Toilet training is such an important part of starting off on the right paw for your new puppy, as bad habits once learnt can be hard to break. It requires patience and commitment from you – puppies learn fast when you are there outside with them praising them for their good efforts!
The first place your pup should visit at your house is the lawn or place where you want it to toilet. Let it sniff around, and wait for it to toilet. When it does, give praise, a pat and a puppy treat. The odour left here reminds it to toilet next time.
- Take it out to toilet often. A young puppy has very poor bladder control and needs to go every few hours. Be alert to signs like sniffing and circling and take it out immediately. Always take the pup out:
- after waking in the morning
- after naps
- after meals
- after playing or training
- after being left alone
- immediately before being put to bed.
- Don’t ‘let it outside’ – go outside with your pup to the toilet! It soon associates toileting outside and praise, and will learn very quickly.
- Keep the puppy in a confined space inside so you always know what it is up to. When you can’t be there, crate the pup. Your puppy will respect this new den and will avoid soiling it.
- Correct your puppy kindly. Accidents will happen. Remember that shouting, scolding and punishment serve no purpose and will only confuse your new puppy and delay learning. If you catch it mid-act, simply say, ‘No!’ and immediately take oyur puppy outside. If you find a puddle or poo, clean it up and resolve to watch puppy better next time – the pup does not learn from being scolded about a puddle it did previously or having its nose rubbed in it.
- Teach your pup to toilet on command. Each time it is in the act of weeing or pooing, use a command like ‘hurry up’ or ‘be quick’, in an upbeat tone of voice. After a few weeks you’ll notice when you say the command your puppy will toilet – and be sure to praise it for its accomplishments!
- The last feeding of the day should be done several hours before confinement for the night. By controlling the feeding schedule, exercise sessions, confinement periods and trips outdoors to the toilet area, your puppy will quickly develop a reliable schedule for toileting.