Let’s talk potty training!
Puppies are adorable but they’re definitely a lot of work. It can feel absolutely overwhelming so hopefully this information helps out a bit. You can use these tips with an adult dog as well.
How long can my puppy hold it?
It varies from pup to pup but on average a young puppy can hold it however many months old they are plus one. So if you have a two month old puppy they can on average hold it about three hours. This is during the day when they are awake and active. At night many can go much longer without needing to go potty.
How much freedom should my puppy get in the house?
While you want to give your puppy plenty of space and include them as they’re part of your family but you should limit the space. Close doors to other rooms, use baby gates or free standing gates so you can keep an eye on them. This prevents them from sneaking off to another room/space where they are likely to have an accident which goes unnoticed. I would also roll up any rugs you don’t want to turn into puppy pads.
Where should my puppy go potty?
Depending on where you live and what your preference is you can either start out on puppy pads inside or better yet take them out outside from the start if you’re able to. Puppy pads can be a great tool but if your pup learns to only go on the pads it might be a bit more difficult to transition them to outside. I’m not saying it’s impossible but easiest to take them outside from the start.
Get your puppy on a schedule.
When you are home and able to take your pup out I suggest first figuring out how long they can hold it during the day. Let’s say for example your puppy can hold it 30 minutes. So you will take them out every 30 minutes. Set a timer if necessary.
Make sure to reward your pup for going potty outside, even set aside really high value treats for this. The is if your puppy goes potty outside then they earn time in the house without being contained to a crate. And repeat.
If your puppy did not go potty then contain them whether they go in the crate for 10-15 minutes or they’re right next to you then try again. Using the crate in this way is not used for punishment, you’re simply putting them in the crate to ensure they don’t have an accident in the house. Once your puppy has better muscle/bladder control as they are getting older you can stretch that time in between potty breaks.
What do I do if I catch my puppy having an accident?
Do not use outdated old school punishment methods like rubbing their face in it or yelling at them. You should catch them in the act and gently startle your puppy then immediately take outside.
The goal is to gently startle them so gently clap your hands so they know they shouldn’t go inside. The goal is NOT to scare your puppy otherwise they will be afraid to go in front of you and will be sneaking off having accidents elsewhere in the house.
If you don’t catch your puppy having an accident then too bad, clean it up and move on.
For cleaning up accidents use a cleaner formulated to do exactly that.
How do I use the crate?
The crate should be used as a tool only for short periods of time so don’t keep them in there for too long when it comes to potty training. It absolutely is great to get your puppy to become familiar with their crate and to love it so they can take naps in it or even sleep there at night. Take a look at my blog on crate training if you need some extra tips.
While you are in the process of potty training your puppy it's a good idea to let them sleep in the crate as they tend to hold it while in the crate. This doesn't mean they will have to sleep crated forever. Once they're potty trained and can be trusted to sleep outside of it then it's your choice.