Taking months to house train your new puppy can be a draining and frustrating experience. You want to enjoy your puppy to the full and not have constant potty paranoia.
House training needn’t be a drawn out process. This post will give you all the tools and information om how to potty train a puppy fast and integrate them fully into your household routine.
How To Start Training Your Puppy to Potty Outside
Your puppy’s first memory of coming home should be a walk through the house and out to the backyard. Take your puppy to where you would like them ‘to go’ and wait there until your puppy eliminates before bringing them indoors.
Control of your puppy in the early days is key. Using a leash to guide your dog to the potty patch will ensure consistency.
A prompt or command should be introduced associated with the act, like ‘go potty’ or ‘wee wee’. Praise your youngster when they go, this cycle can be developed with reward and clicker training to enshrine the drill in your puppy’s psyche.
How To To Potty Train A Puppy Fast
Two words spring to mind when mastering potty training in a quick and efficient way – Consistency and Routine.
A routine feeding schedule and consistency in taking your puppy out will lead to rapid results.
You need to develop a sixth sense – a dog relieve radar – to enable you to spot when your dog is likely to need to potty, some subtle signs are listed below:
- Suddenly stopping playing or activity they are undertaking
- Scratching at the door
- Going to an area where they have previously messed
- General restlessness
To maximize success aside from taking your dog out when the signs above are displayed there are natural points during the day when your puppy is likely to want to relieve themselves. Typical ‘potty time’ are listed below:
- On waking
- Before bed
- Night Interval potty (young puppies)
- After Meals
- After sleep
- After play/training sessions
In summary, fast house training requires discipline on your part to teach your dog what you expect from them. As with most things the amount of effort expended correlates to the success achieved. It’s not easy but house training is worth nailing as early as possible to remove one concern off your daily dog care checklist.
The infographic below recaps the elements discussed:
House Training A Dog at Night
When your puppy is young with the greatest will in the world they will not be able to hold their bladder for extensive periods of time.
As a rule of thumb the maximum number of hours a puppy can go without needing to potty is their age in months + 1. At night your puppy may be able to hold on slightly longer but really there are a multitude of factors that can affect the frequency and timings of an individuals ‘needs’.
What can be done then? Well the unpalatable option and most effective is to let your puppy out during the night so that they can relieve themselves and return to bed for the remainder of the night.
This night time escapade should be a sober affair – no excited pleasantries or extended dialogue when you let your puppy out of its crate.
Take him or her to the potty place and wait for them to go, praise and return them to their bed with the minimum of fuss.
As your puppy matures then they will eventually manage to go through the night ‘dry’. There will no doubt be some accidents along the way. Under no circumstances should you scold your dog for these ‘mistakes’. Clean the crate, chalk it up as one less step to total house training.
Dogs do not want to soil where they sleep so if you do find yourself in a position where you are physically struggling to wake (I’m not here to judge) then a puppy pad in a larger crate (not ideal) or a potty area in a pen outside the crate (assuming your dog is happy in a ‘relatively’ open area at night) then that will give your puppy a chance to wee and defecate when they need to.
As your dog matures then their nightly routine will be a trip to potty before settling down to bed. I took the video below of Charlie’s night time routine when I tell him it’s bedtime – please excuse the less than stellar cinematography!
Potty Training When You Are Out Of The House
As discussed in the perfect puppy set up a long term confinement area such as a pen should be used if you are going to leave your puppy for any length of time. Simplistically this should contain a supply of water and also a potty area (pads or doggy WC) so that they are able to go.
On returning you should take your puppy out straight away.
Puppy Letting You Know When They Want To Go
Before long you will have a house trained dog who will actively seek to go outside when they feel they need to.
This period is when some people become complacent and your dog may have the odd setback.
Of the signs discussed earlier you are likely to see your dog go to the door when they want to go out. It is not always possible to eyeball your dog so the introduction of a signal such as bells on your back door can alert you when you need to open up.
If your dog is with you away from the back door bells you will find in time they will ‘tell’ you when its time. Our dog Charlie will come up and prod my leg with his nose or put his paws on my knee to say ‘please let me out’ – he will then follow me to the back door to go out into the garden.
A couple of training bell examples
To encourage your dog to use a bell you need to initially hit the bell whenever your dog is sat at the door waiting to go out. As your dog picks this up you can train them, through rewards, to hit the bell to gain access outside.
After they nail this initial step it is important that you make sure they go out to potty and reward them when they go rather than hitting the bell. Lots of dogs are smart and they will work out that they are getting rewarded for going outside, something most will love to do anyway, without necessarily going to potty.
If you don’t associate the reward with going to toilet you will be making regular trips to the back door never really knowing whether your dog needs to potty or if they just feel like going outside to play or investigate.
Below is a video showing how the initial association is made using clicker training.
Consistency and routine was the two word mantra for successful house training. If you have persisted, shown patience and taught your puppy well you will come out the other end triumphant. It may feel like a a drag but within no time you will be enjoying a more stress free time with your dog.
Those instances where you have to quickly clean up the carpet before your partner berates you for dereliction of duty when your puppy ruthlessly takes advantage of you snoozing in your chair to mark their territory will be over for ever – thank goodness for that carpet cleaner!
Author: Matt Short
Enthusiastic Poochon/Bichpoo/Bichonpoo (how many names) Owner. Husband, father and dog walker extraordinaire.