Of all the issues that people come to me for advice on with their new pup, this one is always at the top of the list.
From when you get your new pup home to when he or she is fully toilet trained can take a couple of days or several months. The difference is invariably a result of what the human is doing right or wrong, not the pup.
Top Tips for Toilet Training
1. Set up a puppy playpen and line the floor with a waterproof tarpaulin and a couple of puppy pads. Ideally, you don’t even want your pup to use the puppy pads but they are there just in case you don’t let him out when he needs to go.
2. Take your pup outdoors every hour to give him the opportunity to toilet if he needs to.
3. At first, go to the same spot in the garden so he picks up the scent quickly.
4. Your pup will need to go toilet immediately after he wakes up from a deep sleep so be watching carefully and take him out as soon as he stirs and before he has a chance to go indoors.
5. Your pup may also need to go after eating or after any excitement like play. Watch for him sniffing around and move quickly to get outside.
6. Always err on the side of going out too often rather than leaving it too late.
7. Let your pup walk to the door himself, rather than be carried. It is important that he learns that this walk to the door is part of the behaviour chain. As time goes on he will start walking to the door himself to tell you he needs to go out. If you don’t teach him this, he won’t know how to tell you that he needs to go.
8. Go outside with your dog and watch him go. If you bring him back in too soon he might have been distracted by something outside, not go, and then go inside. If the children are helping out with this role make sure they understand how important it is that they wait and watch carefully.
9. Never bring your pup in again as soon as he has gone to the toilet unless the weather is unpleasant. Reward him with a bit of time sniffing or playing outside. If you constantly bring him straight back in again he or she will soon learn that doing a pee, gets the ‘punishment’ of having to go back indoors again. They will soon start to not pee straight away but to hold on to it and play first which will be frustrating when you are in a hurry and need him to go quickly.
10. Always pick up your dog’s poo immediately he has done it. Dogs are scavengers and will eat their own poo if they are allowed to get into the habit of it from a young age. It often starts at the breeders as the mum will often clean up the poo herself to keep the area tidy. Once you get your pup home you will find they are very curious about the poo, and may turn straight around to investigate and likely eat it. Picking it up immediately will soon teach your dog to ignore it.
The more effort you put into getting it right 100% of the time, the quicker your pup will learn what is expected of him or her. It doesn’t have to be the problem it often turns into.