Thanks for your question.
The first thing to consider is their age and whether they can actually control their bodies enough to be potty trained. Usually they can begin to learn to do this around the age of 10-12 weeks. Some can take longer and others less, so it’s important to keep appropriate expectations and work on it consistently. Even a little effort is usually enough to teach them how to eliminate in the right area.
Here are some tips on potty training puppies that might help:
- I strongly recommend that you take the puppies outside for a bathroom break as much as possible. Getting them outside often will increase the chance that they will eliminate outside. Once they eliminate, be sure to reward the behaviour instantly by giving praise or a very special treat that they only get when they eliminate outside (make sure it is something very small with few calories so you don’t overfeed them). Praise them as much as possible or give them a favourite toy. All of these strategies can be employed to positively reinforce that desired behaviour of eliminating outside.
- If elimination has occurred inside the home, then do a deep clean of the areas where your dog is eliminating. If there is a residue of urine or faeces remaining in an area of your home, it will promote more elimination in that area.
- I would consider restricting access to the area where the inappropriate elimination is occurring. Sometimes this can be enough to stop it but it may not be feasible depending on the layout of your home and where your dog is eliminating.
- Avoid punishment if you can. Many people will resort to yelling or scolding their dog when they eliminate inside. This can create fear and possibly aggression. It can also be confusing when people are not scolding them right when the behaviour happens. It’s best to avoid this altogether.
- I would avoid putting anything in the house that is appropriate to urinate on such as a ‘pee pad’. When people do this their dogs learn to eliminate inside and it’s a small step for them to take from eliminating on the pee pad versus eliminating on the rug right beside it. I would avoid this.
I would encourage you to take a look at our video tutorial about potty training a puppy and our article on puppy proofing a home for more guidance.
I hope this helps and good luck.
Dr. Clayton Greenway
What are some tips on potty training puppies?
The first thing to consider is their age and whether they can actually control their bodies enough to be potty trained and this is usually at the age of 10-12 weeks. Some can take longer and others less, so it’s important to keep appropriate expectations and work on it consistently.
Dr. Clayton Greenway, B.Sc., DVM
Healthcare for Pets