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Potty training puppies… one of the most frustrating parts of getting a new dog.
We all wish it was a quick process that could be trained overnight but unfortunately that’s just not how it works.
There’s no such thing as potty training a dog in “7 days or less” like some trainers claim you can do through their program.
However, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to speed up the potty training process and make your life a heck of a lot easier.
In this article we reveal:
- 7 secrets to potty train your puppy fast (#6 works surprisingly well)
- How to avoid making mistakes that completely kills any progress you’ve made
- The ideal schedule and routine for potty training puppies (We also give away a free potty training checklist)
- How to get your puppy to do their business on command
How To Potty Train Your Puppy With 7 Simple Secrets
1) Get The Proper Tools
In order to have success with potty training the first thing anyone needs to do is get the proper tools!
This immediately sets yourself up for success.
Here’s what you’ll need to house train your pup:
- Effective cleaning products
2) Know Your Puppies Potty Timing
How often a puppy needs to go to the bathroom varies.
Age, size, and breed can play a role in the frequency of bathroom breaks they’ll need.
There’s a simple rule dog trainers recommend using called the “month plus one rule”.
Simply take the age of your puppy in months and add 1.
Once done the answer will be equal to how often (in hours) you need to take your pup out for potty breaks.
Here’s the simple equation:
Puppy Age (months) + 1 = Frequency Of Potty Breaks (hours)
For example, let’s say your puppy is 3 months old.
All you need to do is take their age, add 1 and you get 4 hours.
This means you should be taking your puppy out for a bathroom break every 4 hours.
Here’s the problem, this equation isn’t always reliable.
There are too many other variables to consider such as their size, how much they drank or ate, when they last ate or drank, etc.
Most puppies are actually able to hold their bladder and bowel movements while they sleep but when they’re awake its a different story.
Some may need to be let out every 30 minutes or more frequently while awake.
Tip: Grab yourself a timer and track exactly how frequent your pup is going potty. When you’ve determined an average length of time between potty breaks you’ll know exactly when they’re needing out.
Puppies are more likely to need out at specific times throughout the day.
You can make it easier on yourself to house train them by taking them out during these times.
The times these more than likely will need to do their business are:
- After waking up
- After eating or drinking
- After playing
- As often as needed while puppy is active
- As often as needed during the night (you may need to set alarms every couple hours to take them out)
3) Learn Your Pups Signals
No matter how much effort you put into potty training your pup, if you don’t recognize signs of your puppy needing to be let out, no training will work.
Young puppies have no awareness or control of their bladder/bowel movements.
This means early on they may not give signs at all, which is why learning their timing is so important at first.
Over time your puppy will start developing more awareness of their bodily functions.
When they do become more aware they’ll start showing signals when they need to go.
At this point you need to pay attention and understand when they’re hinting at needing to relieve themselves.
Here are some key signals your puppy really needs to go:
- They’re playing then suddenly walk away
- They starts sniffing around (looking like they’re searching for a spot to go)
- Your puppy moves towards an area they’ve peed before
- They become distracted, overly excited, agitated, etc. (unique, strange behaviors you don’t normally see are a good indication)
- They starts whining
- They’re not interested in treats or toys
4) Set Your Routine & Schedule
For any successful potty training strategy a schedule and routine is the ultimate key to success.
Dogs thrive with consistency so make sure to set up a routine and stick to it.
A good idea is to create a simple chart so you can record when your puppy pees and poops.
This will help you keep track and better understand your dog’s potty behaviors.
Example Puppy Schedule:
7:00am – Take them outside. Did your puppy pee and poop?
9:00am – Breakfast.
9:10am – Take them outside. Did your puppy pee and poop?
11:00am – 1:00pm – Naptime.
1:00pm – Lunch time.
1:10pm – Take them outside. Did your puppy pee and poop?
3:00pm – Take them outside. Did your puppy pee and poop?
5:00pm – 7:00pm – Naptime.
7:00pm – Dinner time.
7:10pm – Take them outside. Did your puppy pee and poop?
9:00pm – Take them outside. Did your puppy pee and poop?
11:00pm – Take them outside. Did your puppy pee and poop?
11:00pm – 3:00am – Naptime.
