Your New Puppy – Unleashing Adventures in Potty Training

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Next up in this Inquisitive Canine series for new puppy parents, we’d like to help get you and your new buddy started off on the right paw with some tips for house-training, so you can move on to harnessing the really fun stuff – romping, playing and enjoying life together!

Inquisitive Canine House-Training Puppies

Potty Training Your Puppy: A Step-by-Step Summary:

  • If you’re house-training a young puppy, recognize the physical limits of your pup. Younger puppies may need to eliminate every 2-4 hours when awake, lively and active. There’s a general formula you can use to estimate how long puppies can typically hold their urine: Their age in months, plus one equals the number of hours. Ex. A 3-month-old puppy can hold it for 4 hours. A 4-month-old can typically hold it for 5 hours and so on. (Yes – this means your puppy will most likely need to be taken outside during the night.)
  • Provide adequate opportunities for your puppy to go potty.
  • Learn to read your dog’s body language and vocalization cues indicating when she needs to go.
  • In order to teach puppy where to potty, escort her outside. Take her on-leash (more on walking puppy on a leash in our next post) to the preferred location -the same place every time- and wait for her to eliminate. 
  • As soon as she does go in the designated area outside, reward her generously with petting, praise, yummy treats, off-leash freedom (if in a safe place) or free time indoors.
  • Avoid punishing her if she happens to eliminate in a forbidden area. Yelling, swatting, or pushing a dog’s nose into the place where she has eliminated doesn’t tell her what you want. Punishment harms the bond and trust you are working to build and teaches your pup to be afraid to eliminate in front of you. It’s your job to prevent accidents by setting her up to make the right choice about where to potty.
  • Be consistent in your routine and manage mindfully when you cannot monitor or supervise your pup in the house. 
  • Remember, when we’re not training, we’re managing! Limit access for your puppy to wander if she is in a location with no access to a potty area.
  • Use a crate or other short-term confinement training when appropriate, such as for short* absences. (*Base time on age and learning history.) If you’re uncertain whether your puppy has gone potty or you’re unable to keep a watchful eye on her, keep her tethered to you, or in her crate or other type of confined area. 
  • Pro Tip: Don’t leave your puppy in the crate for too long or she will be forced to soil the crate, ruining her natural tendency to keep her sleeping area clean
  • Take your pup outside immediately after letting her out of the crate. 
  • If you take your pup outside and she doesn’t potty, return her to her crate for 20-30 minutes and try again.
  • Remember that a puppy will wake up in the middle of the night and need to go out to the bathroom — this means the guardian needs to take the puppy out! 
  • Also keep in mind that just because your pup goes potty in the right place one time doesn’t mean she is house-trained. Diligent effort on your part is the secret to success when teaching your puppy the proper place to go potty. 
  • Finally, remember to reward behaviors you like and want! You’ll get more of them!

When it comes to potty training your new puppy, do your best to be patient, consistent, and proactive. After all, before you know it your cute little ball of fluff will be all grown up; so, enjoy every moment together – even the 2:00 AM potty adventures!

During Train Your Dog Month and beyond, whether working on your own or with a certified professional dog trainer or behavior consultant, think about the concepts you and your pup already know and how they might help you teach your inquisitive puppy any new behavior, from potty training to loose leash walking. 

That’s right. If you have questions about when to start leash walking a puppy; how to walk

puppy on leash for the first time; what do to if your puppy is biting or chewing the leash when walking; or why loose leash walking is an important skill to teach, be sure to check back for the next installment in this series.

Up Next: Your New Puppy – Harnessing the Joy of Loose Leash Walking  


Wanna dig deeper? Here’s a guide to the resources mentioned in this article:

House-Training Tips for Dog Who is One Potty Girl

The best plan for house-training basics: teach, reward and manage the environment. Dogs don’t magically know the right thing to do any more than humans do!

Crate Training Your Dog: Creating a “Home Sweet Home” Atmosphere

So, what are some of the best ways for you to get your dog used to his or her “sanctuary”? The training steps are pretty simple actually, but just like any new behavior, the key is to teach the steps slowly and help create positive associations along the way.

Celebrate National Train Your Dog Month This January

This post contains a brief summary of the Fido’s Homeschooling DIY Training Program curriculum, including links to each post containing step-by-step instructions on how to train various skills. If you’re looking to enhance the human-canine bond and interested in tips for making dog training a breeze, you’re in the right place!

What to Look for When Choosing the Best Dog Trainer for Your Pet

Here are a few tips to help you make an informed decision about who should train and otherwise care for your inquisitive canine. Not all trainers are created equal. Finding the best dog trainer for your dog may take a little more research, but we know your inquisitive canine is worth the effort!

Your New Puppy – How to Enjoy Fun and Success While Training the Basics

Enjoy fun AND success in training by incorporating lots of enthusiasm, praise and love! As your inquisitive canine’s guardian, when you listen, try to understand, train with kindness, adjust training goals as needed and know what motivates your dog, you can bring out the best in your best friend.


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