Getting a new puppy is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences. But it’s also one of the most challenging. From settling your puppy into their new home to training them and keeping them healthy, puppy ownership is full of little milestones.
For those of you on this journey for the first time, first of all, congratulations – watching your tiny puppy grow into a handsome hound is incredible! Secondly, with the right preparation (and patience!), some simple training techniques can ensure your puppy feels at home from day one.
One of the first milestones is how to toilet train your puppy. We’ve explored the top tips and dos and don’ts on how to toilet train puppies quickly to minimise accidents indoors.
When do you start toilet training a puppy?
Toilet training starts the moment you bring your puppy home. Typically, puppies will be from 8 weeks old when you first get them, and they will need to go little and often. The earlier you establish a routine, the easier both you and your puppy will find it. You’ll soon start to pick up on tell-tale signs from your puppy, and they’ll begin to understand not to go in the house.
How to start toilet training a puppy?
Whilst every puppy is different and requires their own routine, on the day you bring them home, taking them outside every 20-30 minutes will teach them quickly. Your puppy will likely need to go to the toilet after playing and between naps. But as you get to know your puppy, you can extend the time between toilet breaks. Toilet training a puppy will be much easier if you can plan your routine around them, at least for the first week, to help them settle in and be there to take them outside at a moment’s notice.
When you take them outside, praise them when they go to the toilet to build up a positive association.
It’s important not to punish your puppy when they have accidents in the house. Accidents are inevitable as your puppy learns the ‘house rules’. When they poo or pee indoors, act quickly by either picking them up or leading them outside gently by their collar. Then wait for your puppy to go to the toilet outside, followed by lots of praise.
Toilet Training Dos and Don’ts
- Set a regular feeding schedule that you can stick to – young puppies should eat 3-4 small portions of food throughout the day to aid digestion and give them energy. Water should be available at any time whenever they need it.
- Take your puppy outside to the toilet regularly – young puppies may not always know when they need to go, so it’s your job as a puppy parent to remind them!
- Tune in to your puppy’s behaviour – as you get to know your puppy, you’ll soon start to spot the signs they need to go. These could be very subtle changes, including circling, sniffing around, moving to a different area or acting unsettled.
- Watch them like a hawk! – part of tuning into your puppy’s behaviour involves watching them at all times in the first few days. As your puppy learns, they’ll likely sit by the back door, bark or whimper to ask you to go outside. But until then, keep an eye on them so you can act fast.
- Praise your puppy every time they pee or poo outside – keep praising them, even once your puppy is fully trained, to ensure they know to always go to the toilet outside. Praise is critical towards the colder months when they’re less likely to ask to go outside.
- Clean up accidents with a pet stain and odour remover – puppies have very sensitive noses, so cleaning up accidents as they happen will prevent repeat marking.
- Use an anti-urine spray to deter scent-marking – our urine stop spray makes toilet training easy, preventing scent-marking inside or outside the home.
- Let your dog outside during the night – it can take time for your puppy to learn to hold it during the night, so in the first few weeks, expect to get up once or twice. This extra dedication helps you bond, so it’s well worth the lack of sleep!
- Don’t overfeed or be tempted to feed your puppy human food – puppies have extremely sensitive stomachs. They’re prone to stomach upsets if feeding is irregular. Kibble may not look the most interesting, but it’s what’s best for their growing tums.
- Don’t punish your puppy for going to the toilet indoors – punishment can scare your puppy into not wanting to go to the toilet in front of you outside. Take your puppy out, making as little fuss as possible.
- Don’t leave the back door open for your puppy to come and go – they won’t be able to distinguish inside from out. And during the colder months, your puppy may start peeing indoors.
- Don’t leave your puppy in the garden alone – being there to praise your puppy every time will reinforce good behaviour. Not to mention help to prevent them from eating your plants!
- Don’t leave your puppy alone for long periods indoors – if your puppy pees or poos indoors often, it’ll take longer to toilet train them. If you can be there for them at least for the first week, toilet training will be much quicker.
- Don’t expect your puppy to tell you when they want to go – it’s likely your puppy is having too much fun playing to even think about going to the toilet. So, take them outside for regular toilet breaks.
- Don’t use ammonia-based cleaning products – these can smell similar to urine and encourage your puppy to pee indoors. Natural products are much safer for sensitive puppies and won’t affect their toilet training.
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