3:00am – Take them outside. Did your puppy pee and poop?
3:00am – 7:00am – Naptime.
Back to the start of the schedule.
There’s a couple things to mention with this schedule.
When you’re waking up in the middle of the night, and they’re not doing their business for at least 2 nights in a row, you can start to stretch out these hours.
On the flip side, if your puppy is having accidents, record it, and adjust the times accordingly.
No schedule is completely set in stone, your puppy is growing and developing so things may change and should be adjusted as often as needed.
5) Use Positive Reinforcement Training
There’s always been a debate in regards to properly training dogs.
Not too long ago (and still sometimes today) people would push their puppies’ noses in their own poop or whack their bum with a rolled-up newspaper.
This is counterproductive when training.
In fact, studies show that when you compare negative vs positive reinforcement, positive reinforcement wins by a landslide.
Puppies learn better and faster when you reward their good behaviors and praise them.
When potty training, always keep treats by the door so every time you need to take them out you can grab some.
In the early stages of training anytime they go potty outside, throw a mini party for your pup and reward them with love, treats, and praise.
Now, what happens when they pee inside?
Your puppy will make mistakes, expect it to happen.
Whenever you catch your pup going number 1 or 2 inside, quickly take them outside.
This should startle your pup when you pick them up and move them outside.
This will help let them know they have done something wrong.
DO NOT punish them.
Puppies have no idea why you’re punishing them and this can result in bad behaviors developing over time.
Bonus Tip – How To Train Your Dog To Potty On Command
This process is quite simple, it looks like this.
When you take your puppy out to go, the moment you notice them squatting to pee or poop (BEFORE they go) you say, “go potty” (or whatever command you’d like).
Then immediately after they go, say “good boy/girl”, and hand them a treat.
By being consistent with this your pup will learn to associate the command you’ve chosen with going to the bathroom.
6) Use Effective Cleaning Products
A classic mistake many dog owners make is cleaning up urine with water.
This leaves behind your dog’s urine scent.
If they can smell it, they’re more likely to urinate in the same spot or nearby.
It’s the same reason dogs pee in the same areas on walks.
Make sure to use a scent spray when cleaning up your pup’s pee.
They’ll help eliminate the smell and prevent your puppy from peeing there again.
Here are some of the best ones you can get on Amazon:
- Resolve Urine Destroyer Spray Stain & Odor Remover
- Resolve Ultra Pet Stain & Odor Remover Spray
- Simple Solution Extreme Pet Stain and Odor Remover
7) Monitor Water Intake
Watch your puppy’s water intake! The more they drink the more they’re going to need to pee.
Some puppies will drink water and immediately need to go out.
Others will drink water and 10-15 minutes later they need to pee.
When you monitor their water intake you’ll begin to know their patterns.
A question many new dog owners ask is, “should we limit how much water they get to reduce accidents?”
The answer is, if your pup is having accidents, taking their water away isn’t going to solve the issue.
They simply need more training.
Water should be available to your pup at all times throughout the day.
The only exception is before bed.
You can take their water bowl away 1-2 hours before bed and that way nighttime accidents are less frequent.
Just don’t forget to give them their water again in the morning!
Bonus Secret: Make Sure They Empty Their Bladder
If you’re further along in your training or have past experience with potty training this might sound familiar.
You take your pup outside, watch them pee, and right when you bring them back inside, they pee again right in front of you…
What the heck is that all about?
Sometimes puppies get overly excited, whether it be from waking up, playing, or simply from going outside.
Whatever the reason is, it can lead to them not fully emptying the tank.
Many pups pee multiple times when given the chance.
So to avoid this, do your best not to distract them mid-pee.
Wait until they’re completely finished and about to walk away before giving them a treat and praising them.
After, stay outside a little longer and let them sniff around. If it looks like they’ve completely emptied their bladder, head on inside.
Now, there are always exceptions and rare situations where a puppy may be peeing more than they should be.
An example would be if they had a urinary tract infection or another medical condition. If you think your pup might be peeing more than normal it’s best to take them to see a vet.
Nothing brings peace of mind quite like speaking with a vet, you can click here to chat with a vet online right now.
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