Potty training is most certainly a job. Even though we’d love to have a dog that would learn to use the appropriate “facilities” within the first few days of owning a puppy, this is as we know just not the case. It takes time, patience, and the right tools.
There are many materials available for people with new puppies with all sorts of tips, the what not and what to do’s, and also some not so great advise. But there is one very large tool that is often over looked. I think that it’s perhaps one that doesn’t seem important or to some people may seem like a punishment or as cruel.
Structured management is the LARGE key to success with potty training.
When you have a crawling baby or even a toddler you do not give them free reign to the house for several purposes. One, speaking as a mom of twins, you will lose your mind trying to manage your kid in an environment that is not set up for him to have success (baby proofed). Second, you cannot be there at all because the phone rings, the oven’s timer goes off, or someone rings the door bell. Life happens, and it is truly a matter of a child’s safety when setting up the environment. Far too often, people with puppies give them entire reign of the house. Crawling babies and toddlers are not ready for this type of freedom and neither is your puppy.
Management involves a strict timed schedule and also a regulated environment.
I suggest setting up a “tinkle timer.” If you are anything like me, you get lost in projects and lose track of time. By the time you realize to take the puppy out, it’s too late. Having a timer will help set you and your puppy up for success. Figure out how long your puppy is able to hold it. It may be two hours, so you will set the timer every two during the day.
Create a space of his own. This could be a small bathroom, laundry room, or if you want to set up an x-pen. An x-pen is one of my favorite tools because you are able to use it throughout your dog’s life. There are nice tall metal ones and also plastic. An x-pen is able to make a large circle (or whatever shape you want to fold your pen into) for your puppy’s space. You can order these on many different websites like amazon.com or sitstay.com. Also local stores carry them. In between potty times put your puppy back in his space. You make this space comfortable for him with this water, chew toys and bed.
Manage with a leash. If your puppy is out with the family make sure that she has just eliminated (or if something new or exciting is happening soon). Keep her leashed up to you or an item of furniture in the room that you plan on being in. This will help you watch her as you are doing things. Many times puppies will sneak off to eliminate like go behind a couch and we didn’t realized until much later!
The freedom that your puppy will receive is earned very slowly as she proves herself. I would start with 15-20 minutes right after she eliminates of free time in the house. Obviously during this time you will constantly be watching her. As she proves herself, gradually increase this time (by 5 minutes). After her free time is over you can leash her or put her back into her x-pen.
At night or if you need to run errands, kennel your puppy. Do not put any materials that can absorb like a towel or bed. If you do, your puppy can eliminate on and then push the material to the side to sleep comfortable in a dry kennel. If you work and will not able to get to your puppy in more than 4 hours then I would encourage you to find a neighbor, friend, or hire a pet sitter to help with the potty times.
It’s important for any and all accidents even on a hard surface that they are cleaned with an enzyme eating product like Natures Miracle. Soap alone does not get the smell out and your puppy will be more likely and even attracted to going back to eliminate in those spaces.
Potty training’s largest tool of structured management is often over-looked, but using this tool will set you and your puppy up for great success. Use a timer to help you manage the time, give your puppy a space of his own, and set up a structured environment to encourage him to eliminate in the appropriate spaces.