Accidents happen—but when they’re happening all the time, and all over your expensive furniture, it can be every dog owner’s nightmare.
Dog potty training is a daunting task, though, and it can take 4-6 months for your pup to get it right every time. Unfortunately, this period can get much longer when dog owners fail to establish good potty training habits.
While this isn’t a full-on survival guide to the weeks and months ahead, the tips and tricks below can help you learn how to potty train a dog, without the common mistakes that cause your furry friend to backslide.
Decide on a Single Cue to Help Your Dog Understand
Your dog needs to know what to do when it’s time for a potty break, but multiple cues can overwhelm and confuse your efforts.
Instead, get with your family to decide what the single potty training cue should be. Some people have their pets bark at the door, while others opt for a quieter bell. Some have them sit in a certain area, or simply wait until they stand by the door.
Whatever you decide, it’s important to choose just one cue, and to stay consistent with it. Whenever your pup performs the action associated with “potty time,” you need to be there to open the door. This teaches your dog that they can depend on this cue when they need to go out.
Consider Easier Alternatives for How to Potty Train a Dog
If you want to make things even easier on yourself, skip the cue entirely! Instead, you might want to train your pup to use a small piece of fake grass to do their business, both inside and outside the home.
This keeps any mess they make in one easy to clean location, and it means they can roam around your home instead of being locked up. The training process is a little different, but if you’re interested you can check out this artificial grass guide for dog owners.
Know Your Puppy’s Bladder Limits
Your puppy has a pretty small bladder, so you’ll need to pay attention to them during the housetraining process.
A good rule of thumb is that a puppy (up to a year of age) can hold their bladder for the number of hours corresponding to their age in months. In other words, a four-month-old pup can hold it in for about four hours. However, you should observe your pup to learn their specific rhythms.
You’re Training Yourself and Your Family, Too
Don’t forget, potty training only works if everyone in the family follows the rules. This is why it’s so important to have one single cue that everyone understands.
When this cue is ignored or the rules aren’t followed, your pup can easily backslide into old, messy habits. Be careful not to blame your pup for human error!
Have Patience While Learning How to Potty Train a Dog
Remember, your dog will stray off course sometimes. It’s only natural. But as you and your family work to develop consistent routines for how to potty train a dog, your pup will respond to the changes over time.
Be sure to offer up plenty of positive reinforcement, and to stick to your basic cue through it all. And if you’re looking for more tips and tricks, don’t forget to check out our other posts!