Toilet training can be a minefield for first time puppy parents. Accidents will happen, which means patience is key. There’s no set time for how quickly your puppy will learn, so try not to get frustrated with your pup - he/she will pick it up eventually! But if your furry friend is struggling to learn, then you could be making some very common mistakes in your training technique.
To help you prepare for puppy parenthood, we’ve pulled together the five most common mistakes that could hinder your puppy’s progress.
1 - Expecting your puppy to tell you
Puppies do not ‘ask’ to go out, at least not for the first few months. If you keep an eye on your puppy, you’ll be able to spot the telltale signs that your puppy is about to go. Then you can quickly take him/her to their puppy pad or outside. It’s up to you to judge when it is time for a toilet break. If your puppy is going every 20 minutes, then you need to be taking them to their toilet area every 20 minutes.
To set up the potty area, our Gastone Puppy Pad Holder is perfect for holding puppy pads in place, preventing leaks onto flooring and discouraging puppies from playing with / destroying the pad. Place the puppy pad holder in an easily accessible place for your pup and, once they’ve got the hang of it, gradually move the holder closer to the back door.
2 - Leaving the door open
This is something that many pet owners get into the habit of doing, especially in the summer. Leaving the back door open allows the puppy to wander into the garden as and when he or she pleases. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with this, it can cause issues if you’re not careful. Whilst your puppy may be relieving itself outside whenever the door is open, you’re not actually teaching them to wait when the door is closed. Try not to let your pup get too reliant on the door being open, this way they’ll learn to tell you when they need to go outside.
And of course out of sight is out of mind, so be sure to keep an eye on your pup when they’re in the garden so you don’t risk escape attempts, or your treasured flower displays being destroyed!
3 - Not cleaning up effectively
Dogs have an incredible sense of smell. You may not be able to smell urine after cleaning up, but Fido sure can! If a puppy can smell urine then it’s likely that they will go back to this spot the next time they need to go, as they associate it as being the toilet area. Give the area a thorough clean using specialised products and avoid cleaners that contain ammonia - this smells like urine to dogs.
4 - The crate is too big
Crates provide dogs with a special place that they can call their own and many owners introduce crate training during the puppy years. Typically, a dog won’t wee in its bed. However, if you’re finding that your puppy is relieving itself on the other side of the crate, then it’s probably too big! If you want to use a crate as part of potty training, then the crate needs to be the recommended size for your puppy, not the size your dog will be when it’s fully grown. You also shouldn’t crate your puppy for too long, not only is it unethical but your puppy cannot hold it in for very long, especially whilst under 12 weeks of age.
Try not to punish your puppy for their accidents, but rather praise them when they get it right. Telling your puppy off won’t necessarily teach little Rover not to go on the carpet, but he’ll find places that you can’t see to go instead. If you catch your puppy in the middle of an accident make a noise to startle them and take them to their potty pad to finish. Make sure you reward them afterwards for going in the right location. For an extra special treat, use our Leaps & Bounds Multi Treat Training Treatsfor a healthy and tasty reward that’s packed with Vitamins A and E.
Do you have some potty training tips to share? Join the conversation on social media @RosewoodPet.