Toilet Training

Toilet Training your puppy, or even an adult dog, to relieve themselves outside, is important if you want to avoid your pet soiling inside your home. Some accidents are bound to happen along the way but with these 4 simple steps to train your puppy, toilet training could be complete in just a matter of days. 

Toilet Training

The four basic steps to toilet training

  1. Supervise – Give your puppy close supervision at all times during toilet training. If you can’t do this consider containing your pup in a safe space such as the laundry or bathroom or in a crate or playpen. See below for more information. 
  1. Reward – Give your puppy rewards for positive behaviour. Most dogs aren’t motivated enough by verbal praise alone, so be sure to keep a treat bag filled with tasty delights, on you at all times. Give your pup a treat within a few seconds of them doing the right thing, so that they will know what they are being rewarded for. 
  1. Repetition – Repetition and consistency are the key, so take your puppy outside every hour. By increasing the opportunity for your puppy to do the right thing and receive a reward, the faster they will ‘get it’. 
  1. Patience – Be patient with your puppy as it takes time to learn new skills. Avoid punishing them as it only teaches them to fear you. Accidents will happen in this learning phase, so just clean it up and move on and offer puppy plenty of outdoor opportunities.

More on confinement 

It can be near impossible to be with your puppy every second of the day and although your pup may be very energetic, young pups usually sleep 18-20 hours per day! At these times, confining pup to a crate, playpen or safe space can help to prevent roaming accidents from happening. If they are spending time in confinement try using puppy training pads which will make cleaning up easier if they suddenly need to go. The pads can be simply laid on the floor to absorb any accidents. 

A large crate is a great option as a space to contain your dog overnight, while guests visit or if your travel regularly. It is a safe, cosy space for your dog to retreat to, even as he matures. Be sure to choose a crate that is big enough for your dog to easily turn around in, even when fully grown.   

A puppy playpen is another confinement option, which provides a bit more space to move about than a crate and can be adjusted to suit your space. If you choose to put your puppy in a safe room, such as the laundry or bathroom, you may like to use a baby gate across the doorway. This way you can still have a direct connection with you pup and it also allows for you to easily poke your head around the corner to check on what puppy is up to.  

The benefit of confining your puppy is that they will learn to ‘hold on’ and avoid going to the toilet in their cosy space or at least pick a spot away from their bed to toilet. As soon as you take your puppy out of their confinement space, take them outside to toilet and avoid confining them for long periods of time other than overnight.  

Look for the cues 

Puppies have small bladders and have not yet learnt the instinct to hold on, so they need to toilet much more frequently than adult dogs. Adult dogs usual go after they wake up and 10-20 minutes after eating, drinking or playing. An adult dog may only need to be taken outside every 2 hours, while a puppy will need to go out hourly to avoid accidents. 

Toilet Training Pet Care

You may be taking your puppy outside regularly but how do you know that your puppy needs the toilet? What are the signs? Early signs of needing the toilet include circling about and sniffing the ground. These signs are much easier to notice if you are watching closely or keeping your dog close by on a leash. A leash will ensure that your dog doesn’t wonder off and you won’t miss the early warning signs. 

It’s even possible to train your dog to toilet on command, by introducing a verbal cue, such as ‘wee wee’ or a hand signal. When your dog starts toileting, use the cue and they will soon associate the behaviour with the command. These cues can be particularly helpful if you want to quickly get back inside on a cold wet night or when taking a toilet break on a road trip.  

You can even teach your pup to use one particular spot in the yard for toileting. Choose a spot away from the main section of the yard and during training, always take pup to this spot to toilet. This will make cleaning up much easier and will stop the lawn from being covered in brown patches. 

Be patients and persistent with your pup and soon enough they will have the whole toileting business sorted out, keeping you, your house, yard and puppy happy.

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