10 ways to toilet train your puppy.

One of the hardest parts of the first few months in puppy life is teaching them when and where to go to the toilet. We have gathered the best top 10 tips from our own and other people's experiences to make it easier for you.

1. Regularly take them out.

Although this seems rather obvious, having a regular routine on what times to take your puppy outside will greatly help them stop having accidents inside. If your routine is every two hours for example the puppy will begin to understand the time frame and slowly be able to hold on until they are taken out. As you move on from this gradually extending the time frame over the weeks you will begin to notice that they are waiting.

2. Reward them for going outside

Covering all the basics in this list to begin with is another what seems to be too obvious tip. However, rewarding them for 'emptying' outside is a great help and should never be undersold. Making a big fuss about them doing the right things will always be a greater help then punishing them for doing the wrong, which we will come to later on.

3. Routine

As mentioned in our first tip, Routine is key. Dogs are great users of routines and love to have one to refer too, much like we do. If you have a routine of taking your puppy out on the hour, every hour to begin with, they will learn to hold until they are outside, as they know they will be taken out soon. Its a great idea as well to begin teaching them young, and make sure they stand by the back door (or whichever door you will be letting them out from) for a short period of time so they begin to associate it with toilet time. As they learn this they will begin to stand at the door to let you know that they want to go out.

4. Designated toilet spot outside

Dogs will go anywhere at any time and you will begin to notice this when you first bring your puppy home. A great idea is to make sure that when you are taking them out they have a designated spot in the garden or park where you make sure they do their business. This allows for two great things to happen. One is that now you only have one spot in the garden where the grass will inevitably die, and two, they will associate that area with going to the toilet. This is a great help for when you want them to go to the toilet, (as you maybe leaving for a few hours) you can take them to that area and they will associate it with toilet time.

5. Cleaning up accidents immediately

Ensuring that the puppy does not begin to think that accidents in the house are normal is a crucial step to letting them know where to go and not to go to the toilet. Part of this includes immediately cleaning up any accidents that happen. This ensures that they do not get used to 'it' being around the house.

6. Never punish for accidents 

Punishing puppy's for doing puppy things is never a good idea. Research has shown that it is a lot more constructive for a puppy to be rewarded when doing something right rather then being punished for doing the same thing wrong. Whenever they have an accident inside the house ensure to take them outside straight away and if the go to the toilet again but now whilst outside, create a big fuss and this will help them learn quicker where and where not to go.

7. Crate training 

As dogs are natural den animals they will ensure that their living area is kept clean. If you begin to crate train your dog (which we recommend) you will notice that the vast majority of puppy's will not go to the toilet in their crate (unless they have to). This allows you to choose the time when they go to the toilet. If you take them straight outside after letting them out of their crate they will learn that the outside is where you go for the toilet.

8. Paper method

The paper method is a less well known, but yet effective way to pin point your dogs toilet movements to a set location. This involves setting up a large area with kitchen roll or other absorbent materials that will soak up the accidents and keeping it in a rough location of the house. Once set, you try to keep all of the puppy's other belongings (E.G water bowl and toys) in that area to let them understand that's their spot. Gradually as the dogs learns to go to the toilet on the paper you begin to reduce the size of the paper (E.G from a section of the kitchen to just a couple sheets of paper) so that the location is set to small area that can be managed. This is a great technique, especially if you live in an apartment where it is difficult to get outside in short amount of time.

9. Supervising

Being around your puppy will always help you stop the accidents as they usually make it known when they are about to go. If you work from home or it is your day off, ensure that they are always close by and usually within sight so that you can simply keep an eye on them. As you spend more time with your puppy you will begin to pick up the hints they give when their about to have an accident, so simple supervision is a great way to combat this.

10. Recognise the signs they are about to go

Learning the signals that they want to go to the toilet is another great way in ensuring less accidents in the house. Lots of dogs will give you subtle little hints that they are about to go with unusual amounts of sniffing being a big one. This is when they stop playing or doing whatever it was they had been doing and begin to sniff around (usually) enclosed areas and that means something is on its way rather soon. Every dog is different so we cant bring up a list of what their signs will be, but as tip number nine suggests, just supervising them will tell all.


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