Want to learn how to potty train a puppy in just a few days? Then read on.
House training your puppy can seem time-consuming, daunting, messy, and plain stressful. However, there are several methods listed below which will make the process so much simpler for you.
House training a full-grown dog is different from potty training a puppy. A puppy has a much smaller bladder, a much shorter attention span, and much higher needs regarding care, attention, playing, and companionship. Get a quiet full-grown dog if you will be away from your home a lot. Puppies require companions or playmates and they will be very lonely if you’re gone a lot.
Another thing to consider is the fact that puppies love to feel accepted by their pack. They do this by gnawing on each other, working each other over with their teeth. Form a claw with your hand and scratch and rub your puppy all over to calm him or her down. It’s one of the guaranteed ways to make your dog feel calm, loved, and like they belong in your wolf pack.
The 5 Methods
Method #1: The Timing Method
The Timing Method is a great way to instill a sense of time, routine, and “holding it” in your new dog. Remember to use a method for a smaller puppy (such as Method #3 below) instead of The Timing Method when dealing with puppies who are under the age of 6 months.
Step 1. Assume a 15 Minute Need-to-Pee Time. When your dog has eaten and drunk water at mealtimes (twice a day), you will need to wait 15 minutes (or sooner if they have a habit of pottying sooner) and then put them on a leash to go outside. He won’t particularly need to pee or poop right away, so you’ll have to wait outside with him (or continue walking around the park with him) until he does need to go. Once that has happened, praise him, pet him, and bring him back inside the house.
Step 2. Restrict Space. When indoors, keep your puppy in a small area for playing and an even smaller area for sleeping. This is done by putting up a small pet fence covering a portion of your living room and placing his bed and bowls on the same side, right beside each other. Take away the bowls between feeding and watering (twice a day).
Step 3. Always Reward for Peeing and Pooping Outside. Only give a puppy puppy-sized treats if you give treats as a reward. A grown-dog-sized treat might be another partial meal to a puppy, thus continuing the pooping cycle even longer. Always praise vocally and rub your puppy down when he pees and poops outside.
Step 4. Get Accustomed to Keeping Puppy Outside at Night or Getting Up Often at Night. Puppies have very small bladders (especially the younger ones), so you will either have to get used to getting up throughout the night to take your puppy outside or you will have to set up a little play area, fenced off, of course, outside to keep your puppy in at night.
Step 5. This Method does Not Allow for Puppy Pads or Newspaper. The Timing Method is built around someone who can actually get up and take their puppy outside on a regular basis. Even if you work at home, this can be a huge distraction and seem like a time waster. If you have a young pup or hate being interrupted, use Method #3 below. In the meantime, clean up all spillage with Apple Cider Vinegar (which breaks down faint urine smells which only your dog can smell) and then wash the vinegar smell up with regular soap and water.
The Timing Method works well for dogs which are at least 8 months old. Assuming that they will need to go to the bathroom about 15 minutes after eating and drinking is what makes this particular method so efficient. Only feed and water them twice a day and then take away the bowls until next time.
Method #2: The Frequent Freedom Method
The Frequent Freedom Method assumes that, given a choice, your dog would prefer to defecate outdoors rather than in her own home. However, if given the full run of the house, your puppy may find a dark corner and just do her business there. Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep her space small and difficult to find space to urinate in.
Step 1. This Method requires You to Wait 3 or 4 Months Before Training Your Puppy. Younger dogs simply cannot hold it long enough to go all night on this method. Therefore, you will have to use paper training methods or wait to get your dog before this The Frequent Freedom Method. Dogs which are at least 3 or 4 months old can hold it all night long and go in the morning.
Step 2. Make Frequent Visits Outside throughout the Day. This method will require that you are available at home and free to take your dog out frequently throughout the day, maybe once every 30 minutes to 1 hour all throughout the day. By frequently visiting the outdoors, smelling her own and other dogs’ messes, and knowing for use that she will go out a lot in the future, your dog will develop the habit of at least waiting until she back outdoors to go again.
Step 3. Keep Her Indoors and Confined at Night. The Frequent Freedom Method also requires that she not go outside at night and consider nighttime a complete and total downtime. Take her outside first thing in the morning, even if she doesn’t seem to need to go, and the last thing at night. By make her visits outdoors so frequent during the day, she is confident that she’ll go out again soon and will, again, be able to hold it until then. By keeping her confined, you are confining the space where she might actually defecate or urinate, which will make morning clean up that much more predictable.
