Toilet training your new puppy

Written by Shelley Tomsett.

Start as you want to go on. Be firm, fair and consistent. Everyone in the house must know the rules and commands so as not to confuse the dog.
Don’t give your dog too great a sense of their importance on your life and their place in the family hierarchy! If you plan children in the future a dog needs to know where it stands!
Start training straight away. Don’t use puppy pads as they confuse pups.
Crate training helps so much with housetraining.
It is also good to get them used to a crate early in case they have IVDD and need confining for that or any illness if already used to it.

Toilet training is relatively simple and should take only a few weeks to establish the routine. Bad habits can take longer to resolve so the key word is ‘patience‘.

Puppies have poor bladder control and need to go several times an hour when they are awake. Try to take your puppy outside First thing in the morning, last thing at night, after each meal, waking from a nap and after any exercise, play or excitement.

Keeping a record of when your puppy goes to the toilet may help you identify any patterns that emerge.

Always go with your puppy into the garden to establish a regular spot. Puppies are creatures of habit so regular spot is best established as early as possible. Introducing a cue word will help the puppy associate the word with the action and eventually go on command. Praise is essential, regardless of how silly you may feel! Try not to use “good boy/girl” as you may find your puppy toileting during training. Use “Go wee/poo” instead.

Reasons for toilet training not working could be:
* You are feeding too much
* Food is unsuitable
* Irregular feeding times
* Feeding at the wrong time (your puppy may need to go in the middle of the night)
* Food is too salty (causing your puppy to drink more)
* Punishing your puppy for accidents may make your puppy scared to go in front of you – even outside
* Leaving a door open all the time causes confusion when the puppy suddenly finds access blocked
* Leaving your puppy alone for too long (including all night)

Rugs and carpets can be confusing to a puppy so be vigilant. Do not clean up using ammonia based products as they can smell like urine to your puppy and can encourage them to go there again. Likewise with an area not cleaned well enough. Remember how sensitive dog’s noses are. You may not smell it but they can. Using household biological washing detergent works best. Keep some made up in a spray bottle for accidents.

Out on walks, many owners become frustrated that their puppies hold it until they get home. Puppies take time to associate walks with toilet so try to time walks carefully. (no walks within an hour before or after food! This can cause bloat). Walks with other owners that have older dogs can help. If you are not successful please remember to take your dog to the garden or straight back out again this avoiding a large puddle in the hallway.

All puppies are different so don’t listen to the ‘expert’ in the park who tells you that their little angel was trained in a fortnight. Many pups aren’t completely dry until nearly six months old, whilst others may take longer.