Potty Training a New Puppy
Each breed of puppy develops bladder and bowel control at different ages. Usually, puppies do not develop full bladder and bowel control until they are six months of age. So, until they are six months of age, do not expect perfection. Do not punish your puppy for what he cannot control. Your puppy is just like a human infant; bladder and bowel control is developed with age.
Pick a Potty Spot
Pick a potty spot where your puppy will relieve herself. Since puppies do not have very good bladder and bowel control, pick a spot that is easily accessible at all times. Choose a spot that is away from your puppy's food and water. Puppies usually do not like to go to the bathroom by their food, water or bedding. The potty spot can be outdoors or indoors. If you choose an indoor potty spot, place a wee-wee pad on the ground at the desired spot. Be consistent--do not move the potty area around or you will confuse your puppy.
Teaching Your Puppy to Use the Potty Spot
Bring your puppy over to the potty spot and praise him. Whenever your puppy wakes up or after he eats (times when puppies usually go to the bathroom), bring him to the potty spot and praise him. If your puppy relieves himself somewhere other than the designated potty spot, soak a paper towel in the urine or bring a piece of feces to the designated area and show your puppy while praising him. Clean up the potty accident thoroughly with a natural enzyme pet-odor spray to fully remove the odor. If the smell is left, your puppy will continue to relieve himself in that spot. Whenever your puppy successfully goes to the bathroom in the designated area, praise him and give him treats as a reward. Clean potty areas that become soiled. When training puppies, always leave a little bit of urine or feces in the potty area so the puppy knows he is supposed to go the bathroom there. If you potty train your puppy to go indoors and you later want to train him to go outdoors, move his wee-wee pad to the backyard. Bring your puppy to the new spot in the backyard and show it to him. Regularly show your puppy the new potty spot until he is regularly using it. Expect accidents at first. Once your puppy is used to going to the bathroom in the new outside spot and is no longer having accidents, the wee-wee pad can be removed. Note: Do not switch from an indoor to an outdoor potty area until your puppy is fully potty trained.
Use positive reinforcement when potty training your puppy. Do not punish or get upset with your puppy for making a mistake. Punishing your puppy will only confuse him. Instead, praise your puppy when he succeeds. Puppies respond and learn better from praise.
When Potty Training Is Not Working
A puppy may take six or more months to fully become potty trained. If after eight months your puppy does not become potty trained, there may be a problem. There are two causes for a puppy to not potty train. The first cause is a medical problem. Some puppies and dogs have medical problems that make it so they do not have bladder and bowel control. Take your puppy to a veterinarian and explain the potty-training situation so that the veterinarian can examine your puppy to determine if a medical problem exists. The second cause for a lack of success in potty training is humans. If humans do not give clear directions in a calm manner and do not use positive reinforcement, they can confuse their puppies. Puppies and dogs want to please their humans. But if they are confused, they do not know how to. If potty training your puppy has not been successful and your veterinarian has ruled out any medical problems, evaluate your potty training methods to make sure you are giving your puppy clear signals and are using positive reinforcement.