How Do I Potty Train My Dog?
Potty training their dog is one of the biggest priorities of most owners for obvious reasons – nobody wants to come home to find a wet or stinky patch on the floor! Nevertheless, if you’ve not potty trained a pup before, it can be difficult to know where to start. As with most other types of doggy training, teaching your canine companion to go to the toilet outside the house takes time and patience!
When can you potty train your dog?
There’s no right or wrong time to start potty training a dog, but experts recommend that most owners begin to toilet train their puppy when they are between 12 and 16 weeks. At this age, they should have enough control over their bladder and bowels to make it possible for them to hold them for several hours or more at a time.
What is the best way to potty train a dog?
Before you get started potty training your dog, it’s important to be aware that the size of your dog will play a role in how often they need to pee. The reason for this is that smaller dogs have smaller bladders. They also have higher metabolisms. Since they can’t hold as much, smaller dogs generally need to urinate more often than larger breeds. Typically, dogs can control their bladder for one hour, for every month of age – so a three-month-old puppy should be able to control their bladder for around three hours.
Like all other types of training, potty training relies on consistency. One of the best ways of ensuring that you do this is by creating a routine that you and your four-legged friend can stick to. Having this routine will teach your dog that there are set times of the day to eat, play and go to the toilet. Remember the age=bladder ratio when training, as leaving them too long between bathroom breaks is setting them up to fail.
Step 1 – pick a potty spot
Your doggo needs to know where they should be doing their business if it’s not inside the house. Pick an area where you’d prefer them to go and take them to it and use a specific phrase that they can then associate with this area.
Step 2 – reward the pees and poops
Take your dog outside to the toilet spot on a regular schedule based on their age (again, if your pup is four months old, take them out at least once every four hours) and give them some time and space. If they pee or poop in the spot, reward them with a treat once they are finished. If they don’t go, don’t make a fuss but bring them back inside without a reward. We recommend that you also take your pooch out to try and empty their bladder or bowels as soon as they wake up in the morning, straight after eating/drinking, and before they go to sleep at night. Also, remember to use the command word that you want them to associate with going to the toilet.
3 – try and encourage your dog to go potty when you ask them too
This takes a little more time and patience, but eventually, most owners can train their canine pal to ‘go’ on command – such as if you are going out and you’d like them to go to the toilet before you leave. Consistently using the same toilet command you chose above, such as ‘pee time’ or ‘wee wee’ when your dog starts to do their business means they will soon start to associate that word with that activity. You should be able to open the door to let them out and use that word, which will encourage them to ‘go’. Make sure to keep up the rewards to positively reinforce the behaviour!
It's a good idea to stock up on puppy pads before you start potty training. Accidents will happen, but puppy pads could save your flooring and minimise the mess. And remember; never scold a dog for failing to follow a command. Reward-based training is proven to be much more effective!
How long does it take to potty train a dog?
You are probably fed up with hearing this phrase, but every dog really IS unique and so exactly how long it takes a dog to become toilet trained may vary. It also depends on how consistently you train your furbaby, and how well they respond to this training. As a general rule, most dogs can consistently do their business where they are supposed to when they are between four and six months old. If your doggo takes a bit longer – don’t worry. However, if they can’t get the hang of it after about eight months, speak to your vet to make sure that there’s no medical reason for their lack of bladder and bowel control.