When you first bring home a new dog or puppy, the first thing you want to do is potty train the dog. Potty training your dog requires patience and love. It won’t happen overnight, but if you follow the tips below and you will have a potty trained dog in no time!
Step 1: Set up a Routine
The first and arguably most important step in potty training your dog is to set up a routine. This routine should not only include outdoor time to go potty and explore, but should also include feedings, playtimes, and walks. Routine is important for all aspects of your dog’s training, so establishing a firm routine and sticking to it has to be the first step in potty training as well. You’ll find your dog picks up their learned behaviour more quickly once a routine is established.
Your new routine should take into account when your dog wakes and when they eat. Keep feedings on a schedule and take your dog out after each feeding, nap, and first thing in the morning. If you are potty training a puppy as opposed to an adult dog, be sure to take them out often. Puppies have smaller bladders and are less able to hold it in when they are not taken out. Older dogs can have a bit more leeway, but still, be sure to stick to a schedule.
Step 2: Use Positive Reinforcement
Dogs are much more likely to pick up the behaviors you want them to learn if they are supported with positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is the practice of rewarding a dog for the correct behavior as opposed to punishing them for incorrect behavior. This can come in the form of praise or treats, but you must use the reinforcement as soon as your dog is done going potty outside. Do not wait until you are inside to use positive reinforcement because your dog may not associate the outside potty with the reward.
Step 3: Be Consistent
Consistency is key to potty training your dog at any age. Dogs learn best when their routines are firm. To ensure your dog is potty trained as quickly as possible, you need to make sure you remain consistent with your routine and rewards. Another aspect that requires consistency is the crate training of your dog. Crate training can help your dog understand the cues of not eliminating inside, since dogs do not want to stay where they have defecated. If your dog eliminates inside the house, and they are in their crate, it will have more of an impact than if they have room to leave the waste behind and forget it.
The bottom line is to make sure you set a routine for your dog, complete with positive reinforcement and plenty of consistency. Mistakes will happen, but they will be few and far between if you give your dog the best chance at learning. Give them the grace to learn from their mistakes and they will flourish!