Once you have your lovely new puppy safely at home, it's time to start implementing a training schedule. One of the most important areas to cover is that of toilet training, in an attempt to get your new family member used to going outside as soon as possible.
House training a puppy will take patience and consistency on your part, with the process taking approximately 4 to 6 months. This can vary depending on the dog, particularly if they have come from a neglectful home in their early weeks, where they may have become used to being indoors all of the time.
Develop a Toilet Training Routine
It is important to keep to a routine that your puppy will soon get used to. If you start to change the routine too often, they will only become confused and the process will need to start again.
- There are certain times when you should always let your puppy outside for the opportunity to go to the toilet. This should be; first thing in the morning, after meals, following a nap, before they are left alone in the house and last thing at night. For the first few months while their bladder is weaker, you should try to let them out once during the night as well. Puppy training pads are good to have for overnights during the process.
- Take your puppy to the same spot in the garden each time. They will recognise the scent as their toilet area and should continue to return to this following training. If your puppy has an accident indoors, you should clean it as soon as possible, otherwise they may recognise this smell as their toileting area instead.
- Try to attach a word to the toilet process so that they eventually associate it with going outside. Wee wee and poo poo are oldies, but goodies!
- Remember that your puppy will need plenty of encouragement during these early stages. Shouting and punishing are not recommended, as this will only frighten your new dog and could encourage further accidents.
- Rewarding with a treat is often a good way of telling your puppy it has done the right thing. Try not to overdo it though, as they will expect this every time they go to the toilet!
What not to do in Toilet Training
- Do not over feed your puppy, as this can disrupt their digestive system and mean that they do not develop a regular routine.
- Similarly, do not give them a diet that is unsuitable for their breed or size. This can again make their tummy react in an irregular way.
- Never punish them for accidents. If they start to go to the toilet indoors where you can see, calmly lift them up and carry them outside to the appropriate place.
- Don't leave the door open for them to go to the toilet when they like. Although this may seem like a good idea, it doesn't teach them that they need to ask to go outside, it simply offers the garden as an extension of their indoor living space.
- Don't forget that your puppy will need toilet training on walks too, in order to learn the appropriate places to go. Try to get up before them in the morning and take them to the walking area in time for their first toileting of the day. Be ready with some poop bags!
- Don't play games whilst they are outside waiting for the toilet, this will only be distracting and confuse them as to what they should be doing.
Look for signs that your puppy needs to go out and try to act before they have an accident. Sniffing the floor, circling around on the spot, becoming restless and disappearing into a room that they have previously toileted in are a good indicator. With some time and patience, your puppy will be house trained in no time!