House training your new puppy
The key to successful house training is constant supervision whenever the puppy isn’t confined. Watch your puppy constantly. You need to try to identify what your dog does right before it eliminates. Is he/she trying to sneak off? Does he sniff? Circle? Some dogs provide signals that are easy to spot. Try to learn your puppy and his body language.
Rewards and Praise
When you see signs your puppy is about to go potty, ask him in an excited voice, “Do you have to go “outside”, “potty”? Or any other keyword you decide to use. Use an excited tone in your voice. Once outside, stay with him until he goes and heap praise on him as soon as he is finished. Let him hear the excitement in your voice again once he does go potty by using, “good boy”, “good girl” “good job” etc. I would find some small treats to offer him. I oftentimes use cheese puffs for rewarding the dogs after going potty during training.
Use a crate when you can’t supervise
I’m a strong believer in crate training. A crate will provide your puppy with a safe space where he feels secure and helps to eliminate household accidents. I recommend finding a crate with double doors and a divider. It makes cleanup easier and you can section the crate off as he grows. You can also leave one portion of the crate with bedding and a separate area of the crate you can line with a potty pad. Midwest makes a great double door crate and you can find them on Amazon easily. By confining him to a small space like a crate, you will teach him to wait to be let out. He will be more reluctant to soil his crate because dogs do not like to go potty where they sleep. That being said, you can expect your puppy to be able to hold his urine for 1 hour for every month of age. Because of this, we didn’t let our dogs sleep with us all night until they were around 9 months old. When introducing your puppy to the crate, repeat a keyword such as “crate”, “bed”, “kennel” etc. and guide them in. Encourage them to go in on their own by offering a small food treat once inside. When you do let him out of the crate, take him directly to his assigned potty area and excitedly repeat to him your choice of keyword. Offering a small food treat along with praise for going potty in the designated area also helps tremendously!
Take him out to potty after meals. Take him out in the morning, as well as one last time before bed. Do not leave water out constantly. If you do, you are asking for accidents. Give water at regular intervals, mealtimes and after vigorous play. Take him out after you give them water. Your dog will need to go out after drinking/eating, napping and playing/exercising. In the initial potty-training process, don’t just let him out. Stay with him so you don’t miss the chance to reward him for his good behavior. You will be surprised how much dogs really love praise for doing the right thing. Do not leave your dog outside unsupervised during the house- training process. Young puppies get upset being separated from their owners. They may spend the entire time outside looking for you verses a place to go potty if you leave them alone. Puppies will not want to go outside if they associate it with a negative experience of being left alone by you.
If he/she has an accident, blame yourself, not the puppy! It’s your job to supervise him. Rubbing his nose in it, yelling or hitting will only teach him to avoid you and sneak off when he feels the need to go potty. You want him to eventually come to you when he needs to go potty, not run and hide! If you catch him in the middle of going potty, immediately redirect him to his designated area. A firm no from you and some redirection is enough.
It’s a part of life and owning a dog. Changes in their routine, diet, visitors, or any new stressors can contribute to accidents and you should expect those accordingly. If your puppy suddenly has loose stool, I recommend adding some canned, plain pumpkin to his/her puppy food. Make sure it’s not pumpkin pie filling. Always keep a can or two on hand. The pumpkin is a natural fiber that helps to bulk up the stool and end diarrhea.