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Potty Training a Puppy

Bringing home a new puppy is such an exciting time for your family. Having a new addition to your family is always a reason to celebrate, but along with that celebration come new responsibilities and new tasks to be completed. Nothing will cause that wonderful feeling of new puppy euphoria to fade faster than having to continually clean up after the accidents your puppy has all over the floors in your home. That’s why potty training a puppy becomes a top priority to new pet owners.

Some people have unrealistic expectations of their furry new friend. You wouldn’t expect a child to be potty trained after a day or two, and you shouldn’t expect that of a puppy either. Training a puppy takes patience and time, but it’s not as difficult as you might think.

There are several methods for housebreaking your puppy, and a few of the more popular ones are outlined below.

Crate Training
Confining your puppy to a crate while you are away is one way to begin potty training your pet. Put his food, water, bed and toys inside the crate after lining the entire crate with paper. At first, your puppy will likely eliminate in his crate. Soon, though he will probably stop doing that. He will learn that he doesn’t want to eliminate in the same place that he eats and sleeps.

In order for this to be effective, the crate must not be too large for your pet. If it is, he will simply eliminate in one end and “live” in the other end. There are crates available with a temporary dividing wall. Put the wall up when he is small and being trained. As he grows, or after he is completely trained, you can remove the wall so the dog will have a larger space.

When you get home, immediately let your puppy outside. When he eliminates outside, reward him. It is essential that you let him out of the house immediately after he is released from the crate. If he is allowed to romp and play in the house first, he will be more likely use the bathroom in the house.

The point of using a crate for potty training is to teach your dog to “hold it” when you are away and then to wait until he is out of doors to do his business.

Paper Training
Another popular method of potty training is paper training. If you choose this method you can purchase “puppy pads” or simply use newspaper. The puppy pads, unlike newspaper, are very absorbent and make for a much easier cleanup.

First, you need to teach your puppy that when he needs to go to the bathroom the paper is the only acceptable place to do so. You can do this by tossing your puppy onto the paper if you catch him in the act of eliminating in the house. This will not be effective unless you catch the puppy in the act. You can also move the puppy’s solid waste onto the paper. This will help him get the idea that the paper is an acceptable place to go.

After the puppy starts using the papers, begin to move the papers closer and closer to the door. If, after you move the paper, you find that the puppy misses, you may have moved the paper too far or too soon. Simply move the paper back to the previous spot for a few days and then try moving it again. Eventually, move the papers outside. This process can take weeks, or even months. Be patient with your puppy!

Praise and Reward
If you are able to be home and attentive to your dog most of the day for a few weeks, you can potty train your puppy by using the praise and reward method. This involves you taking the puppy outside every 30 to 60 minutes. He should always be taken outside immediately after eating or drinking. Every time the puppy goes to the bathroom outside, he should be lavished with praise and treats. If he has an accident inside, say “NO” in a firm voice. Then, he must IMMEDIATELY be taken outside. If he goes at all while outside, praise and reward him.

For this method to be successful, you must be paying attention to your puppy constantly throughout the day. If he does have an indoor accident that you don’t witness, just clean it up and move on. Moving him outside is only effective if it is done immediately.

While this isn’t possible for everyone, if you have the time to use this method, it can be one of the fastest and most effective ways to potty train your puppy.

Professional Help
If all of your efforts have failed, you may want to consider attending a professional puppy training session. Because some people turn their pets into the SPCA when they have trouble training them, most local chapters offer low-cost training to help owners housebreak their puppies.

You will also be able to get advice on alternate training methods from your vet. The key is to not give up!

What Not To Do
Hitting your puppy and screaming at your puppy are not effective methods of potty training. All that those reactions will do is teach your dog to fear you. They will not necessarily understand why you are hurting them, so it won’t benefit your ultimate goal which is to train your pet.

It is never acceptable to hit your pet. Also, rubbing your dog’s nose in the mess you found behind your couch is completely ineffective as a training method. Again, the dog is not likely to understand why you are doing that. If they don’t understand then they can’t alter their behavior.

Keep your goal in mind. That goal isn’t to inspire fear, but that is what those reactions will do.

Potty training a puppy doesn’t have to be a difficult chore. While it can take some time, with a little patience and armed with the right methods, you can have your new best friend trained in no time!

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