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Expedite Potty Training: A Guide to Successful House Breaking

Potty Training (House Breaking) is one of the more easily achievable goals for any puppy parent. If you follow and understand the principles outlined here you will be setting your puppy up for success in a short time.  Remember that accidents are also a part of the learning process, so patience and positive reinforcement from you will go a long way in building your puppy’s confidence.  The following recommendations are coming to you from a canine professional and dog parent with many years of successfully training young puppies to potty outside. I hope this post provides you with the answers you need to get your puppy on the right track.


The Crate Is Your Best Tool

If there is one tool that will greatly impact the speed and success of potty training, that tool is a crate. Whether you choose to use it after is up to you but it is highly recommended and will also simultaneously provide independence and downtime training. Puppies are so cute and it is tempting to always want to have them snuggling with you but it is best to give them lots of crate time in the first few months. You can put the crate close to common family areas such as living room and kitchen. You should opt for a quality life-size crate with a divider so that you can limit space until successful training is achieved and never have to buy a new one.  Limiting the space with the divider works well to discourage puppy from making the other end of the crate the bathroom.  Puppies will prefer not to make a mess of their comfy space.  You will appreciate the help of the crate in the potty training process especially for bed / night time sleeping.



A beautiful bernedoodle puppy sitting in a crate


Establish A Routine

Schedules are vital to success

Training a puppy in general requires a schedule .Schedules instill discipline and builds confidence. There should be a time to play, time to eat, downtime, time to potty.  Routine potty breaks are essential for a young puppy to learn to do their business outside. The rule of thumb is to add 1 hour for every month of age until potty training is successfully achieved as young puppies are not able to control their bladders. This means a two month old puppy should go outside every two hours for potty breaks or you can expect an accident here or there.


Consistent potty breaks

Take your puppy outside immediately after they wake up, immediately after each meal and every two hours throughout the day.  The routine you establish for meal time is up to your personal schedule but you should factor in an immediate potty break after each meal as part of that routine.


Put a feeding schedule in place

As previously stated, it is equally important to have a schedule for feeding.  Give your puppy food and water at the same time(s) every day. Doing this means they’ll likely do their business on this schedule too which makes things easier for both of you.


Take the food and water away after eating / drinking

Do not leave your puppy access to food and water all day.  This is a recipe for disaster.  Offer your puppy food and water at meal times and remove after.  Likewise, when you offer puppy some water throughout the day, remove the water bowl after drinking - and - take puppy outside for a bathroom break immediately.  No food / water three hours before bed time. This will reduce the chances of an accident overnight. If puppy wakes up in the middle of the night, don’t turn it into a play session, simply take puppy outside to their spot and right back to bed. There will come a time when you can leave puppy access to food and water but this won’t come for another few months when bladder control is better and certainly not until potty training is successful


Choose a bathroom spot outside

Pick a place outside where you will always bring puppy to eliminate.  It is VERY important to put your puppy on a LEASH when leading them to this spot and that you wait there until they do something especially during the after-meal potty breaks.  If you are taking puppy right from the crate to potty, put the leash on puppy while still inside the crate and take them outside to the spot.  Feel free to carry puppy in your arms to their outside spot with the leash as even if they are pressed, they will be less likely to “go” in your arms.  Use a word (like “potty”) every time they do their business. This will teach them what you are wanting and/or expecting them to do.


Shower puppy with praise after eliminating outside

Give your puppy lots of praise, kisses, and hugs after they've eliminated outdoors.  Use an excited tone to let them know you are happy with them for doing their business outside.  Remember to do this immediately after they’ve eliminated - not before - not when they are back inside.  They need to know that you are happy with them for going outside and that this is expected and appropriate behavior.  Praising puppy will also go a long way in building confidence.



A Happy Aussiedoodle puppy sitting on the grass outside


Supervision

Roaming

If you are someone who does not like crates or will be giving puppy lots of roaming time, you will need to ensure you are keeping a close eye on your puppy.  Do not allow free roam of the house for puppy to soil everywhere.  You may keep puppy on a 6ft leash when indoors so that puppy can roam but also be close by and within your reach.  This method is also advisable when in the yard.  Treat your yard like your home in this area.  Allow your puppy some freedom in the home and yard when they have become reliably house trained.


Confinement

When you are not able to supervise do well to confine your puppy to a restricted area.


Make plans when you need to be away for long

If you need away for more than 5 hours a day, keep puppy in a confined space and get the help of a friend, family or neighbor to help with feeding or taking puppy outside on your established schedule.   


Accidents Happen…

Remember that while in the process of training there will be accidents.  Be patient with your puppy.  If you catch your puppy in the act, don’t make a big deal of it, just put a leash on them and take them to their area outside. If they go again outside - praise them.  Clean and disinfect the area where the accident happened very well to remove all the smell.  Puppies will go back to the same spot to eliminate again if there is residual smell there.


In summary, keep in mind that in the area of potty training a puppy, consistency is key, effort is required and patience is necessary.  Good luck!
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