How To: Potty Training

Potty training is something many owners find frustrating, especially with older, newly adopted dogs. Potty training is difficult because it takes a considerable amount of patience and consistency that isn’t always easy to achieve. It is, however, a necessary skill for all dogs that live in our homes. 

Myths About Potty Training

How to Potty Train

1)  Kennel Train. Kennel training allows you to control your dog/puppy’s access to the rest of the house. If the kennel is properly sized, your dog/puppy will not potty in the kennel. Dogs are fairly clean animals and will not potty where they eat or sleep. By kennel training, you encourage the dog to learn to hold it until they can get out of the kennel to potty elsewhere. However, it’s important to remember that puppies in particular have very small bladders and can’t be expected to hold it for as long as an adult dog, so they will need more frequent potty breaks. It’s also important to avoid leaving anything absorbent in the kennel. Many dogs will realize that they can potty on a blanket or bed then move it to the side so they don’t have to lay in it.

2) Use the Leash. Any time your dog/puppy is outside of their kennel have them on leash. Ideally, you’ll be attached to the other end (I will use a carabiner to clip the leash to my belt loops) so that your dog/puppy can’t wander away to potty. Having them attached to you also gives you more opportunities to pick up on any signs that they may need to potty.

3) Reward for Going Potty in the Right Place. Every time your dog/puppy potties where they’re supposed to, get very excited about it and reward them with play or food. This will help communicate to your dog/puppy that they made a good decision.

4) Avoid Punishing for Accidents. Punishing your dog/puppy for having accidents in the house can make them want to avoid going potty in front of you. If you catch them in the act, calmly take them outside and give them the chance to finish outside. When they potty outside, give them lots of praise for doing it in the right area. If you find the accident after they’ve already finished, calmly clean it up and reflect on what you could have done differently to get them outside in time.

5) Take Frequent Potty Breaks. The age of the dog will determine how often they need to go out to potty. Some general tips are:

With puppies, start out by taking them out every hour during the day and gradually increase the amount of time in 30 minute increments as they get older and develop better bladder control. Over night, teach them that whining is the way to get outside to potty. Make the potty breaks as boring as possible and put them right back into the kennel when they’re done.

If you’re struggling with potty training and need a little more one-on-one help, please feel free to book a session. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.