Toilet training your dog is an essential part to being a dog owner – whether you buy your dog as a puppy or purchase an adult pooch from the pound that needs guidance on when and where to go to the loo, every single dog can be taught that urinating or defecating inside your house is a no no. It can take a little time and some patience, but a great deal of toilet training is simply down to taking the trouble to potty train even the most stubborn and obstinate of dogs.
One of the best tips to remember while potty training your dog is to keep to a routine. Here, in this essential guide to potty training, we look at simple ways to build toilet training into your and your dog’s day. The earlier you can start in your dog’s life, the better. This not only helps them, but it also helps you initiate this routine into your life. We also suggest using one of the best indoor dog potties or pee pads on the market at the moment which can also be used when potty training your dog.
Training A Puppy To Urinate Outside
Arguably, training a puppy as to when and where to go to the toilet, is easier than training a grown dog. The trick is to get both yourself and your puppy into practicing regularly. The ease of training a puppy comes from the fact that they have simple needs that are easy to foresee. In short, puppies need the toilet a lot more than you would initially think. Their bladder control is weak so that they really need to be taken outside every hour, or half hour if you can.
A good rule of thumb is to take your puppy out immediately after they have woken up in the morning, or even after a nap. This may sound demanding and limiting for you, but it is only for a short while, relatively speaking, and you will soon reap the rewards compared to what the result will be if you don’t take the time and effort now to train them.
Some owners have intentions of only letting their dogs go to the loo when out in public green spaces, but when you have a puppy, this may have to be your garden until you can start training them to go elsewhere when their bladder control has improved.
Key points in the day to note when toilet training a puppy is that when you feed them, you are waking up their insides. Food gets their digestive systems working and so soon after eating your puppy will need and want to urinate. Most puppies will then want to defecate about 15 minutes after that. Whilst this obviously depends on your own puppy, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the clock when you have fed them as it means that you can take them outside immediately and wait until they have gone to the toilet. It may sound like a hassle to clock watch, but it is far more pleasant a tactic than finding your puppy has defecated indoors making you angry and also embarrassing them – dogs do not like to go to the toilet where they live.
One more thing to note is that in general, puppies have no way of stopping themselves from urinating. The only way for them to exert bladder control is for their bladders not to be dangerously full forcing them to urinate wherever they are at that moment. In fact, most puppies will need to go to the toilet at least every couple of hours – often more in very small breeds. In addition to this, puppies are prone to urinating in times out of their control when they are simply too excited and happy. If your puppy urinates when you greet it, try your best to make your greetings less excitable to him or her. Perhaps by ignoring him or her in the first instance, or take him or her outside straight away.
Some owners and dog trainers find it helpful to keep a diary of when their new puppy sleeps or goes to the toilet. It can help owing to the fact that it starts to let owners see when their dogs actually urinate or defecate. It starts to reveal any patterns of behavior that may start to emerge the older your puppy gets.
Another great tip that is used by trainers world over is to repeat words like ‘wee wees’ or ‘toilet time’ when outside with your dog and they are, indeed, going to the toilet. This means that hopefully at some point in the future, these words can almost be used as commands so that your dog can be told to go to the loo at more opportune times. This is incredibly helpful if you are going out for a long time yourself, or if you are going on a long car journey where your dog may not have free access to outside space to urinate in. It’s recommended to use different words for each action so that your dog knows the difference between the two.
Finally, when training a puppy as to when and where to use the loo, ensure you go with them so that you can give them their rightful reward. Soon, they will associate a treat with going to the toilet outside so will start repeating this action so that they get their reward. This is key to training a puppy in the art of going to the toilet outside. Positive reinforcement is always advocated by trainers and dog behaviorists as the best way forward in achieving having a dog that can be left indoors by themselves without fear of them ruining the carpets and floors.
Remember too that indoor dog potties are also good ideas for dogs that are sometimes left alone for long periods of time where they cannot be taken outside every hour. This encourages them to go in the same place and thus saves your floors. The best indoor dog potty will have ammonia in it as this smell encourages them to urinate in that spot.
