Training Tip Tuesday – Potty Training

TRAINING TIP TUESDAY – potty training

By: Kim Astle

It’s crazy to think of Potty Training as a “planned event” but accidents happen. It’s time to make a plan. Here’s a guideline for you to use…
  1. Pick your location. On a leash, find a bathroom spot and use that spot for potty time.
  2. Use a word or phrase to let them know what they are doing and when they relieve themselves. Use that word/phrase every time they go potty outside.
  3. Praise them and give them a treat as soon as they have completed their task. Rewarding them every time teaches them what you want them to do.
  4. After that has been accomplished, spend some time outside playing, or take them for a walk/discovery time.

What goes into a puppy on a schedule, comes out on a schedule. Depending on the age of the puppy, they may need to be fed two to three times each day – at the same time as the day before. This makes it more likely that they will go potty at the same time each day.

What if your puppy wakes up in the middle of the night? No worries, turn on as few lights as needed to take them outside. Try not to talk or play with the puppy, or they will think it’s time to wake up. Reward them for going potty, using the same word/phrase, and put them back to bed.

Supervise your puppy when they are awake, and in the house. You can tether them to you if you are not actively training or playing with them.

Watch for signs that they need to go potty: barking, scratching, restlessness, squatting, sniffing around in circles. If you see the signs, take them outside immediately.

Once outside, allow them time to go potty, praise them, use the word/phrase, and reward them with a treat. Keep your puppy on a leash outside until they are reliably house trained.

Blog and graphic by Kim Astle, one of Ruff Start Rescue’s volunteer trainers, who focus on supporting our fosters and helping create successful dogs.