When you bring a new pup into the family, there is a whirl wind of expectation and excitement and responsibility and of course, fun. Their bouncy little bodies run from one moment to the next with full anticipation of the day’s events until they finally crash in a heap of sweet smelling pooling mess for a nap to re-energize. Your role in their life is a very important one, as you will be their sole compass for directing their behavior and their happiness. The idea of housebreaking can seem like one of the daunting responsibilities when you bring home your new pup. Of course, paper training a puppy is always an option if you’re feeling like you’re overwhelmed and need to take smaller steps.
In most cases, paper training is a temporary idea, as few people can tolerate the chronic urinating and defecating inside the home for a long period of time. If you’re not crate training but are going to sequester your new little bundle of joy to an area while you’re gone, paper training is not a bad idea. The only real drawback to paper training is that some dogs never completely “release” the idea of going in the house. Thus if you attempt to curb the paper training and ultimately try to move his toileting needs outside, it may not be completely successful. If you fail to provide him with an acceptable area, he may very well choose one of his own liking. This may not be to your liking.
If you’re going to paper train, you shouldn’t bother to use real newspaper. Puppy piddle pads are more absorbent, and aren’t likely to represent any other substance in the home that the puppy can mistake for his piddle area. It can be a little aggravating to drop your newspaper on the floor to run for that second cup of coffee only to find that your sweet little one has used it for his own need in your absence.
In essence, the logistics of paper training a puppy isn’t all that different from other forms of housebreaking. When your puppy wakes up, has just eaten, or has finished up his play time, take him to the area of acceptable toileting. If he goes, he’s “such a good boy” and we’re all excited about him and we give him a treat. If he doesn’t, we become persistent in our efforts to get him to go where we are asking him to. When he goes in the “wrong place” we are not happy humans and we scold him, catching him in the act of course, and we take him to his appropriate place.
Whenever you’re teaching your new puppy the appropriate places for urination and defecation, you need to be consistent. You can not ultimately decide that you are okay with him peeing on the piddle pad but he needs to poop outside. You won’t be able to explain the differences to him, and he will take your admonishment for utilizing the piddle pad for his feces as scolding for using the piddle pad altogether. Then he’ll really be confused and may opt for a place all his own when he needs to go to the bathroom.
It’s also never recommended to punish your dog for toileting in the wrong area after you discover it later. If you didn’t see him do it, you can’t drag him back to the scene of the crime hours later and let him have it. There is questionable evidence regarding whether or not he’ll ever understand what your issue is. Of course, there are those who insist that if you do nothing, he’s never going to understand that it’s wrong. There’s a merit to this except it is your job to watch him closely, to be able to catch him in mid squat, hopefully before he manages to release any excretion, and get him to the area of choice. Some people truly find that paper training makes them lazy about dog training. They become complacent about keeping a vigilant eye on their little one. It takes twice as long because they aren’t in a mad rush to get him out the door on time. If you find yourself relying too much on the paper to do your job for you, perhaps paper training a puppy isn’t the best option for you. Changing it up midstream and suddenly trying to get your new little wiggle worm out the door for toileting might make it a little more difficult for him, and it might take a little longer, but it’s better than finding yourself with a one year old pup who hasn’t mastered the idea of where to go to the bathroom because you find this method difficult to work with.
One of the most difficult aspects of paper training your little guy is keeping him confined to the piddle pad as you allow him more freedom throughout the home. If he started off confined to a few small areas and you eventually try to trust him more, he may develop new habits and you may not know this until you step in a cold and wet puddle on the way to the bathroom first thing in the morning. Many dogs struggle to understand that their paper area is the only area in the home that they are permitted this activity. You may have to keep your bundle of sloppy kisses confined much longer while he figures this out. You may ultimately decide that when the weather warms up or when he’s ten months old, or any other random reason, that you want to switch him to outdoor toileting.
Paper training a puppy takes the same vigilance and dedication that other methods of house breaking require. It’s not a short cut. For some people, it means that they can enjoy the benefits of ownership if they are otherwise impaired and can’t leave the house easily. For others, it is a short term method for initial house breaking. Either way, it takes a great deal of patience and a lot of forethought. Done right, it can help your puppy grow into his next milestone with ease.