By Taro the Shiba Inu – Shorebreak’s Patio Pet-a-PottyUploaded by JohnnyMrNinja, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15677685
So, you got a pupper? Congratulations on bringing into your life what will be an important part of it! It goes without saying that the first and foremost part of having a puppy, is potty training it. But what does that actually look like? Let’s talk about potty training for dogs.
Potty Training – An Urgent Duty!
Potty training is the thing you should do ASAP when getting a new doggo, next to getting food and water for it. Puppers and doggos, like humans, are learning what is acceptable and what isn’t from the moment you bring them into your world. Unlike humans, however, there is no such thing as diapers for them during the infant stages of their lives. Establishing bathroom discipline is therefore crucial.
When you defer potty training them, you have sent them the message, that it is OK to pee and poo wherever. That will take even more time and effort for them to unlearn, as well as create a biohazard in your home. This has happened to my mom’s house when I was still living there: years ago, we set down training pads, but nobody (including myself at the time) was willing to, or thought to, commit to properly, and thoroughly, housebreaking the doggos. Because of this, they always go pee and poo in the same general spots in the house, and that has not only the house in a state of stinking disaster, but creates obviously unsanitary conditions, has on a few occasions sent me nauseous, and has even irreversibly damaged the floors they did their business on.
Proper potty training, including housebreaking, is heckin crucial!
Proper potty training starts with a few things, a few tools, and the right mindset.
Supplies you’ll need to potty train your pupper/doggo
To ensure housetraining success: you’ll need the following:
- pet cleaning supplies. This looks like enzymatic cleaners, for cleaning up messes. When a doggo smells previous signs of dog pee or poo, the dog thinks “this is the place where I can and should do my business”. This is how things started to literally get messy back at home.
- crate/confinement space. For a pupper, this means a fenced-in area, or a crate. For a lorg doggo, this could mean a small room. The point of this space, is to signify to the doggo that they are not to potty in the same space where they sleep. Doggos are generally clean animals, that hate urine-soaked floors where they have to sleep/live. Confinement reinforces that.
This crate/confinement space needs to be just large enough for them to sleep, lay, stand, and turn. You don’t want it to be any larger than that, as they might just pee in one corner and go sleep in the opposite, especially if they’re a puppy.
- small treats for rewarding good behavior. Whether it comes to pottying, walking, or just doing tricks, doggos respond far better to positive incentive, espeically treats, than they ever will to scolding, and night-and-day over adverse methods that involve pain compliance.
Check out these treats to get started!
- a leash for taking the doggos outside! This is HUGE. Doggos are meant to do their business outside. The last thing you’ll want them to get in the habit of doing, is using the bathroom INSIDE your home/apartment! Unless you have a fenced-in back yard or something, chances are, you are going to need a leash.
How to use the training pads
Training pads are the first and foremost step of housetraining a pupper. This is one of the things you have to get right, from the very beginning.
First, you want to throw these all over your house/apartment like confetti. Rather, you should have only a couple of them out, in a designated spot. This spot is to be the only spot in the house where your doggos are to pee or poop, nowhere else! Also, this spot is meant to be a fallback, not an end goal to build up to. The end goal is to get your doggos to relieve themselves outside!
Second, you’ll want to, of course, throw these out when they get used, and clean the spots with enzymatic cleaner. Get that smell out ASAP, as you will, at some point, need to wean your doggo off of going there. Again, the end goal is no peeing or pooping in the house.
Third, understand that these pads are only temporary measure, analogous to the potty training mini-toilets we sit our little human kids on until they are old enough to use a real toilet. In the case of doggos, the “real toilet” is outside in the dirt and grass.
How to use crates
I’ve covered much of this already.
The crate needs to be just big enough for your doggo/pupper to sit, lay down, stand up, and turn around. Your doggo will instinctively want to keep this space clean. Hence, when your doggo wants out of the crate, it means to go outside to relieve themselves ASAP. Do not hesitate! Grab its leash, put it on, and take the doggo outside ASAP!!
Crates are the recommended tools to housetrain a puppy, but they’re not the only form of confined spaces you can use to do the job. If putting a dog in a crate is any bit repulsive to you, consider a fenced-in area. It’ll be just like a fenced-in area for a human toddler, and can even be made to look and feel like one! Keep in mind that, when you get one, and set it up, the same rules apply about proper spacing to avoid accidents.
What if my pup has an accident!?
Stay calm! There’s not much to fret about!
Remember that negative reinforcement doesn’t work. Hitting the dog with a newspaper will only buy your dog’s distrust/resentment of you, so don’t do it. Don’t even think to scold the poor pupper; they’ll just think you’re crazy.
This problem is best solved with preventative measures.
First, if your doggo has an accident, just clean it up and make sure you thoroughly, and deep-down, clean that spot. Get any trace of that odor out.
Second, you don’t want to cut your pup loose too soon. Training of anything to anyone (human or doggo) takes time, and ending that training too soon is just an incident of Murphy’s Law waiting to happen. You need to make heckin sure the doggo is doing perfect with its crate or confined area, with respect to potty habits, before even thinking to let them roam the house/apartment. Afterward, you want to maintain that schedule, to ingrain it into their minds, and only then can they be allowed to roam the house freely.
Third, pay close attention to the dog’s diet. Puppies need far less food, and have far weaker bladders and stomachs than adult doggos do. Hence, you should more closely monitor them, and take them out to potty more. Either way, make sure they eat no more than three times a day.
Make sure you feed the dog(s) only food that you know will agree with their stomachs or the rest of their bodies. For example, there are foods that may be causing allergies. Some foods might even be causing heart problems! As is the case in humans, there are foods that may upset your dog’s stomach, and many ingredients we can ingest that can be ghastly, or even lethal, if they were to ingest, and these foods/ingredients will cause many accidents.
What to do once your doggo is outside
In many cases, if you’ve taken the dog outside, they’ll relieve themselves in a matter of minutes. Sometimes, however, they might need a little bit of encouragement.
If they use the bathroom outside, reward them. You want this to happen, and become habit! Make sure to give the good boys and gorls treats!!
Let them explore/sniff around. This is crucial! They need to know their surroundings, and just like with humans, they won’t go in areas they are unsure of/don’t know too much.
Right when they are about to go, use verbal cues, such as “Go potty!” to encourage it. Do not spam the verbal cues.
The right potty training makes a world of difference
Do you want to have an accident-prone, undisciplined doggo, and your living quarters a biohazardous hard-to-maintain mess, or do you want to have a truly good boye/gorl, who knows when and where to potty, and a relatively clean (within reason: you have pets after all) house? All of the difference starts with the right potty training regimen, the right diet, and right when that doggo first comes into your living quarters.