Step 4. Clean Her Indoor Space Every Morning so that She does Not Get Used To Her Smell Indoors. ALWAYS use Apple Cider Vinegar when cleaning dog or cat mess of any kind. The enzymes in the vinegar break down the tiny urine molecules which all pets can smell, even if humans can’t smell them. Your pet of any type is likely to go in a place with a urine smell you use Apple Cider Vinegar to clean it up. Always clean your dog’s space every morning after you take her outside, so that she doesn’t think that it’s okay to continue to go in the place in the future.
Step 5. Reinforce Outdoor Smell by Taking Her to the Same Place for Each Potty. Whenever you take your puppy outside, always go the same place FIRST. This will reinforce in puppy’s brain that THIS is the place to go potty and to poop. After she has sniffed and done her business, then you may go ahead and lead you off to other spots or for a walk or to a local dog park where she can run and play. By smelling her own smell in the same location for each beginning visit outside, she knows that outdoors is the place to go potty.
Step 6. Always Reward for Going Outside. There is a reason why this is stated in all of our methods. Even if your puppy does not consciously remember being rewarded for pooping or peeing outdoors, it is very much stored in some part of their brain. As the behavior is reinforced over time, their brain starts to make the decision for them, without even needing their conscious thought. So, this is not something that your dog really needs to understand each and every time. As long as their brain is receiving the information that outdoor bathrooms are good, you have done your job.
Step 7. This Method requires Very Gentle Treatment. You should never punish a puppy for going in the house, anyway. The dog, initially, is not sure why you are punishing her because, after all, peeing and pooping are natural things. In addition to this, any kind of intimidation you give a dog can easily result in “submissive peeing” which is what happens when one dog asserts their dominance in the pecking order. The submitting dog pees submissively to denote their lowered status in the pecking order. Punishing your dog can easily lead to submissive urinating, which will only frustrate you more if this is done indoors.
Method #3: The Busy-Owner Paper-Training Method
The Puppy Potty Pad Method, or the Paper-Training Method, is great for several different scenarios: If you don’t have the schedule where you can take your dog out every 30 minutes or every hour for the first several months, then you will need something indoors which is acceptable. This is also great for small dog breeds during the winter in colder climates and it’s a great way take care of Newly Weened Puppies who are just now big enough to be on their own. We recommend that, if you do have very young puppies, you get 2 or 3 so that they can keep each other company while you are gone. Just like small children, puppies need a lot of attention in the beginning.
Step 1. Potty Pads are Gold if You’re Away. When you are out of the house for a good portion of the day (or even for 2 hours at a time), your dog will need a place in which they can still go to the potty indoors while they are waiting for you to return. Puppies cannot hold their urine for more than 15 minutes at a time and it’s essential that they not go in their crate or on the carpet. Instead, you will need Puppy Potty Training Pads to keep in a corner of their little fenced off area, the furthest away from their food, water, and crate or bedding.
Step 2. This Option is Also Great for New Pups and for Cold Winters. When you have a small breed of dog (at any age) and you live in a northern area, winters can be especially harsh for your pooch. This is also a great way to keep everyone warm and secure in their nice, cozy home. Using paper training and puppy pads for indoor use is a great way to keep your dogs inside where it’s safe.
Step 3. Keep Pad As Far Away from Their Bed and Food As Possible. Make sure that the potty area is still in their fenced in dog play area in your home, but that it is as far away from their food, water, and bed as possible. Dogs don’t sleep or eat near their mess and you will want to encourage this behavior as much as possible, especially if you are wanting a fully housetrained puppy at the end of this scene. Use a more grown-up dog training method after the puppy is 4 or 5 months old, but otherwise, set them up in a safe, indoor area for that.
Step 4. Still, Walk in the Mornings and Evenings. Always Reward for Outdoor Bathroom Behavior. Even though you have your puppy indoors and in a safe place to pee and poop, go ahead and get them used to defecate outside as much as possible. Even if you have a busy schedule, it’s pretty simple to put a leash on him and take him for a walk or to sniff around in the grass every morning and every evening.
Step 5. When Dog is One Year Old, Remove Puppy Potty Pads. All dog training experts agree that Puppy Pad Training takes a longer time to train your dog, but we think it just gives your pooch more space and time in which to pick it up. When your dog is well over the “holding it” bladder limit (1 year is a great time to start this up), go ahead and take away the Puppy Potty Pads and start ONLY taking them out in the morning and evening like you’ve been doing all this time.
Method #4: The Interruption Method
The Interruption Method is for Dog and Puppy Owners who have 6-month-old (or older) canines. This method is intended to help you show the dog that indoor defecating is completely off-limits. Now, it will require you to be very careful and watchful at all times, which is great for pet owners who love to sit around and observe their pets playing and sleeping and being cute. It is not, however, for pet owners who have other distractions like kids, television or being away from the house which will keep them from keeping a close eye on things. The Interruption Method is not as effective as the other four Methods listed here, but it is great for pet owners who feel as if they have an intuitive connection with their dog and also have fast reflexes to act quickly every time.
