Potty Training

Bringing home a young puppy or a dog that is new to your home? Have some paper towel and some cleaner handy! It’s inevitable that your new puppy/dog will go potty on your floor. When a dog goes into a new place, there are so many new smells and things going on, that peeing on things just seems to make them feel more at ease.

Have a plan in place that includes the following:

  • A Word to use so the dog understands, like “outside”, or “potty” – just one word, and use it consistently.
  • A Crate – for a 15″ inch Beagle, buy a wire crate or one that looks like an end table and can be a part of your decor. For a puppy, put a big pillow or a puppy size bed in it to take up the space – only leave a very small area for the pup – keep it tight until they are fully potty trained. If there is extra space in the crate, the puppy will have accidents.
  • A Spot, carefully chosen outside that you will want your dog to use as the toilet – they will use this spot the rest of their life. Plan out the best location to keep poop out of the way and easy to pick up.
  • Pooper Scooper & Bags– the nice ones are the metal handled scoop and a separate spade, or you can use the cheap plastic ones. Buy some doggy poop bags too – they are super cheap and easy to use, or just use plastic grocery bags – but PLEASE pick up your puppy/dog poop – both at home and in public. Not only is it a hazard to step in, but dog poop carries parasites and other diseases, sometimes deadly diseases, so picking it up immediately helps keep your yard healthy, and any other dogs in the area won’t be exposed either. 
  • Observation – learn your new puppy/dog’s behavior – what does his cry sound like when he is sad?  Happy? when he has to go potty?  What does he do right before he goes potty?  there are tell-tale signs and you, as the new owner, are responsible to understand that.  You only have a few seconds before an accident happens inside the house.  The only way to properly potty train is to take the pup outside as SOON as he THINKS about going potty – not during or after.  You have to know BEFORE it happens.  Take him outside often until you learn it.  It’s really you that is being trained!

When you arrive home with your new pal, take them immediately to the potty spot outside. Let them sniff it out, and say your “word”, just once, and don’t talk to them after that. Give them a few minutes to see if they go potty.

Bring the pup/dog in the house, to your “area” that is already set up with your crate and crate pad, maybe a new toy or homemade treat in the crate, and you can have a blanket or a covering over the crate – you want this to be your new puppy/dog’s favorite place in the house. I personally have wire crates right now set up in my bedroom (see picture above) and in the living room – eventually I want to buy some that look like part of the furniture (below) – www.chewy.com has these for about $120 I believe, and if you search, there are really nice ones that will match your decor and you can use them as end tables too. Put the pup in the crate as soon as you walk in the door – IMMEDIATELY. Now, take your coats off, get situated. Even if the puppy is crying, just ignore and carry on your business for about 5-10 minutes. I move my puppy to the room I am in so they can see me and I can talk to them. Even if they cry I leave them in there and do not take them out unless they are NOT crying.

After 5-10 minutes, Get your shoes back on, and when the pup is NOT crying, get the puppy out of the crate, and immediately go outside to the potty spot. Say your “word”. Be silent, let the pup smell around. Hopefully by now, the new pup has at least peed once in the outside “spot”. You get the idea – do this over and over, especially if its a very young puppy, and even if it’s an adult. Do not just let the new puppy/dog wander around the house immediately.

Once the ‘crate training’ has been done several times that first day, your pup begins to get the idea that the crate is it’s den. IT’S DEN. The next time he comes in from outside, put him in his crate for a few minutes, and then let him into the room to play with you. Just for a short period. After a bit of play, back outside to the “Potty Spot”. Say your “Word”.

Over and Over, this becomes a habit for the new puppy/dog. You want him comfortable in his crate, and you want him to have very few accidents in the house. Do not scold him for having an accident. Just keep taking him outside and back in, outside and back in. Week by week you will see improvement and understanding. You can start to introduce him to new rooms in your house for brief periods at a time. If you open up your entire house to the pup right away, it’s too much and they will go potty without you even knowing, and potty training will take longer.

A puppy cannot physically hold his urine and feces until they are about 4 months old – that’s 16-18 weeks people. It’s your job, as the new owner, to make sure they get outside to do their business and to train them appropriately to be in your home. Puppies are not fully mature, fully adults, until they are three (3) years old. The first year is critical – train this puppy/new dog every day for about 10-15 minutes a day, and you will have the best adult dog ever!