Related Post: The Best Dog Poop Bags
How To Train A Mature Dog To Go To The Loo Outside
Training a mature dog to go to the loo outside when it has grown up doing otherwise can be a tough habit to break, but it’s not impossible. All it needs is a great deal of patience on the side of the new owner. The same tricks above can be used, along with the knowledge that your mature dog does not know any better when he or she does go outside. Positive reinforcement as a tool to ensure they know when they go outside, good things happen, is key to cracking the lifelong habit they originally formed.
Find out ways that your dog responds positively to training. Some will be food led, others will simply love being praised or played with. Some pooches will love a mixture of all three, but try to keep it the same each time they go outside and urinate or defecate successfully. This is especially true of any mature dogs that have been poorly treated in the past who are afraid of humans. They need to be taken outside regularly and given as much constant access to the outside as possible. Some timid and abused dogs will be too nervous to ask to go outside otherwise.
Easy Mistakes To Make When Toilet Training Your Puppy
While it is easy to get into good habits when training your puppy in anything, let alone in toilet training, it can also be very very easy to fall into bad habits and start falling prey to some common pitfalls when trying to potty train your new dog. Here are some common mistakes that many well-meaning owners make so that you can be sure of steering clear of them.
Many of us are scared that if we do not feed our dogs enough, they will lead a miserable life and starve to death. However, the flip side of this is that many of us overfeed our puppies who actually need a very bland and calorie controlled diet so that they do not suffer from any upset stomachs. When they have an upset stomach, not only is this uncomfortable for them, it also leads them to have diarrhea so that they often do not have any choice over where they go to the toilet. This can cause them to be nervous when they need the toilet and so make the issue of toilet training more difficult than it should be. Simply by following the instructions on the side of the kibble packet, you will ensure that you don’t overfeed your dog. They often need less food than we think too.
- Giving them inappropriate food
This is a sure fire way to upset your dog’s stomach – whether they are a puppy or a more mature dog. Inappropriate food will often include food that is not formulated for dogs, like cat food or human food that is simply too rich for them. If they are a puppy, try to use puppy food until they have fully matured to ensure they are getting the right type of diet. With an upset stomach, toilet training a puppy can be very difficult.
Related Post: The Best Dog Foods for Puppies
- Reprimanding your dog if they go to the loo indoors
Your puppy will quite simply not be toilet trained within a day. This means that for a few weeks, at least, your puppy or mature dog will still urinate or defecate indoors on occasion if they are caught unawares. If this happens, it is imperative for the owner not to reprimand the dog. This is for several reasons. Firstly, negative association often scare mongers your dog into behaving which will affect the bond you are able to achieve with him or her. Secondly, it can mean that your dog is too worried to urinate or defecate in front of you which can make matters worse.
- Feeding at irregular or wrong times
If you feed your dog at irregular times, it can be difficult to then foresee your puppy’s need to go in the future. If you feed your dog at regular times, it is easier for their stomach to digest as well as doing so in a routine fashion so that you know when it will need to go outside or not. In addition, new dog owners should try to steer clear of feeding their dog too late so that they need to go to the toilet, in particular with the need to defecate, in the middle of the night. This can be embarrassing to them if they do not tell you or wake you in time, or if they do, it can be irritating while you are resting. Feeding them that little bit earlier will stop this from occurring.
Teaching Your Dog To Go To The Loo When On A Walk
Some dog owners are surprised to find that their dogs often won’t go to the loo when taken on a walk, on the lead or off the lead. What surprises them further is that their dog goes to the loo the moment the step their paws into the back garden. Whilst odd at first, this is actually fairly understandable. As an owner who has followed the above steps, you have actually trained them that your garden is the only space for them to relieve themselves. Being loyal and devoted animals, as well as creatures of habit, it is not uncommon for young or inexperienced dogs to go to the loo when at home.
Good ways to stop this happening – as your dog should know that it is ok to go to the loo whenever they are outside – is to take your puppy out for a walk the moment you wake up so that they have not had a chance to go outside for their wee when they, themselves, have woken up. Then, try not to take your dog back to your home before they have weed elsewhere. Remember to reward your pooch when they do the wee or defecate outside on their walk so they know they have not done wrong. Other good ways to teach your dog to go to the loo when out on a walk is to take them on walks with other dogs who are already toilet trained. Dogs learn a great deal from each other and this is one of the best ways for a dog to realize that it is fine for them to use the park as a place that they can go to the loo.