How To Potty Train a Puppy
Part of being a great pet parent is training your rambunctious bundle of fur to be a polite little pup, especially when it comes to her bathroom habits. Once your pup is around 12 weeks old or so, it's time to start her potty training. During her training period, which can last several months, you'll have to have lots of patience and a positive attitude. After all, as she's learning the ropes she's sure to have some accidents and setbacks along the way. Here are some of the best practices to follow when it comes to potty training your pooch.
Accentuate the Positive (with Treats!)
During your pup's potty training, you always want to reward your pup when she goes where she's supposed to go. That means that right after she eliminates in the potty spot, outdoors or indoors, praise her and give her something really yummy, like Milk-Bone® Mini's Flavor Snacks®. The small size of these snacks is perfect for little puppies. The pawsitive reinforcement will teach her that going in her designated spot is something great, and she'll associate potty training with good — and tasty — things.
Set up a schedule for your furry friend to follow. You'll need to bring your puppy out every two to three hours to go potty because her little bladder is still growing and can't hold much. It may seem like a lot of potty visits to you, but this way, you'll have more success and fewer accidents in the home.
She'll likely need to use the bathroom first thing in the morning, just before bed and about a half-hour after meals. Also, when you take her to go potty, always return to the same spot so she will associate the spot with bathroom time.
When you're with your pooch, watch her for signs that she needs to go. If she's pacing, sniffing around or whining, she likely needs to do her business. Take her out right away so she can have a successful potty time.
Keep Your Pup Close
Between potty breaks, keep your pup attached to your hip — literally. Put her leash around your waist so that she's always nearby and can't sneak off to "go" on your couch or under your bed. For short periods of time, you can also confine her to a crate that is just big enough for her to sit, lie down and turn around, so there's no room for her to eliminate in it.
If you catch your pooch in the act of an accident, clap your hands to stop her before quickly bringing her to her potty spot. Reward her when she finishes in her spot with a treat.
Find an accident after the fact? Don't punish your pooch for it. She won't understand why you're mad — as you can't exactly explain it to her — and it'll just make her afraid of you. The punishment will only hamper her training and damage her bond with you. All you can do is clean it up with an enzymatic cleaner to prevent her from returning to the spot to eliminate again.
Training your growing pooch takes patience, but you can learn more about puppy training here on The Noseprint®.
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