How to Potty Train a Puppy

If you’re having trouble with potty training, then you probably should be using your crate more. This is for sure case if you keep finding pee or poo around the house. Any time we find puddles or poo piles after the fact that means the dog was given more freedom to roam than it was ready for. Here’s the Chill Out Dog potty training program we give our clients to 100% house break a puppy:

Set a regular feeding schedule - This makes the potty schedule more predictable.

Take away the water bowl after 7 PM - This will help your dog sleep though the night.  Your dog may wake you up on the first few nights to go out.  This is the only time you’ll let the dog out of it’s crate for making noise.

Designate a potty area outdoors -  If you take your dog to the same spot each time it’ll learn to associate the area with going “potty”. I suggest using a leash to take your dog out to keep them in the area you want them to use.

Have a potty command - While it may feel a bit silly, it helps to encourage the dog to do their business. We say to “go potty” here.

Know your dog’s bladder - On average dogs that are 8 to 12 weeks can only hold their pee for 2 hours, 12 to 16 weeks 3 hours, 16 to 20 weeks four hours. Basically, an hour per month.  This can vary by breed and size. Also, these maximum hold times only work while in the crate.  Out of the crate, frequent potty trips every 20 to 30 minutes help the pup get in the swing of things. As they get in the groove you can extend the break time to ever 1 – 2 hours, but never more than half their max hold time until they are 100% housebroken. Besides giving the dog regular breaks throughout the day, you’ll also want to start and end the day by going out to your designated potty spot.

Post Meal Poo - You’ll want to go out 10 minutes after meal time. Sometimes dogs are on a different rhythm, but this is normally when they are ready to go. If they don’t go within 5 minutes resume your normal potty break schedule.

Use your dog crate - When you can’t keep an eye on your dog use that crate, this is exactly what it’s for.  Remember this isn’t permanent, it’s so the dog can form a the right potty habits. Always go straight out to the designated area after any time in the crate. It’s helpful to keep the crate near the exit, so there’s less of a chance the dog has an accident on the way out.

Use a leash – When the dog is out of the crate l I suggest keeping them on a leash with you. Yes, even inside, this will allow you to be close by if an accident occurs. All missed accidents are missed opportunities, and one more time the dog has patterned going inside without feedback.

Interrupt accidents - When you see the dog having an accident say, “no” in a calm, yet firm voice (flat, low and just loud enough).  The goal here is to startle the dog a bit, and let it know that going inside not okay. Remember, they don’t really know what they’re supposed to do yet, so we’re just providing them with feedback. You can calmly show them the potty spot and say “no” once more a little softer this time just to inform them (no need to rub their nose in it). Then quickly take them outside to the potty area and encourage them to finish there.  If they pooped there may not be anything left, but it’s worth the exercise.

Use a pet enzyme cleaner - Be sure to clean up all accidents with a pet enzyme cleaning solution.  This will keep the odor from luring the dog to go on the same spot again.

Celebrate success -  Every time your dog goes potty outside remember to load on the praise. I suggest bringing out a small treat too so there’s some great contrast between going outside and inside. If your dog likes to play, after they go potty outside is a great time to a little fetch or tug.