Potty Training Tips
(This is a PDF I send to most of my new parents – some haven’t had puppies in a while, and some never have – it’s just a generic quick overview of housebreaking your new pup.)
Congratulations on your new baby – who, by the way is Not housebroken. If anyone tells you an 8 week old puppy is, well, I have this bridge for sale…
What I do here, is when they are born, I put them in a small exercise pen. That is where they are for safety till their eyes open. I put an open crate in the pen for their bed. A tarp goes under it for my floor’s safety. Just a plastic one from Walmart or Target, about $5 bucks, and you can wash and dry it. Then when they are tiny, I put down an old towel right outside the crate where they sleep. When they learn to toddle, they go out of the crate and pee and poop on the towel. As they get older, I put down a puppy training pad and they use that instead.
As they grow, I move it further from the crate. Most of them are very good about getting to it. And that is the start of potty training.
Once you get them home, I highly suggest you use the same set up. This does a few things – keeps baby safe while you are gone, and yet, if you leave them more than a few hours, is better than just a crate, because they literally can not hold it for more than a few hours. You will hear ‘they don’t pee where they sleep’ but if they can’t hold it, they can’t hold it- and they will go in the crate, and once they start….well… you don’t want to deal with that.
This is short term for most people. They want baby to pee outside! Not in the house! So. Figure out where. Yes, at some point you can open the back door, they will run out and pee and come back in, but not yet. Walk them to where you want them to, on the leash. If you ‘fly’ them there (pick them up and carry them) they won’t have a clue where they are – am I outside? In the back bedroom? Who knows! Which confuses them. You want them to know where they are to go. Walk the same way to the same spot every time. Use the same words.
You can hang a bell on the back door and ring it when you go out, or take baby’s foot and have him scratch it, if you want -but they will learn to let you know in their own way eventually.
Stand there in the one spot you want them to go, and sing a song or two while holding the leash out at about arm’s length, and ignoring baby who hopefully will sniff around and pee/poop. If baby does, when baby does!, then give them a treat out there and praise softly. Get too excited and so will they. But they need to know, this is a good thing! I did good!!!
Then leave the mess there, if possible. It won’t kill the grass, you will be fine a few days, so when you walk baby back out to the same spot, they will think – “Smell, Mom – someone peed here before! Let me cover that up for you,” and pee again. Yay!!! Boys are really good about this, but the girls do it too.
Then after that, if it’s nice, let them play a bit. But first thing is, we do our business. You will so thank me for this when it’s 20 below (except for you Florida people who laugh). If baby does nothing in a song or two, take them back in, pop them in the crate and take them back out in fifteen/twenty minutes.
Babies like to please their people. They will do what is wanted.
If they have an accident in the house – and you see them do it, scream like they are killing you and hopefully that will make the sphincter close up, then grab them and hurry them outside to the right spot. If they go again – oh man, smartest puppy ever! Make sure they know that. Treat, praise. Clean it up inside with something that says enzymatic. Enzymes, so that they can’t smell where they went before.
If you don’t see them do it, then smack yourself with the fly swatter and say Bad Parent! I messed up! Clean it up and move on with life. Puppies will not understand the consequences of anything that happened less than 30 seconds ago. I promise.
This process is going to take a month or two. So did you – and your kids. But then you will have hopefully 18 years of a great trained dog to enjoy. Hang in there!
Remember – the more you do the same things in the same way, and they are rewarded for what you want, the faster they will catch on!
Email me if you have questions or issues! Good Luck! Kate