New puppy? This guide will tell you all you need to know about how to potty train a puppy.
Puppy season is coming, and we are thrilled! As a dog trainer, this is paws down the best time of year. Lots of people get puppies in the fall months, and they need training! The questions we get asked most about puppy training involves how to potty train a puppy, specifically. So, we’ve made a little timeline full of tips to help potty train that puppy in no time! Here are some basic guidelines to for how to potty train a puppy. As your puppy ages you can adjust your schedule, but the following rules always apply if you want a perfectly potty-trained puppy:
1. Get your puppy on a schedule: Puppies need to potty after waking up, after eating, and after playing. Set up a feeding schedule (don’t give free access to food all the time) and establish a ‘quiet time’ where your puppy will have an opportunity to rest (whether they want to or not!) so you know when they have to go. Take them out immediately after their rest period, and after vigorous play. You can set your timer on your smartphone to remind you of your puppy’s schedule. While confined to a kennel, puppies can hold their bladder for about two to three hours at 8 weeks old during the day, and double that at night. Your 8-week-old puppy needs to be let out at least once in the night, and several times throughout the day. You can adjust the schedule according to the puppy’s age by adding one hour per 2 weeks of age after 8 weeks. For planning purposes, most adult dogs cannot hold their bladder beyond 8 hours. Having a schedule (and sticking to it) is critical when trying to potty train a puppy.
2. Supervise all puppy activities. Never let your puppy out of your direct line of sight while out of their crate and indoors. Puppies show signs of needing to go out by sniffing and circling. It will often appear as if they’re looking for something. In addition to being super useful while you potty train a puppy, supervision prevents chewing, and other bad behaviors from developing in our puppies.
3. Take your puppy out on a leash for each potty break. Don’t let your puppy wander to find the perfect potty spot. Take them to where you want them to go, and then stand there, leash in hand, like your feet are stuck in cement. Tell your puppy to, “Go potty,” and wait. After your puppy does their business, praise them, and give them a treat or play with them. Take them for a short walk. Do some kind of fun puppy activity. Potty, Praise, Play is the rule of thumb. This way, the puppy learns that the faster they go potty, the quicker they can start a fun activity.
What should I do if my puppy has an accident in the house?
If your puppy has an accident, find a large newspaper or magazine, or heavy towel. Roll it up tightly to form a baton. Hold it high above your head. Then swing down on top of your head with just enough force to remind yourself that you should have followed steps one through three! There is no magic way to potty train a puppy; prevent mistakes by holding yourself accountable and supervising that puppy!
Need a more detailed schedule? We’ve got you covered!
7am – WAKE UP! The puppy needs to potty. 🙂 If my puppy is under 12 weeks old, and I’m physically able to carry them outside, I do. That way I avoid the enroute pee on the carpet. Be sure to supervise your puppy and stay outside with them to make sure they do their business before coming back in. While you’re supervising, be as neutral as possible. Don’t pet, talk to, or play with your puppy until they finish their duty. After their job is done, now’s your que to be fun. Give them some treats, pet them, and have a bit of a romp.
7:15 – Feeding time. Feed your puppy in their crate. This is your opportunity to give value to their resting spot and work on teaching them to wait until you say it’s okay to go in or out. As soon as your puppy is done eating, they will most likely need to poop if they haven’t during your first let out. Don’t forget – no eye contact, touch or talk until they eliminate.
7:30 – Offer some free time with toys, and chew items in an enclosed are like an expen, a play yard, or an area that you can gate off that won’t be a hazard to your puppy or vice versa.
8am- Another potty break, before crate rest. If you’re not using a crate, you’re crazy! No seriously, you are making this way harder on yourself and your puppy than you need to.
11am – Potty party! Time to take the little tyke out again. Don’t forget to follow the potty, praise and play order and you’re good to go.
11:15am – Time for a little training and play session. Wear that little pup out! Work on door manners, food manners, sit, focus and attention and responding to their name. Feeding your puppy via training will go a long way
11:30am – Another potty break and some free time in the confined space if you can swing it, otherwise, some more resting time in the crate.
3pm – Potty break! Don’t forget the rules….
3:15pm – Free time in the confined play area.
4pm – Potty break
5pm – Time for a walk! Bring lots of food rewards with you. Make sure that your puppy gets a reward for each new thing they see.
5:30pm – feed and potty break
6pm – Confined Play area
8pm – potty break
8:15pm – Crate rest
10pm – Last call, for potty puppies!
If you have more questions or want more in-depth training for your puppy, Contact Us!
If this schedule looks like an intense time commitment, that’s because it is! We can help you potty train a puppy. We offer Day Training Programs and Boarding and Training Programs for adult dogs AND baby puppies, right here in Colorado. If you are looking for Denver Dog Training options, we would love to meet with you and see what the best program match is for you and your dog or puppy. We employ Denver’s Best Dog Trainers, and we’d love to show you what we’re all about.