You’re absolutely smitten by your new puppy. Small, fluffy and innocent you pick it up and put it on your lap watching it in complete adoration. Then, you smell something rotten, lift your fur baby up and see that it’s emptied its bowels on your favourite trousers and smeared its indiscretions everywhere.
This is a situation all too common to first time (and even seasoned) dog owners. There are quick and easy ways to toilet train your dog so you don’t have to put your life on hold cleaning up puppy litter every day and spending hundreds getting waste off your carpet.
Just like humans, every puppy is different, as is your lifestyle – so it’s just about taking a little time out (maybe over a weekend) to test a few methods and find what works for you both!
Irrespective of individual needs and lifestyles, puppy housetraining should begin immediately. This sets a clear routine for your new puppy and makes their adjustment to you a lot easier when confusion around expectations is eliminated.
You may be eager to teach your fur baby the ropes of their new home, however, don’t push too much on them too soon – everything is new for them; your house, its smells and noises are a new experience (be gentle)!
How Do I Know When It’s Time For Them To Go?
Most puppies will exhibit the same alerts when it’s time for them to excrete:
- Sniffing around
- Going around the same spot in a circle
- Suddenly getting up from something they were very concentrated on (e.g. eating or chewing a toy)
Where Do They Go?
For smaller breeds, you can put puppy pads (or newspaper) in a specific area of your house/ balcony/ backyard and take them to the same place each time.
For larger breeds, this may have to be consistently outside or have larger/ a few puppy pads around the same area.
The general rule is that the puppy pads or designated area should be the same place each time and should be easily accessible for them to get to if you’re not home.
When Do They Go?
As soon as your puppy eats or drinks, take them immediately to the designated ‘toilet’ area. When you pick them up it’s important to start dictating commands and praise. Dogs learn by association so when you pick them up, say things like “Go Now” in a positive tone so they can begin to form links between the given command, the toilet and positivity.
How Often Do They Go?
Initially, your puppy will need to go more frequently. Generally, smaller dogs can hold their urine/ faeces for a shorter amount of time in comparison to larger dogs.
- 2 months: 1-2 hours
- 3 months: 4 hours
- 4 months: 5 hours
- 5 months: 6 hours
- 6 months: 7 hours
- 7 months: 8 hours
A great way to regulate your puppy’s bowel movements is to feed them at the same times each day, take them to the puppy pad, give kind commands and encouragement, and then take the food away immediately after so they don’t have the opportunity to go back and refill their stomachs until the next meal.
Puppies usually need to go after sleeping or playing extensively, so take them to the puppy pad or mat after these times too.
You can encourage elimination by giving them a treat or a pat every time they eliminate at a specific time in their designated place.
Supervise your puppy as much as possible whilst they’re young to train them properly and set up the correct routine – if you can’t be home it’s best if someone else who knows the routine is so that the new routine is maintained.
How Do I Clean It Up?
If your new fur baby has an accident, clean it away with ammonia-free cleaning products. Ammonia is present in urine and will spread the scent of urine and they could start to eliminate everywhere. Use something like bi-carb, followed by water.
There you go! Enjoy this process as much as possible and always encourage positive behaviours with lots of praise and hugs. Remember, the sooner you start training, the sooner you never have to worry about accidents on your floor again!