HOUSE TRAINING DOS AND DON’TS

Here are a few simple rules for toilet training:

  • reward the pup for toileting outside
  • ignore accidents that happen indoors
  • put the pup on a toileting schedule

Read on for more details…

DON’T use the crate as an alternative to good toilet training.  Puppies come pre-programmed to avoid toileting near where they sleep, however if they have no choice because they have been confined for longer than their bladder of bowel will allow, then toileting in their sleeping area will become less taboo and more acceptable to the pup.  Avoid this at all costs.

DO heavily reward your pup for toileting outside.  The pup doesn’t understand that he shouldn’t toilet inside, but will understand that he’s rewarded for toileting outside.

DO reward your pup immediately after toileting, not when you get back into the house.  If you reward him in the kitchen then you are rewarding him for going indoors, not for toileting outside.  He’ll be keen to get back to the kitchen for his treat, and won’t spend the time he needs in the garden.

DON’T punish accidents in the house.  It’s unfair to punish your pup for something that he couldn’t help doing.  Punishing the pup will not help him to understand that he shouldn’t toilet inside.  Punishing him will tell him that it’s dangerous to toilet in front of you, leading him to toilet in hidden areas, and may mean that he’ll grow up being afraid to toilet on lead, and it will certainly have a negative effect on your relationship with the pup.

DON’T expect your pup to tell you when he needs to go out. He won’t necessarily know.

DON’T use puppy pads unless it’s absolutely necessary, for example if you don’t have a garden. Puppy pads are an extra step in house training. Dogs develop a preference for toileting on the same kind of surface as they did as a pup, so by using puppy pads, you’re encouraging the dog to toilet on soft surfaces, such as a carpet.  If the pup gets bored he may well start chewing up the puppy pad.

DO clean up with an enzymatic cleaner if your pup has had an accident in the house, normal disinfectant will not get rid of the smell of ammonia and will encourage your pup to toilet in the same place.

DO clean up faeces straight away.  Dogs don’t like to defecate where there is faeces so be sure to keep the toilet area clean to encourage him to go back to the same spot.  Your pup is at a higher risk of developing coprophagia if the faeces is left lying around.

DO run to his toilet area as that will stimulate the need to go.

DO take your pup out as soon as he wakes up, he’s very likely going to need to urinate.

DO take your dog after every meal.  Pups normally need to defecate within 15 minutes of eating.

DO take your pup out every few hours.  As a guideline puppies can hold their bladder for approximately one hour per month of age plus one hour when inactive, but for far shorter a time when active, and they’ll normally defecate shortly after eating a meal.

DO take the weather into account.  If your pup doesn’t like being outside as it’s cold or wet, in addition to the treat reward, reward him as soon as he’s toileted by taking him inside.  If the weather is good, in addition to the treat reward, reward him when he’s toileted by letting his have a sniff around the garden, or play with him before going in.

DO set your alarm and take the pup out to the garden in the middle of the night if you have a young pup.

DO develop a toileting schedule for your pup. It’s not your pup’s job to tell you went he needs to go out, it’s your job to take him out on a regular basis to give him an opportunity to toilet.

TOILETING SCHEDULE

Tip – have a paper and pen by the back door to record schedule details.

Tip – have treats by the back door so that you can reward for toileting outside.

Tip – ensure that one adult is responsible for the next toilet break – set an alarm if necessary.

This is an example toileting schedule for a 10 week old pup, you can adapt it to fit your pup.  If you record the details for 2 days this will give you great basis on which to start or continue with the toilet training.

07:00 Get pup out of the crate, pick him up and take him to his outside toilet area, collecting the treats on the way.  Put the pup on the grass, wait for him to pee.  When he does, immediately after, reward him with 5 very small treats, one after the other.  Puppy party – be really excited and tell him what a great pup he is.  Write the details on the schedule – “07:05 – pee”

07:15 Breakfast.  When he’s finished, run him out to the toileting area, collecting the treats on the way.  Wait for him to pooh, bearing in mind that this might take up to 15 minutes. When he does, immediately after, reward him with 10 very small treats, one after the other. Puppy party!  Write the details on the schedule – “07:25 – pooh”

08:30 Pup had quite a large drink of water after food and has had a play.  It’s been just over an hour since his last trip outside. Run him out to the toileting area, collecting the treats on the way.  Wait for him to pee. When he does, immediately after, reward him with 5 very small treats, one after the other. Puppy party!  Write the details on the schedule – “08:35 – pee”

09:30 Pup has had a training session and played with his toys. Run him out to the toileting area, collecting the treats on the way. Wait for him to pee.  Waited 5 minutes, he just had a sniff, try again in 10 minutes.  Write the details on the schedule – “09:35 – nothing”

9:45  Try again.  Run him out to the toileting area, collecting the treats on the way. Wait for him to pee. When he does, immediately after, reward him with 5 very small treats, one after the other. Puppy party!  Write the details on the schedule – “09:45 – pee”

We now have an idea that when he’s active he may need to go roughly every 1 – 1.25 hours.

