Ahhhh the joys of toilet training your new puppy… As I write this Cooper Hendrix has been home with us now for 5 nights. He is a bundle of joy and so beautiful. But we are right in the thick of toilet training. So, today I am going to share my tips for toilet training your new puppy.
Before bringing your puppy home
Toilet training needs to begin before you bring your puppy home. Not literally but it’s important that you have thought it through and have an area that you have allocated for your puppy to toilet that is quite close to where their crate or play pen area will be.
My Toilet Training Moto – Reward reward reward and avoid avoid avoid
The key to success with any training is to reward the behaviours you want to see more. That’s how we all learn best. Positive reinforcement is key. Punishment will only make your puppy fearful and doesn’t actually teach them what you want them to do. The behaviours that produce the strongest reinforcers are the behaviours your puppy (or any learner) will do more.
Reward your puppy for going outside
Praise at the right moment, i.e. the second he starts “going.” Reward with a treat after he is finished. Timing is important.
Supervise your puppy in the house. Always making sure he is in direct line of site. Use a play pen or a crate when nobody is able to watch the puppy.
How to toilet train your puppy:
- Take your puppy outside on leash. Take him to the same place every time. Do not interact with your puppy beyond what you must do to bring him outside – be very boring.
- When he goes toilet, praise him. Offer a treat as he finishes, as well as making a big hoorah, play with your pup and celebrate the win! Once he has finished, let him wander outside and explore further, or let him off leash to run around (if it is safe to do so). We want toileting to equal great things so if your dog loves being outside, give him that chance to have a bit of a play. Do not bring your pup right back inside unless that is what your puppy wants.
- If your pup doesn’t go within 5-10 minutes of being outside, put him in his playpen/ crate for 10 minutes, then try again.
- It is up to you to try and avoid accidents, do this by taking your puppy to his toileting place regularly – first thing in the morning, last thing before bed, shortly after meals, naps, or play sessions, when he comes out of his playpen/crate, and generally every hour or so.
- If you see your puppy sniffing and circling in the house, take him out immediately.
- Until your puppy is perfectly toilet trained, always go outside with him so you can reward and praise him at the right moment every time.
- Supervise whenever your puppy is not in the crate or play pen, especially if he hasn’t been for a while.
- Don’t leave your puppy confined for too long, although puppies have been hardwired not to toilet where they sleep, they do have very small bladders.
How to handle accidents in the house:
- Interrupt mistakes as they are happening. We don’t want to scare the puppy. So please don’t be too harsh or your puppy will be afraid to go in front of you. After interrupting your puppy, hustle him outside to his toileting spot. Praise if he finishes there. Clean up the indoor mess with an enzymatic cleaner to remove protein residue that might attract him to the same place again.
- Never punish. If your puppy made the mistake one hour or five seconds ago, you are too late. Don’t rub his nose in his own mess or smack him. This will simply make him afraid of you, and he won’t understand why you do it. You must catch him in the act for the interruption to work. The result of harsh treatment is often a puppy that eliminates behind the couch instead of one that doesn’t have any more mistakes.
So far Cooper is doing so well. He has only had two accidents in the house and I blame myself for them. As mentioned above, when they do have an accident inside, the trick is to make sure you have the right products to get rid of the smell otherwise your puppy will keep going back to the same spot. And when you take him outside, be patient!
How have you gone toilet training your pup? Please get in touch if you have any questions or need any help.