Puppies are the physical embodiment of pure joy, but they still have to do their "business" just like any other animal. In addition to playing with your new four-legged friend, it's important to start potty training as soon as possible. Potty training can be frustrating at times, but there's no reason to make it harder on yourself than you need to.
We've assembled a list of some of the most common and easily fixed housebreaking mistakes you might be making. With a few tweaks in your training routine, you will end up with a happy pup and even happier floors.
You're giving your pup too much freedom
Nobody wants to be a helicopter parent, but with new puppies, it's crucial to keep a close eye on them. It only takes a second for your dog to wander off and have an accident in the house. Constant supervision is needed when you're housebreaking your pup, so don't take your eyes off them for a minute!
Crate training will help you know where your puppy is and what they're doing. Keeping your pup in a crate or play pen while you can't watch them, especially at night, will help you potty train your pup faster and avoid accidents all around your home.
Pay attention to clues and cues
Your pup will definitely tell you when they have to pee. Sure they won't say it, but their bodies will. A distracted puppy, or one that suddenly wants to wander off probably has to go potty. Since you can't reasonably cover every square inch of your house in puppy pee pads, the better alternative is to simply pay attention to your dog's cues. Eventually the dog will equate their need to pee with your reaction. From there they will associate the cue with going to the correct place to potty.
Understand that your pup is a baby
It will take time for your little love to develop bladder control. Don't expect wondrous results overnight; they're little and everything is new, including the expectations you're putting on them for potty training. Make sure you take your puppy out at regular intervals and don't let them go too long without the opportunity to relieve theirself.
Additionally, it isn't wise to punish your puppy for little accidents, because your dog may equate your negative reaction with peeing in general. Instead, use positive reinforcement with treats or affection when they display the wanted behavior, like going potty outside or on their indoor potty. Again, this is an example where you need to understand that you're teaching a baby; be kind and patient.
You're using traditional pee pads
While you don't want your dog to have carte blanche to simply pee on your floors, puppy potty pads aren't a great choice. For one, they tend to teach the dog that peeing in the house is correct and you obviously don't want that. Additionally, they hold the smell of pee and even though they're absorbent, the smell can linger and further confuse the dog.
A similar idea that is more in line with teaching your dog to pee outside is dog grass. Essentially a small patch of potty grass delivered to your house, these services provide a natural potty pad for your pup. The dog is still trained to pee in the same spot as with a pee pad, but it's representative of the outside. Fresh grass absorbs the smell better and reinforces their understanding that we do not do our business on the carpet, tile, or heardwood floor.
Use an ensymatic cleaner to clean up accidents
Dogs have an incredible sense of smell and tend to like to do their business in the same area they've gone before. If you're not thoroughly cleaning up accidents with enzymatic cleaners, your dog will still smell their urine and go pee there again. One of the worst types of cleaners you can use is amonia, which naturally smells like urine and will not solve any of your puppy's accident problems.
You've gotta reward your buddy!
Remember that you're teaching a child; children love to be praised and rewarded for a good job.
Actually, everyone likes to be praised and rewarded for a good job, and your puppy is no exception. Have treats and loving words ready for when they go potty outside or indoor grass and it will make the entire process of housebreaking faster and easier.
Speaking of praising language, you need to have a potty phrase that your dog associates with going outside. It can be as simple as "you gotta go potty?" but it needs to be consistent and clear that it is your trigger to take them outside to pee. This will very quickly reinforce what you're trying to do.
Stop making mistakes so your puppy stops, too
A few minor errors in your training process can dramatically hamper your potty training goals. Not using potty phrases, and not reinforcing their good behavior will slow everything down. Utilizing ammonia-based cleaners will result in more accidents and longer training. Be ready with treats, praise and a better alternative to potty pads and you and your dog will breeze right through housebreaking!