How To Toilet Train A Dog Quickly
Want to learn how to toilet train a dog quickly? You’re in the right place.
House training your dog is one of the first things you’ll do when bringing your new pooch home (alongside giving your furry friend plenty of love and attention).
The faster you can work with your dog on their potty habits, the less likely it is that you’re going to have to deal with stains around the house.
Toilet training your dog can be a challenge at times – particularly when you discover that dogs can pee up to twelve times a day! Additionally, while your adult dog can hold their urine for up to 12 hours if they need to – that’s not the case for a puppy.
The good news? Dogs are smarter than they seem.
Many puppies will be able to pick up your potty-training lessons quite quickly between the ages of 8 and 17 weeks – because that’s when they’re gathering all the information they need about the world.
Let’s get started on your toilet training journey.
Step 1: Learning When Your Dog Needs the Bathroom
First, it’s going to be up to you to stay hyper-alert when you’re training your pup. The chances are you won’t be able to stick to a consistent schedule of taking them out at the same time each day initially. You can start by having a schedule in mind, but it’s worth keeping an eye out for when your dog most needs to visit the bathroom.
Since your dog can’t tell you they need to go to the bathroom, you’re going to need to get familiar with their little quirks. Most dogs have a habit of pacing, panting, and circling when they’re in need of a bathroom break – a lot like humans.
Your pup might also sniff the ground, lower its body posture, and whine, bark, or make other unhappy noises. Over a period of time, when you’ve started taking your dog out to go to the bathroom, they might begin to paw at the door when they need to pee.
Don’t panic if you don’t immediately recognise when your dog needs the bathroom. Some pups are more obvious about their needs than others. This is going to be a learning process for both of you. Just make sure you have an enzymatic cleaner on hand to wipe up any accidents.
Step 2: Consider Adding some Cues
As you start to become a little more aware of your dog’s needs and potty pads aren’t as important anymore, you can begin to look for ways to improve your toilet training. For instance, it’s a good idea to add a “cue” to bathroom moments. This can teach your dog to hold on when they’re sitting in a car or you’re at work, and you can’t let them out of the back door.
Using the same command, such as a word or a certain hand motion can help to act as a trigger for your dog, to let them know when it’s safe to go to the bathroom. Every time you head outside, use the same word and reward your dog for their good behaviour if they wait for the cue before they go. Treats and lots of cuddles work a treat.
Remember, be cautious with your cue words. You don’t want your dog to end up with urinary tract infections from holding on for too long.
Step 3: Moving from Inside to Outside
When you’re house training your puppy, it’s common to have a “toilet spot” somewhere in your house that your dog can use if they really can’t make it outside. You can equip this place with a puppy pad or use it in create training scenarios. However, eventually, you’re going to want your dog to go to the bathroom outside only.
To boost your chances of successful training, start by finding out what your dog most likes to go to the bathroom on. This is something you can learn for yourself if you’re raising your dog from a puppy. However, if you’re adopting a dog, you should ask the rescue about preferences. Options include:
- Puppy pads
Don’t panic if you don’t have a garden. People living in apartments can still have well-trained puppies. You just might need to do things a little differently. If you can’t constantly get your dog out and into an environment where they can safely go to the bathroom, make sure you have spaces inside that you can set up for successful potty training. You can try:
- Puppy pads in crates where your dogs can go to the bathroom if they’re desperate
- Indoor doggy toilets (similar to a litter box for dogs)
- Taking your dog to the curb as quickly as possible
Step 4: Setting up a Routine
Establishing a toilet area is the first step of a successful toilet training routine. Once you know where your puppy is going to go to the bathroom, you can begin to work on the actual training process. Ideally, you’ll want to create a schedule of timed trips to the bathroom for your pup. This will help you to remember to take your dog out for their toilet breaks. It can also help you to avoid accidents when you’re working, or you won’t be in the house.
Try to maintain a short time between visits into the garden at first. A couple of hours at most should be all you start with. Gradually, you can begin to leave more time between visits if your dog isn’t scratching at the door or showing warning signs they want to go to the bathroom.
