How To Toilet Train a Puppy
We all know how important it is to train our puppy to go to the toilet where we want them to quickly, but how do we toilet train puppies easily? Firstly, remember that all puppies are different, some will pick up good toileting habits quickly, some will take a fair bit longer and require a lot of patience from their owners.
So, what are the most important points to remember when starting puppy toilet training? Number one is definitely where do you want your puppy to toilet, this will depend on where you live, if you have a house then the back yard will generally be your preferred toilet area, but do you care if he goes anywhere in the backyard, or will you have a specific corner for toileting in to make clean up easier? If you live in an apartment or unit you may prefer to purchase an indoor toilet mat for your puppy to use.
No matter where you want your puppy to go you also need to consider how often your puppy will need to toilet. The younger the puppy the less bladder control they have and the more often you will need to take them outside to relieve themselves, but this is also a great thing as it gives you more chances to toilet train your puppy!
So when should a young puppy go outside for the chance to toilet? As soon as they wake up, after eating, after playing and at least every 2 hours when awake. As they get older they can have this stretched out until you only need to take them out a few times a day. Most puppies can hold on for between 5 and 8 hours at night, given they don’t have a chance to move around too much, this is reduced during the day when they are more active.
And the last important point regards cleaning up those accidents in the house. There are so many products on the market to clean up puppy mess and remove odours, if you would like to purchase these items feel free, but most people have everything they need to clean up puppy accidents in the house already. Household disinfectant is great for hard floors, and laundry detergent works well on carpets, followed by spraying with an odour absorber/remover like Fabreese, some people also use vinegar to remove odours. But, and here is the crucial point to remember, DO NOT use anything ammonium based to clean up accidents. Ammonia smells very similar to urine to puppies resulting in ammonium based cleaners making your house smell like a giant toilet to your puppy.
Puppies can be sneaky wanting to toilet in private and this should be taken into consideration with your chosen toileting place if you are struggling to have your puppy toilet outside rather than in the house. Some puppies are happy to toilet anywhere, wide open space, watched, alone, in the rain, full sun, etc; others are a little more discerning and prefer privacy and security when they are occupied with clearing their bowels. These puppies will often feel more comfortable having an area that is protected, away from prying eyes and to be left in peace to do their business, once they have an area they are comfortable with they will begin to toilet outside quickly and easily.
Another point to remember is that some puppies are very clean creatures, they don’t like to be anywhere particularly dirty, or to have to get to close to their own excreta, this is especially important in small yards. If your puppy walks into your yard and turns its nose up at the smell of its own poop it is a really good idea to clean the area very frequently. Most people in single dog households prefer to do this weekly (the frequency increases as dog numbers increase), however some puppies find this overwhelming and they try to find a “less messy” area to toilet. Then of course, we have the opposite in some puppies, they love the taste of poop and will clean up the mess themselves before giving you a big poopy kiss. This dogs may require at least daily cleaning of their toilet area to keep everyone happy.
Now I can hear many of you say that you won’t worry about that, you’ll just teach your puppy to toilet when out on walks so your yard is clean all the time. If this is your preference you will need to ensure you always carry poop bags with you and clean up after your dog when out and about, you will also need to ensure you walk your dog at least twice per day when they are fully grown to give them time out of their yard to do their business. But what if your puppy doesn’t like toileting elsewhere?
Many dogs with low self-confidence do not feel comfortable toileting on walks, or they may only pee, but prefer the comfort and security of their backyard to poop. What can you do if your dog is one of these few? Well you have two options, you can accept your dog prefers to toilet at home and continually clean up the yard, or you can work on your dogs confidence levels with a professional trainer to help them feel safe toileting in public areas.
This may seem a little strange to some, and you would think that eventually they will just get used to it, but it isn’t the case. I once owned a Siberian Husky that would occasionally pee on walks, but not once did he poop out there, this wasn’t a problem for me as I much preferred my poop scoop at home to the poop bags when out but it did become a problem for him over time. This young man was only comfortable pooping at home, at work and at my parents house, until we headed off for a months holiday over East. We made it all the way to Victoria before his need to poop finally overcame is worry about pooping in a strange place, for 5 days he crossed his legs and waited for us to get home. You can imagine the mess when he finally gave up and toileted I’m sure. From that day on he would toilet at home, at work, at my parents place and at sleddog races (no matter where they were in Australia).
So remember, some puppies take longer than others to finally control their bladder and bowels and be able to hold on for long periods, as well as understand your house isn’t a toilet, they should go outside. But with consistency, patience and understanding your puppy will grow up to know where to toilet and will make you proud.