Getting a new puppy can be an exciting time for your family. It is important to remember that your puppy is like a small child and will need a lot of training to develop into a well-behaved adult.
Puppies do best with repetition and routine. Trying to do things around the same time each day and using the same commands will help them learn things consistently. Potty training is not any different.
First, recognize that your puppy is small and will need to use the bathroom more frequently in the beginning. It is recommended that you take them out at least every 2 hours. When your puppy finishes playing or just wakes up from a nap is a good time to take them outside to go potty.
Second, since we recommend that you feed them at least twice a day (sometimes more frequently if they are really young) you can take them outside shortly after they finish eating. Eating food stimulates their digestive tract and it is natural for them to eliminate after eating.
Third, crate train your puppy. Some puppies do well with this, and they can learn to feel safe and comfortable inside their crate. Many dogs will also view the crate like their “den” and will not typically eliminate in the crate. This makes it a lot easier if you need to leave the house for work or other errands, you can feel comfortable that they are not going to have an accident. Make sure that you pick a crate that will fit the size of your puppy, not just the size of it today, but the size for the puppy as they get bigger. Unless you want to keep buying bigger crates as they grow.
Fourth, make sure that you use a lot of positive reinforcement when your puppy goes potty appropriately. Using one simple command like “potty, “bathroom”, or “hurry” lets your puppy know that you are going to take them outside to eliminate. You can also use a leash to walk with your puppy so that they become accustomed to the leash and associate going “potty” with positive time spent with you.
Fifth, learn how to read your puppy’s body language or see when they show signs of needing to go potty. Some puppies will whine, paw at the ground, sit by the door, or even bark or jump on you to tell you they need to go. When you see these signs ask them the phrase or word that you associate with potty and see how they respond. Eventually, they will realize that they can tell you in their own way that they need to go outside.
Sixth, do not use a negative response when they have an accident. Most puppies will not understand why you are mad at them, even though we think they “look” guilty, the puppy typically has no idea why you are upset. Having a negative response to your puppy can cause them to learn to be afraid of you and act out more.
Training a puppy to eliminate appropriately is time-consuming, but if done correctly the puppy will learn quickly how to follow the rules and the structure within your home.
We do puppy vaccines and can make recommendations for great puppy diets for your new pup. Congratulations and tell them from us “Welcome to the Imperial Animal Hospital Family”. We can’t wait to meet them!