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March 2, 2017

How Do You Toilet Train a Puppy?


Potty training is a crucial step in laying the foundation for a happy, healthy (and sanitary) relationship with your puppy.  But if you’re a first-time dog owner, the do’s and don’ts of toilet training for dogs probably seem a little overwhelming.  Our Atlanta dog sitting company offers some basic advice for toilet training your puppy, including the best age to start potty training your puppy, housetraining methods for dogs, and a few tips on what to avoid when you’re toilet training a dog.  

When to Start Potty Training for Puppies

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At what age do you start toilet training your puppy?  The answer is simple: as soon as you bring your new puppy home!  Georgia actually has a law that requires all puppies to be at least eight weeks old before they are sold, so your puppy will be at least eight weeks old when toilet training begins.   

The better question to ask might be, how long does potty training a puppy take?  It depends on how fast of a learner your dog is, but generally speaking, it will probably take your puppy anywhere from four to six months to become fully housetrained, so don’t expect the process to happen overnight.  

How to Potty Train a Puppy to Go Outside 

While cats and kittens can use litterboxes freely, dogs – especially bigger breeds – don’t exactly have that luxury, which means you’re going to have to teach your puppy to start using the bathroom outside.  There are many different methods and tools you can experiment with, such as puppy pads and crates, but start out by following this simple routine:  

  1. Take your puppy outside first thing in the morning at the same time every day.  
  2. Depending on your schedule, try to take your puppy outside approximately once per hour after your morning walk.  
  3. Bring your puppy to the same area of your yard or local dog park every time it uses the bathroom.  The scent that remains will encourage your dog to keep reusing this spot as a toilet.  
  4. Take away your puppy’s food in between meals.   
  5. Give your puppy plenty of praise every time it uses the bathroom outside.   
  6. Make sure your puppy has one last walk before bed to minimize the chance of an accident in the middle of the night.  

6 Puppy Potty Training Tips: Do’s and Don’ts

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Every dog is different, which means there’s no “perfect” method of housetraining.  What works well for one dog might fail with another, and even for experienced dog owners, housetraining usually involves a little bit of trial and error.   

That being said, there are still some basic do’s and don’ts when toilet training your new puppy.  Here are a few don’ts you should definitely try to avoid:  

  • Punishing your puppy for accidents.  Yelling at your puppy or rubbing its nose in the mess isn’t going to teach your puppy anything.  If you catch your dog in the act, scoop them up and get them outside ASAP.  
  • Misusing crates.  Dogs have a natural instinct to seek shelter during stressful times, so keeping a little crate in your home gives them a cozy place to hide from the world.  But your puppy shouldn’t get the idea that the crate is a bathroom.   
  • Having unrealistic expectations.  Puppies are physically small, which means food and water pass through their digestive systems quickly.  It’s unfair to your puppy to expect it to hold it in for more than a few hours at a time.  According to the American Kennel Club, a good rule of thumb is one hour per month of the puppy’s life, meaning a two-month-old puppy generally needs a bathroom break every two hours.  

You’re more likely to get good results quicker if you try some of these housetraining do’s:  

  • Stay consistent.  Feed your puppy the same type and amount of food at the same time each day.   Likewise, time your walks on the same schedule every day.   
  • Pay attention.  You need to reinforce good habits at this early, impressionable stage.  If your puppy is whining or scratching to go out, take it seriously and respond right away.  
  • Give plenty of praise.  Reinforce desired behaviors with praise, attention, and treats.  Just make sure you use treats that are physically small and easy for puppies to digest.  

In-Home Pet Dog Sitting Services Near Atlanta, GA  

Established in the 1970s, Critter Sitters is the oldest and largest pet sitting company in Georgia today.  We walk and sit tens of thousands of dogs and puppies every year, and have been recommended by eight different veterinarians’ offices.  When you need to book a caring, reliable, affordable, and experienced dog walker or puppy sitter fast, turn to Critter Sitters for all your pet care needs.  Our devoted team of puppy walkers and puppy sitters offers:  

We serve also serve dozens of other communities throughout the Atlanta metro area, so if you don’t see your town or city on the list above, just ask us!  To get started booking an appointment or simply learning more about the services we provide, give us a call today at (404) 973-2541.