House training your puppy in 5 days!
The dreaded potty training! But the big question is how to potty train a puppy fast? If you follow these steps it really won’t be bad and will go by faster than you ever imagined. Puppy potty training doesn’t need to be daunting, in fact most puppies I work with are potty trained within the first few days of coming home.
The potty trained puppy
Let’s discuss what it means to have a potty trained puppy. A potty trained puppy holds it till he or she is taken outside. But puppies are babies and we need to remember they can’t hold it as long as adult dogs and if we aren’t diligent they will they go on the floor in the beginning. Yes, we as pet parents have to help them succeed. And here is how to potty training a puppy fast.
Beginning puppy potty training, steps for success.
I always recommend crate training for puppies. With the right training a crate is somewhere that dogs actually love, a safe spot from loud moments, to sleep comfortably, and more. But also, dogs don’t want to pee where they sleep and hence crate training sets you both up for success and at a faster rate to puppy potty train quickly. We also need to constantly take puppies out to go potty.
The consistent times a puppy has to go potty is:
- First thing when you wake up, go straight outside
- After a meal
- After drinking water
- After a nap
- After playtime
- Every time after you open the crate
- Before bed
- Every few hours
How often do puppies need to go outside?
The rule of thumb is a puppy can hold their bladder for how many months they are + 1. So a 3 month old puppy can usually hold their bladder for around 4 hours… once they are taught to do so. As our puppies get older, and by tracking their accidents, we can give them more and more time. It will be easier for them to hold it during the night when sleeping then during the day when awake. After 6 months of age puppies can generally hold it 6-8 hours – for many dogs they do achieve this before 6 months when a strong foundation is built.
In the beginning expect to wake up in the middle fo the night, for some puppies this is just for a few nights then they fall into their rhythm and sleep the whole night. Most dogs will bark and alert you when they need to be let out in the night.
Tips for success when going outside with your puppy:
When taking your pet outside to go potty, the following tips will help:
- Take frequent trips outside to set your pet up for success, especially at the beginning as we are teaching them to hold their bladder.
- When outside give them their verbal command such as ‘go potty’ but don’t keep repeating it. By saying it over and over we call their attention to us and not to the business they should be doing. This is a very common mistake.
- Try to ignore your puppy but keep an eye on them out of the corner of your eye.
- Have a treat always on you when you start potty training but don’t rustle around your treat bag or your pup is going to think it’s obedience or training time. Need treat ideas? I have my favorites here. If those don’t work some boiled chicken or some roast beef works great too!
- Try walking in slow small circles, this often helps get things moving – just as our pets walk in a circle before they go potty. If your pet usually goes in one area try slowly walking around there.
- Verbally reward while they go, “good potty!”. Be excited for your pup!
- REWARD generously immediately after your pet goes potty. As soon as they are done you should have the treat at their nose and throw them a little party.
- Keep your outside sessions short, you shouldn’t be out there for 30 mins waiting for your pet to pee. 5 mins is more than enough!
- Crate for success. Taking your pet out at all the above-mentioned times and if your pet doesn’t go, and they are due to – ie – drank a lot of water, had a play session, this is the time to use your crate. Have them spend 10-30 mins in the crate and try again immediately outside. This helps set our pets up for success. Repeat this process until they go. This will prevent accidents inside, teach them to actually hold their bladder (yes, that’s a skill) and helps you reward going potty outside. Key here: Do not let your pet loose indoors if they haven’t gone to the bathroom outside.
How to use crate training for potty training your puppy
Watch our videos and see our blog here to learn how to positively associate the crate for your puppy.
As mentioned in #9 above, Any time you cannot supervise your dog, he should be tethered to you via a leash, in a crate or pen, or in a smaller room behind a baby gate. Gradually, you can allow a little freedom, 15-20 minutes after he went potty outside. There will be some accidents but never punish your dog. If you frighten or punish him, he might become afraid to potty in front of you and will sneak off to do it somewhere else which will be harder to correct. If you catch your dog having an accident, simply pick him up right away, yes…while he’s going, and take him right outside so he can finish. If he does go outside still be sure to still reward no matter how frustrated you are.
