Veterinary technicians are commonly asked for tips on puppy potty training. This blog will give you some ideas and tips you may share with the owners of a new puppy!
1) Puppies will urinate or defecate after waking. They should be taken outside immediately when they wake. Puppies also eliminate shortly after eating. Feeding them on a schedule, and taking them out after they eat, will help to get them in the habit of going outside to do their business.
2) POSITIVE reinforcement is especially important. When the puppy urinates or defecates outside, the owner should give the puppy lots of praise, affection, and a treat is always a good idea. The puppy will pick up on the fact that their owner is happy when they go potty outside.
3) Young puppies often have accidents in the house while they are learning. Potty training is a process. Negative attention to accidents can set back the progress during training. It is best to ignore the accident unless they are caught in the act. The owner may clap their hands if they are caught in the act. The puppy should be immediately taken outside and then praised outside. The accident from inside can be soaked up or picked up and taken outside and placed on the lawn so the puppy senses that the elimination should take place outside.
4) An older puppy that “knows better” and has an accident in the house can be held in a submissive position on his side (see photo). This is a way of showing dominance over the puppy without direct punishment. Spanking or extensive yelling should be avoided at all times. The goal is for the new owner to bond with their puppy, and negative attention can be detrimental. The puppy is placed on his side, gentle pressure is placed on the neck while holding the legs that are on the floor side. The puppy may be held in this position next to his accident until he relaxes and submits. This is also an excellent way to appropriately discipline a puppy who bites or gets too rough, tears something up, etc.
5) Crate training can be very helpful. Puppies are less likely to soil in their own sleeping area. If they sleep in their crate or are crated while the owner is away, they should be let outside as soon as their crate is opened. A puppy should not be punished for an accident which happened while the owner was away.
6) A bell can be attached to the door area where the puppy goes out to eliminate. Before going outside ring or jingle the bell. Soon, the puppy will learn to ring the bell with his nose to notify the owner that he needs to go outside.
If a trained puppy begins to have accidents, is urinating frequently, there is an odor or discoloration to the urine, or if the puppy is having diarrhea, there may be a medical cause for the accident and they should seek veterinary care.