We’ve partnered with Barking Hound Village to provide training resources for pet owners who need assistance. Learn more about preventing rude behavior in your dog by watching the video and reading the training guide below.
Potty training is the first thing new puppy parents ask trainers about. And with good reason! It’s no fun cleaning up potty accidents inside, especially on the brand-new carpet. Fortunately, with attention to detail and consistency, most puppies should be able to be potty trained in a timely manner.
Dogs learn to use the bathroom outside when they imprint on textured, outside surfaces like grass, pine straw, and mulch. They’re not learning “inside bad, outside good.” They physiologically associate going to the bathroom with only these specific surfaces.
In order to get a dog to imprint outside, your goal is to get them to use the bathroom on these outside surfaces thirty to forty times in a row, with no inside accidents. That means the MOST important thing when potty training your puppy is prevention. Consistently prevent your dog from using the bathroom inside and they will easily learn to only go outside.
Now, you may be saying to yourself, if I knew how to prevent my dog from pooping on the rug, I would have done so already! Fear not, here are 5 crucial prevention tips to help.
- Crate training is a vital part of potty training. Most dogs do not want to use the bathroom in a space where they lay and will do their best to hold it. When you can’t watch your dog–when you’re sleeping at night, leave them home alone, or jump in the shower–you should put them in the crate.
- Always keep an eye on your puppy when they’re out of the crate. Treat them like a baby without a diaper, which you would never let out of your sight, even for a second. Use a leash and baby gates to keep them close. Watch for visual cues indicating that your puppy may need to use the bathroom, like sniffing a particular spot, circle sniffing, or walking towards the door that leads to the outside.
- Remember, when things go in, they’re eventually going to come out. Set a timer after your puppy eats to make sure you give them an opportunity to go outside before they need to use the bathroom. If they drink a lot of water in one sitting, like after a long walk, bring them back outside within five minutes as their full bladder will need to empty quickly.
- Know WHERE and WHEN your dog tends to have accidents inside. Block off common accident areas. Pay extra attention to your puppy during common accident times or put them in the crate until you can. If you can identify specific patterns, it’s far easier to prevent accidents in the future.
- One of the most common times a puppy has an accident inside is after they were outside when they DIDN’T use the bathroom at all. If you think your puppy needs to use the bathroom and they don’t when you bring them out, keep them on a leash for a few minutes when you come back inside (or put them in the crate) and then take them outside again. The world is a very distracting place and sometimes puppies forget they need to go!
And don’t forget to reward your puppy with praise and a treat the moment they finish eliminating outside. Dogs have a half-second learning window, meaning you need to reward them immediately after they use the bathroom. Going back inside and then giving them a treat has no connection to what happened outside.
Along those lines, never, ever, ever punish or scold your dog for having a bathroom accident inside. Even if it happened two seconds earlier, they only know you’re upset, not why. And it doesn’t matter if you catch them in the act. You won’t teach them they shouldn’t use the bathroom inside by yelling, just that they shouldn’t do it when you’re nearby. All they’ll learn is to sneak off and do it when you’re not looking. Instead, ask yourself how you could have prevented the accident, and do a better job next time. With patience, consistency, and good attention to detail, you can set your puppy up for potty training success!
If you’re struggling with potty training, Barking Hound Village can help! With private, one-on-one training sessions at your home, group training classes at 3 locations around metro-Atlanta, including the West Midtown Atlanta Humane Society location, and a 2-week intensive Board-and-Train program, Barking Hound Village has the perfect training service to fit your exact needs. Visit their website or contact them at (404)-369-2014 or [email protected].