The day you bring your new puppy home is a special day to remember. The entire family falls in love and that new puppy smell simply fills the heart with joy. While their adorable mannerisms and irresistible puppy dog eyes, may make you want to hold off implementing boundaries and training, something that is an absolute non-negotiable is starting toilet training. This needs to be commenced the moment your puppy comes home.
The longer you delay toilet training, the harder it becomes to rectify. If accidents become regular, it will become a learned behaviour and if it does, you have a problem on your hands that no amount of deterrent sprays can rectify. Trust us when we say, toilet training needs to start the MOMENT your puppy comes home.
Toileting inside or in inappropriate areas is not something a puppy will grow out of. They will not grow older and just magically stop one day. Correct training will need to be implemented in order to shape good behaviour and fast track toilet training.
1. Decide Where Puppy Will Toilet
Like a baby, your puppy does not know where it must toilet. It is up to you as the owner to show them. Although it would be nice, toileting outside on grass is not an automatic behaviour and will only happen with consistency. Depending on your circumstances, the areas you wish for your puppy to toilet may differ. Whether you have easy access to a grassy yard or a dedicated area on your apartment balcony, you must be consistent with that same location for your puppy to make an association.
Once your puppy begins to recognise the area, the action and the reward that follows, your puppy will be more inclined to toilet in that one location.
Using a Puppy Pad should not be an alternative to toilet training if you have easy access to a grassy area. One of the biggest disadvantages of using training pads is the fact that your puppy actually learns to toilet inside, this then it slows down house training process. Essentially you will end up toilet training twice, instead of training a puppy to eliminate outdoors directly, the puppy must be first trained to go indoors and then retrained outdoors in conjunction with being weaned off the pads. This makes toilet training a long and drawn out process. At Found By The Hound we always recommend start as you mean to finish. The other issue with Puppy Pads is that the puppy often cannot differentiate between a Puppy Pad and a doormat or a rug and as such, may toilet on these items through no fault of its own.
2. Expect Puppy to Toilet ALL THE TIME
After a sleep, TOILET
After play time, TOILET
After mealtime, TOILET
After a drink, TOILET
Has it been 20 minutes? TOILET
Young puppies have very small bladders. To be vigilant, you must assume that it won’t be long in between occurrences that your puppy will need to toilet again. By staying ahead of this, you can avoid accidents in the home. The less accidents, the less opportunity your puppy has to rehearse the behaviour of toileting in inappropriate areas.
3. Crate Training Can Help The Toilet Training Process
At Found by the Hound, we are strong advocates of Crate Training. We are firm believers that when used correctly, a Crate can be one of your most useful training tools for both puppies and adult dogs as well as a very effective way to assist with toilet training.
The notion that a puppy or dog will avoid going to the toilet where they sleep is quite often the case. This means when they wake, they can be taken directly to where you want them to toilet without the opportunity to have an accident. If you find your puppy is toileting in its crate, the area may be too big. There should be ample room for your puppy to stand, turn around and comfortably lay down. If your crate is sized correctly and your puppy is still toileting in its crate you may need to consult one of our trainers for specific troubleshooting.
Along with many of the new responsibilities you will have as a new owner, waking several times throughout the evening to toilet your puppy is one of them. Do not expect your puppy to hold his bladder through the night. To avoid accidents in the Crate you will need to toilet your puppy before bed and throughout the night until his bladder is strong enough to last through. We recommend around every 4 hours initially and then extending that as they become more capable of controlling their bladder.
For more information on how to safety and successfully implement a crate, speak with the Trainers at Found by the Hound.
4. Toilet Your Puppy Through The Night
Even if you choose not to crate train your puppy, the same consideration should be made for toileting your puppy through the night.
If you lock your puppy in the laundry, because of the larger area, chances are he will toilet frequently over the floor. There is nothing in their mind that separates the tiles in the laundry to those of kitchen or the bathroom. Failure to toilet your puppy through the night will simply allow your puppy more opportunity to rehearse this behaviour.
5. Supervision Is Key
A puppy should never be allowed free reign throughout your house. Until your puppy is toilet trained, supervision is of the upmost importance. If you do not follow through with this, we can guarantee that accidents will continue to happen.
If you cannot supervise your puppy, place them in a crate, outside or have them with you on lead.
6. How long do you wait outside?
If you don’t have the time to wait for long periods of time for your puppy to go the toilet we understand. Previous owners will tell you of the frustration that comes with waiting for your puppy to toilet outside. Taking your puppy to toilet on lead can be helpful. This will prevent your puppy from wandering around and getting distracted causing it to forget what it was out there for in the first place.
If you have taken puppy outside to toilet, waited 5 or so minutes and puppy has not gone, you can either wait longer until they go, or bring them back inside and place them in their crate to give them another 10-20 minutes to fill up a bit more before trying again however, if puppy as not toileted when given the opportunity, do not bring them inside and give them the freedom to run around and potentially have an accident.
7. Praise Your Puppy
Give nice praise once your puppy toilets where it’s supposed to this will help make it significant in starting to shaping the behaviour. As soon as you see your puppy toilet, get ready to reward the behaviour the moment your puppy has finished. Ensure you wait until the are completely finished before praising otherwise you may distract them half way through and return inside to find out they hadn’t finished yet.
It is very important that puppy knows it has done a good thing.
Contrary to this, reprimanding a puppy after you discover an accident in the house will not be beneficial. Dogs live in the present moment and will not understand the situation if they are yelled at 10 minutes later. They will not understand yelling in general, as dogs do not speak English. If your dog has an accident in the house, this is on you.
8. Yes, Even In The Rain
Chances are, throughout a dog’s life, they will encounter a rainy day and they will still need to toilet.
Shaping confident behaviour starts with YOU. If you do not expose your dog early to yard time in different weather conditions you can create a “fussy toileter”. This is a dog that will simply toilet in the house as they are unfamiliar, frightened or simply do not like wet paws. Make wet weather insignificant by training your dog to toilet outside in all different circumstances.
Get the umbrella and those gumboots!
Folks, toilet training will not happen overnight but with correct training and a consistent approach, it WILL happen. For some it may be a matter of days, for others it can be weeks. If you are finding that toilet training is taking longer than you thought, it may be something that you are or are not doing.
At Found by the Hound we specialise in training puppies and shaping good behaviour. Contact our team should you require more information or register for our Group Puppy Courses.