Potty Training Your Puppy
One thing that most new puppy owners fear is the process of potty training their new puppy. And while we do include potty training in our Goldendoodle Puppy Training program, it is essential to continue this training once you bring the puppy home. Your home is an unfamiliar place for your Goldendoodle, and they will need your help to know how they are to act in their new environment.
As with most things in life, there are hard ways and there are easy ways to get things done. Many dog owners practice potty training based on punishment for improper actions, which can cause other emotional issues with a new puppy. For instance, rubbing a puppy’s nose in a mess is an inappropriate way to house train. You do not want your new puppy to fear you.
Using ample amounts of supervision and positive reinforcement is the easy way. Below are some tips to make this process easier and more natural.
Getting Started Off Right With Potty Training
It is important to have a proper structure in place as you train your new Goldendoodle puppy. Not only will this help you stick with the training longer, but it will form a strong foundation of trust towards you from your puppy.
The first course of action in house training is to promote the desired behavior. You need to:
- Designate an appropriate elimination area outdoors
- Frequently guide your dog there to do his business
- Heartily praise him when he goes
By occasionally giving a food reward immediately after your dog finishes, you can encourage him to eliminate in the desired area. The odor left from previous visits to that area would quickly mark it as the place for the pup to do his business.
Timing Is Important In Potty Training!
Potty training your new Goldendoodle in their new home requires fairly strict adherence to a routine that fits the age of your puppy. Because a puppy may be unsure about their bathroom limits in your home, directing them to the proper place at the proper times will be essential in forming better habits.
A six to eight-week-old puppy should be taken outdoors every hour. Older puppies can generally wait longer between outings.
Some examples of when a puppy should be taken out at first are:
- After waking in the morning
- After naps
- After meals
- After playing or training
- After being left alone
- Immediately before being put to bed
While this may seem like a lot, it is important to realize that proper timing will soon become a habit for both you and your puppy. And keep in mind that as your puppy gets older, you won’t have to use the same frequency. The goal here is simply to form better habits early on to avoid accidents and ensure an easier transition for your puppy.
Eliminating On Command
To avoid spending a lot of time waiting for your puppy to get the job done, you may want to teach him to eliminate on command.
Each time he is in the act of eliminating, simply repeat a unique command, such as “hurry up” or “potty”, in an upbeat tone of voice.
After a few weeks of potty training, you will notice that when you say the command your puppy will begin pre-elimination sniffing, circling, and then eliminate shortly after you give the command. Be sure to praise him for his accomplishments.
Feeding Schedule And Potty Training Should Work Together
Most puppies will need to go potty within an hour after eating. Once you take control of your puppy’s feeding schedule, you will have some control over when he needs to eliminate.
- Schedule your puppy’s dinner times so that you will be available to let him out after eating.
- Avoid giving your puppy a large meal just prior to confining him or he may have an accident when you are not around to take him out. Schedule feeding two to three times daily on a consistent schedule.
- Only have their food available for 30 to 40 minutes, and then remove it. This will teach your puppy to eat while the food is out instead of on their own timing.
- The last feeding of the day should be completed several hours before he is confined for the night. By controlling the feeding schedule, exercise sessions, confinement periods, and trips outdoors to the designated potty area, your puppy will quickly develop a reliable schedule for eliminating.
Left on his own, the untrained puppy is very likely to make a mistake. Close supervision is a very important part of training.
Do NOT consider your puppy housetrained until he has gone at least four consecutive weeks without eliminating in the house. For older dogs, this period should be even longer. Until then:
- Your puppy should constantly be within eyesight
- Baby gates can be helpful to control movement throughout the house and to aid supervision
- Keep them in the crate when unsupervised
When you are away from home, sleeping, or if you are just too busy to closely monitor your pet’s activities, confine him to a small, safe area in the home.
If your puppy does have a potty accident in the house, it is important to remember that punishing them is not the answer. Proper potty training is about positive reinforcement. Stick with the discipline of your plan and take note of the circumstances that may have caused the accident, such as the time of day, level of supervision, etc.
Do your best to correct these circumstances for next time. And when your puppy realizes there is a reward for going potty in one location but not another, he will adjust and start to form better habits without being afraid.
If your puppy squats and urinates when he greets you, he may have a problem called submissive urination. Dogs and puppies that urinate during greetings are very sensitive and should never be scolded when they do this since punishment inevitably makes the problem worse.
Most young puppies will grow out of this behavior if you are calm, quiet, and avoid reaching toward the head during greetings. Another helpful approach is to calmly ask your dog to sit for a tasty treat each time someone greets him.
Direct Him Away from Problem Areas
Urine and fecal odor should be thoroughly removed to keep your dog from returning to areas of the home where he made a mess.
- Be sure to use a good commercial product manufactured specifically to clean up doggy odors. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for usage.
- If a carpeted area has been soaked with urine, be sure to saturate it with the clean up product and not merely spray the surface.
- Rooms in the home where your dog has had frequent mistakes should be closed off for several months. He should only be allowed to enter when accompanied by a family member.
Dogs are creatures of habit, and they will naturally return to the places where they have discovered it is alright to eliminate. Remember that punishing them for doing this could actually hinder their confidence when you direct them to the appropriate areas, so avoid scolding them and instead make it impossible for them to know where the improper areas are before they return.
Don’t Make Things Worse
It is a rare dog or puppy that can be house-trained without making an occasional mess, so you need to be ready to handle the inevitable problems.
- Do not rely on harsh punishment to correct mistakes. This approach usually does not work, and may actually delay training.
- An appropriate correction consists of simply providing a moderate, startling distraction. You should only do this when you see your dog in the act of eliminating in the wrong place.
- A sharp noise, such as a loud “No” or a quick stomp on the floor, is all that is usually needed to stop the behavior. Just do not be too loud or your pet may learn to avoid eliminating in front of you, even outdoors.
It is also important that everyone in your household understand these guidelines. If you have practiced the wrong methods in the past with previous pets, it may be tempting for small children or other family members to inappropriately correct your new puppy during potty training. You will want to avoid that from happening.
In the event that your Goldendoodle puppy does make a mistake, the best thing you can do is to be patient. This is a process, and even a puppy who has been trained in our Puppy Training Institute still has the possibility of having accidents in a new environment. They will learn what is right as long as you stick with it and don’t get frustrated.
Do not continue to scold or correct your dog after he has stopped going potty. When he stops, quickly take him outdoors so that he will finish in the appropriate area and be praised. This immediate action will allow your puppy to associate their praise or reward with the corrected action. Never rub your dog’s nose in a mess. Your puppy will want to please you, and the best way they know you are pleased is when you praise them. They will actively recreate actions they know will please you. Rubbing their nose in a mess will in no way help their training, and may actually make them afraid of you and add confusion. If they are afraid of you because of a potty accident, they may never eliminate in your presence and try to hide their actions.
The basic principles of house-training are pretty simple, but a fair amount of patience is required. The most challenging part is always keeping an eye on your active dog or puppy. If you maintain control, take your dog outdoors frequently, and consistently praise the desirable behavior, soon you should have a house trained canine companion.