12:00 Pup has been sleeping for a few hours and has just woken up. Get pup out of the crate, pick him up and take him to his outside toilet area, collecting the treats on the way.  Put the pup on the grass, wait for him to pee.  When he does, immediately after, reward him with 5 very small treats, one after the other. Puppy party!  Write the details on the schedule – “12:05 – pee”

12:30 Lunch.  When he’s finished, run him out to the toileting area, collecting the treats on the way.  Wait for him to pooh, bearing in mind that this might take up to 15 minutes. When he does, immediately after, reward him with 10 very small treats, one after the other. Puppy party!  Write the details on the schedule – “12:35 – pooh”

14:30 I was on the phone and missed the next toileting break.  Pup peed in the house.  I cleaned up with the enzymatic cleaner.  Set my alarm for 15:45 so it doesn’t happen again.  Write the details on the schedule – “14:30 – pee in the house”

15:45 Pup has been chilling and doing some scentwork . Run him out to the toileting area, collecting the treats on the way. Wait for him to pee.  Waited 5 minutes, he just had a sniff, try again in 10 minutes.  Write the details on the schedule – “15:50 – nothing”

16:00 Kept an eye on the pup. Ran him out to the toileting area, collecting the treats on the way. Wait for him to pee.  Waited 5 minutes, he just had a sniff, try again in 10 minutes.  Write the details on the schedule – “16:05 – nothing”

16:15 Kept an eye on the pup . Ran him out to the toileting area, collecting the treats on the way. This time he does, immediately after, reward him with 10  very small treats (just to reinforce that going outside after two unsuccessful trips is good), one after the other.  It’s raining so we head back indoors rather than having a puppy party.  Write the details on the schedule – “16:20 – pee”

18:00 Pup has been sleeping for a few hours and has just woken up. Get pup out of the crate, pick him up and take him to his outside toilet area, collecting the treats on the way.  Put the pup on the grass, wait for him to pee. Waited 5 minutes, he just had a sniff, try again in 10 minutes.  Write the details on the schedule – “18:05 – nothing”

18:15  Pup has just had dinner.  When he’s finished, run him out to the toileting area, collecting the treats on the way.  Wait for him to pooh, bearing in mind that this might take up to 15 minutes. This time he has a pooh, then a pee.  Reward him with 10 very small treats, one after the other. Puppy party!  Write the details on the schedule – “18:20 – pooh & pee”

19:30 Pup has just had the zoomies and also had water after his meal. Run him out to the toileting area, collecting the treats on the way. This time he does, immediately after, reward him with 5  very small treats, one after the other.  We’re winding down for the night so we don’t have a puppy party.  Write the details on the schedule – “19:25 – pee”

21:30 I was on the phone and missed the next toileting break.  Pup peed in the house.  I cleaned up with the enzymatic cleaner.  Set my alarm for 23:00 so it doesn’t happen again.  Write the details on the schedule – “21:30 – pee in the house”

23:00 Bed time.  Pup has been chilling with a Kong. Pick him up as he’s probably tired now and take him to his outside toilet area, collecting the treats on the way.  Put the pup on the grass, wait for him to pee and pooh.  When he does, immediately after, reward him with 10 very small treats, one after the other.  Quietly return to the house and put him in the crate.  Write the details on the schedule – “23:05 – pee & pooh”

03:00 Alarm goes off. Get pup out of the crate, pick him up and take him to his outside toilet area, collecting the treats on the way.  Put the pup on the grass, wait for him to pee.  When he does, immediately after, reward him with 5 very small treats, one after the other. Quietly return to the house and put him in the crate.  Write the details on the schedule – “03:00 – pee”

You’ve now got a schedule that you can work with and adapt as the pup gets older.

Don’t forget to adapt the timing to your pup; shorter intervals if your pup is younger, longer intervals if your pup is older.