Next, it’s very important to keep a schedule.
It should go something like this:
- 7am Wake up – Go outside to go potty
- 7:15am playtime
- 7:30 breakfast
- 8:00 outside for potty break
- 8:15 playtime
- 9:00 crate time
- 10:00 out of crate – potty break
- 10:15 training
- 10:30 out side then X pen time
- 11:30 playtime
- 12:00 Feeding. Repeat schedule
Puppy pad training. Should you use pee pads yes or no?
I do not recommend using pee pads as often pets have a hard time later in life differentiating between a pee pad and a rug which leads to house training issues later in life.
But! I do recommend using a grass patch such as this one if you need an option for indoors. I usually will buy pee pads and put it under the plastic grass, this will help make clean up easier if using in your home. For the plastic grass, you can hose it off outside or in your shower for easy clean-up.
This is a nice easy way to transition your pet to go outside. I actually left my grass patch outside for when it’s raining it’s near the door for my dog Rossi to use.
I also highly recommend rolling up the rugs in your house when possible when you are just starting out and rolling them back once your pet is starting to understand the concept.
When puppy potty training in my house I have an x-pen, with a crate in it, a few toys, and when they are young and I’m not home the grass patch with pee pads under it. Once they are old enough to hold it a few hours I remove the grass patch … unless for some reason I won’t be home during the day and I want to prevent accidents on the ground.
Potty Training Necessities
Signs your puppy has to go potty
As your puppy is growing you will need to start to be observant of their behavior and body language. If you find your puppy is doing any of the following rush them outside:
- sniffing around
- walking in circles
- leaving the room
- walking back and forth around an area of a previous accident
Your pet may find their own way of telling you they have to go, from licking you, pawing you, barking at you. Pay attention if any of these types of behaviors occur before an accident and next time be ready.
Tracking your puppy’s potty schedule
In the beginning, it often helps to see when dogs have accidents to see how often long they are holding their bladder.
I suggest for the first week or two noting every time you take your puppy out to go to potty, if they went and any accidents in the house (note if they were following water, feeding, or playtime). This is also fantastic for dogs that are struggling with potty training to help you figure out their schedule.
By noting all of this down we can look for patterns and see how often we should be taking them out to go bathroom. For example 30 mins after drinking he has to pee.
What to do if your puppy has an accident in the house
Accidents are bound to happen but following these steps you can cut them down. So what do you do when your puppy has an accident?
If you catch your puppy having an accident say no and quickly pick them up, yes while they are going, and rush them outside. Give them a minute and see if they will go anymore outside. If they do be sure to reward.
If you missed your pet having the accident unfortunately there isn’t anything you can do after the fact (besides properly cleaning it). Rubbing their nose in it etc won’t stop accidents in the future and just creates a cruel experience.
No matter what it’s important you clean it up properly.
Cleaning up pet accidents are crucial
If you don’t properly clean up where your pet had an accident there is a high likely hood they will go again in that same spot, their noses are so strong they can easily smell where a pet has peed before.
Cleaning up pet urine is different than most liquids, you need to use an enzyme cleaner. In my house I use Skouts Honors Urine defender, I find it has the most pleasing small and does the best job of cleaning throughly. Be sure to soak the area throughly and let sit for at least 5 mins and then remove the excess moisture with a cloth or paper towel. If the stain has been sitting a while I recommend doing this twice to be sure it’s properly cleaned.
Other cleaners will mask the smell, meaning we can’t smell it but surprise our pets still can! So using an enzymatic cleaner is really important to preventing future accidents… and keeping our homes smelling nice and fresh.
To review the important facts of how to potty train a puppy fast:
- Practice and use your crate training
- Give your puppy time outside to go potty without you talking
- Stick with a schedule
- Give plenty of opportunities for success by going outside multiple times a day
- Go outside after drinking, eating, playing and sleeping.
- Provide regular exercise – helps regularity
- Reinforce for going outside (have those treats ready!)
- Clean up accidents properly
- Always supervise your puppy, tether to you or use a crate or x pen.
Keep your treats ready to reinforce those good potty moments.