Take your dog to their toilet area at regular times and give them enough space to do their business. Be patient. Some dogs like to sniff around before they go to the bathroom. The word you set as a cue to go to the bathroom above can be useful here. It’s also worth rewarding your dog with tasty treats when they do go to the bathroom on cue. Just avoid any fattening food treats when possible.
If your dog doesn’t go to the bathroom when you take them out, bring them back in and keep an eye on their body posture for any typical signs that they need to go back out.
Remember, for the first few weeks of the potty-training process, you’re going to need to take your dog out frequently, from the moment they first wake up if you want to avoid accidents.
Step 5: Dealing with Accidents
Even if you’re a master of dog training, indoor accidents are still going to happen. As you begin to potty train your pooch, you’ll likely notice more accidents at the beginning of the process. Be patient when this happens, and don’t scold or shout at your dog. Remember, just like a baby, your puppy doesn’t have full control over their bladder, and they won’t be having accidents on purpose.
When a potty accident does happen, don’t shout or use harsh words with your dog, just remind them where they can go if they want to go to the bathroom in a safe location. You can take them outside to let them have a sniff around and relieve anything they didn’t pass indoors.
As most potty-training tips will tell you, it’s a good idea to have plenty of cleaning utensils available in your home for when accidents occur. Ammonia-free cleaning products are crucial if you want to avoid urine smells around your house. Additionally, when you potty train a puppy, they can often go back to areas which already smell like a bathroom to them.
If you notice your dog seems about ready to go to the bathroom in the wrong place, interrupt them in a calm way. Don’t shock your dog, or you’re just asking for an accident. Once you’ve interrupted your pup, take them back outside, and reward them when accidents are avoided.
Step 6: Mastering Crate Training
One option you might consider to reduce accidents during puppy toilet training is a crate system. Although some people new to having a dog of their own might be worried about the idea of keeping a puppy in a crate, it’s not as terrible as it sounds. Crates can make your life a lot easier and reduce the amount you need to clean up after a pup when they have accidents if you’re not around.
You can also get your dog used to a crate for the sake of travel later. If your pup already feels comfortable with a crate, they won’t feel as worried about getting into one when they need to go to the vet, or you take them with you on a vacation.
Despite what you might think, dogs aren’t opposed to crates. Canines are den animals, and they’re naturally drawn to smaller spaces and caves where they can feel comfortable and safe. This is one of the reasons why it’s so easy for most people to crate train their dogs.
To get the best results, make sure you get a crate that’s big enough for your dog to have plenty of space to stretch out, play with toys, and even eat in their crate. When you’re at home, pay attention to when your puppy scratches or whines – this is often a sign they need to go to the bathroom. When you’re outside of the home, you can place a puppy pad in the crate to protect against accidents.
If your puppy does go to the bathroom in the crate, make sure you clean it up as quickly as possible. No-one wants to relax in the same place where they just went to the bathroom. Whether you have an 8-week-old puppy or a 5-month-old puppy, ensure you’re regularly cleaning up and removing any accidents.
Step 7: Giving Rewards and Praise
Finally, positive reinforcement is a valuable tool when you’re potty training your pup. The more you reward your dog for going to the bathroom in the right place, the more likely they are to repeat that behaviour. Gradually, your dog will begin to associate going to the toilet with something good, and even fun.
The rewards you give are up to you. Some people prefer to offer tasty treats (as long as they’re healthy and not too fattening). Other pet owners will pet their dog and talk to them in a reassuring, positive voice, giving praise like “good boy.” Sometimes even play can be an excellent reward for your dog, such as a quick run around with their favourite toy.
Whatever you choose to reward your dog with, make sure they know they’re doing something right. If your dog starts wagging their tail soon after they’ve gone to the bathroom, this is a good sign that you’re giving the right kind of positive reinforcement. Gradually, you should notice the number of accidents you need to deal with decreasing too!
Potty Training Your Pup
Toilet training your new dog can be a challenging process – but it’s well worth the effort. Whether you’re training a dog with some previous behaviour issues, or you’re helping a puppy learn how to use the bathroom correctly as they grow up, the tips above should help to lead you in the right direction. Remember, pay close attention to your dog, and adjust your strategy based on what you know about their behaviour and needs.
If you ever notice an issue with your dog’s bathroom habits, make sure you take them straight to the vet for a check-up.