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A Guide to Potty Training Your Dog – 9 Easy Tips That Work!

Nicole Cosgrove

If you are purchasing your first family dog, you are in for a great treat and many years of happy times. However, one of the first things you will need to do is potty train your dog to prevent it from going inside the house. Dogs that are not potty trained will ruin your carpets, create a bad odor in your home, and spread more allergy-causing proteins through their urine. It’s a little harder to potty train a dog than a cat, but it’s still fairly easy and should only require a few days to complete. Please keep reading for our step-by-step tutorial that you can use to have your dog going outside instead of in your home.divider-dog

How Long Will It Take to Potty Train My Dog?

Our step-by-step potty training program should take about one week to complete for most dog breeds. The actual time will fluctuate based on your breed, and how closely your family can stick to the plan. If your plan is taking a little longer, don’t get concerned. Even dogs that are quick to catch on can forget or get confused in the first few weeks. Be patient, don’t get angry at your pet, and you will be successful. We’ve had dozens of dogs, and they all learned how to go outside to relieve themselves.

Potty Training Your Dog

shelter-volunteer-feeding-the-dogs_ALPA-PROD_shutterstock
Credit: ALPA PROD, Shutterstock

Confinement Area

When you bring your new puppy home, the first thing you want to do is create a confinement area in a section of your home to keep the dog in until it is fully potty trained. You should expect your dog to have a few accidents at this stage, so try to put them on a hardwood, tile, or laminate floor that is easy to clean. A bathroom or a basement can work great. If you think the room is too large, you can use a puppy pen to confine it to a smaller area.

Puppy Pads

You can purchase puppy pads at most pet stores. This item is soft, absorbent, and has a leak-proof side to prevents spills from getting on the floor. It works similarly to a diaper, and it can be a great way to protect your floors during this training week or two. Cover the floor of your confinement area with the puppy pads and replace them as needed.

When to Walk

While the dog is awake, put it on a leash and take it out of the confinement area every 30 minutes to a place it can use the bathroom. Wait patiently, resisting the urge to play with your dog for at least 5 minutes. You don’t want to distract the dog. Let it stay focused on relieving itself. If successful, give the dog a treat and plenty of praise. Afterward, you can also let your dog play for 10–15 minutes outside the confinement area before it needs to return.

You will want to give the dog a walk when it first wakes up and after it eats or drinks. If you have family members helping to train the dog, make sure they stick to the schedule and follow the rules for the best chance of success.

Be Patient

One of the most common mistakes we see new dog owners make is that they don’t give the dog enough time to finish doing its business. The owner will see the dog pee and sit around a few minutes and think it’s finished, only to return the dog to find out it pooped in the house a few minutes later. Always give your dog at least 5 minutes to complete their business to minimize accidents.

Stay on Schedule

As the days pass and your dog is learning and going outside like it’s supposed to, it can be easy to slide off schedule, especially if several people are involved. Still, it’s important to stay vigilant about letting the dog out every 30 minutes on a leash and staying outside for at least 5 minutes without distractions. Any deviation can cause accidents to occur. If you forget the leash, your dog may not realize it’s time to use the bathroom, and allowing it to play can distract it, causing it to forget. In these cases, the dog will probably have an accident shortly after returning to the pen.

Once Trained

Once your dog is on a schedule, you can allow it out of the confinement area but stick to the same schedule for a few more weeks until they get used to it. They will start to know when they need to go out and develop the ability to control themselves until it’s time to walk. Your dog shouldn’t have too many accidents from now on.

Other Tips

  • Consistency is key to a quickly-trained dog.
  • Keeping a log can help you locate reasons why your training isn’t working that you might not have considered.
  • Don’t get angry with the dog if it has an accident because it can increase anxiety and cause the training to take longer.
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Summary

Your puppy should catch on to your training quickly and will start to control its bladder until it’s time for a walk. It will also look forward to some extra playtime out of confinement. It also likes to please you, so treats and extra petting will also cause your dog to work harder. Most of our dogs rarely had an accident after about 3 days, but we like to keep it going for a week to reinforce the schedule. Your puppy can still be prone to accidents when you are stuck at work late or if one of the children forgets to take your pup out, so don’t get discouraged if you face setbacks.

We hope you have enjoyed reading and feel good about training your pet. If you have learned something new, please share this guide to potty training your dog on Facebook and Twitter.


Featured image credit: Kiadtisak-Khwanyu, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.