How to Potty Train that Puppy

Teaching your puppy where you’d prefer he eliminate, and where you’d prefer he NOT, is as simple as A-B-C.

A. Take your puppy out to the grass frequently
B. Prevent your puppy from eliminating in the house
C. Repeat

Yes, it really is that simple. Why, then, do so many people feel “they’ve tried everything,” and still, their dogs are not housebroken?

Anticipating your puppy’s need to go potty is key. Waiting for him to “tell you” is expecting too much too soon. Just take him out as often as necessary to prevent an accident. For young puppies, 8-12 weeks, that can be as often as every hour or two. Puppies will have to eliminate after napping, after eating, after about 3-5 minutes of wild play, immediately after coming out of the crate, and yes, in the middle of the night when they cry. Each time your puppy experiences grass under his feet while he eliminates, the association is made. Enthusiastic praise and a treat increases the likelihood of this behavior repeating. For most humans, this seems to be the easy part. The second part of the equation, prevention, is where they often foul up.

Preventing accidents means 100% supervision. Enlist the help of your friend, the crate. Using a crate when you cannot supervise your puppy prevents accidents. When out of the crate, a young puppy should be on a leash in the house. This will allow you to see the signals he gives (usually sniffing and circling) before he eliminates. You can prevent the accident by quickly getting him out to the grass. If he’s circling and sniffing in the living room and you’re in the kitchen, well, you get the point… And no, they don’t do it out of spite!

Susan Claire is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, in Broward County, and owner of PlayTrain, Positive Dog Training! She can be reached at 954-349-5969. Dogs and their humans are invited to send their questions to: susan@playtraindog.com.