually poop 10-20 minutes after a good sized meal. So if your dog needs to learn to do #2 on time as well, just try to feed them in the crate before they go outside and they should be able to do both #1 and #2 at the same time.