Step 1. Always Watch and Interrupt Peeing or Pooping on the Carpet. Whenever your dog begins to pee or poop on the carpet, you must interrupt this immediately. Having your puppy on a leash is a great way to gently tug on their lead and then quickly get up and take them outside.
Step 2. Take Your Dog Outside Immediately. This step is not an option. Your dog will NOT begin to relieve himself, get interrupted, and then change his mind. He must have a source of relief immediately so you will have to jump up every time this happens, grab your pooch, and run outside.
NOTE: It’s better to have your puppy on a leash at all times so that you can gently interrupt him and then take him outside. It is NOT recommended to pick up your dog and carry them outside bodily. For male dogs, this can result in spraying the floor, yourself and furniture while you are holding him up. He might not be able to control himself so limit your exposure.
Step 3. Reward Her if She Finishes Outside. Any time your pooch finishes the job outdoors, that’s a good time for a reward. Don’t use large treats for puppies. Instead, rub them down or verbally praise and pat them. Do this often and consistently, whenever the correct behavior is finished outside.
Step 4. Never Punish Her for Peeing Inside, As This Will Lead to Hiding Behavior. Whenever you are indoors, it is paramount that she never be punished or yelled at for using the bathroom indoors. This will result in your dog trying to slink off to a hidden corner or under some furniture to get the job done. Instead, only reward positive behavior and never punish negative potty behavior. It sounds counterintuitive, but dogs are highly sensitive creatures and must be taught their lessons without too much force.
Method #5: The Cesar Millan Way (Cesar Millan is the Dog Whisperer)
Cesar Millan is the famous author and video maker who is known to be the Dog Whisperer. He believes that all canines behave predictably if you mimic their natural environment and mimic their pack behavior. Millan states that, if you are to have control over your dog, you need to establish yourself as the “pack leader”.
Step 1. Keep His “Den” Clean. Millan states that all dog mothers keep their den cleaned out from their puppies messes. This is exactly what you should do when your puppy makes a mess in the houses. Immediately clean it up, just like mother dogs do.
Step 2. Copy the Mother Dog’s Schedule. Mother dogs always feed their puppies at the same time every day, take them to water at the same time, and schedule sleeping during the night (by gently teething them and making them go back down to the floor of the den when they try to get up and play in the middle of the night), as well as pooping and peeing away from the den as much as possible. The mother dog sets an example by always leaving the den to defecate herself and, when the puppy smells his mother’s smell, he knows that this is an okay place to go, too.
Step 3. Use Puppy Pads (But Move Them Closer to the Door). Cesar Millan’s way of doing things is to use Puppy Pads when necessary (like for new or very young dogs), but to quickly establish a connection between going outside and going to the bathroom. This is shown by moving the Puppy Pads closer and closer to the door every week, thus making the puppy of heading to the door when he needs to go out.
Step 4. “Work Your Puppy Over” to Keep Them Calm at All Times. Cesar also likes to emphasize the importance of how a pack accepts a new dog into their midst or greets an old dog returning to their pack. They do this by working the dog over with their teeth, essentially pinning him down and gnawing at him all over his body. You will notice in a real pack environment that the dog being worked over is usually very still and does not move a muscle while this is being done to him. By the same token, you can “work your dog over” with your hands, rubbing and scratching at him all over his little body every time you see him so that he always feels like he is accepted into your pack. This keeps nervous breeds very calm and keeps puppies from being too jumpy or yappy, which are both signs of stress and nervousness (i.e. not being included).
House training your puppy requires consistency because animals, just like children, require simple commands and routines which are consistently repeated and mimicked over and over again, day after day, year after year.
Dogs don’t always know what’s happening if you change a rule on them, so try to establish much of your dog’s acceptable behavior within the first year and match it to your own needs and your own lifestyle. Both your needs and your pet’s needs are relevant here, so make sure that you are not allowing your dog to completely “take over” your life. Always stay on top of your pooch when playing with him or her in order to establish dominance. Keep the potty training consistent, day after day, and stick to your schedule as much as possible. Happy Training and Good Success!
I’ve been wanting a puppy for the longest time but my work schedule does not allow me to be home all day. Like many others, I work a regular 9-5 job Monday through Friday. I am glad I stumbled across the article though. It seems like The Busy-Owner Paper-Training Method may allow me to get a puppy after all. I could always come home on my lunch break to check in as well. Thanks for sharing as it’s helped me out!
Hey Diane, we’re glad you liked the article.