Potty Training Your Dog – Where to Start?

If you were reading the blog earlier this month you likely read our piece on how to clean up your car following an accident in the back seat. But what if it’s not an accident? Ok, that sounds more terrifying than we mean it to. What we mean is, what if that behavior isn’t an accident, what if your pet just hasn’t had any training yet? Well this time on the Acoma Animal Clinic blog we’re going to look at training your dog and the very first steps to take!

Training Your Dog – Where to Start

If you’re dealing with frequent accidents (whether in the car or not), the first thing to do training-wise is to potty train them!

Potty Training / Housebreaking

Potty training, or housebreaking, should be the first thing on any new pet owner’s agenda. When it gets down to brass tacks, there are five keys to house training your new puppy:

  • Teach them where you want them to relieve themselves
  • Teach them where you don’t want them to go
  • Teach them to hold it
  • Teach them when to go
  • Teach them a phrase to go

With these five keys covered your pet will be going outside like a pro in no time!

Before we get started, remember one thing: punishment (or negative reinforcment) is likely to make the process harder, take longer, and make you feel downright terrible. 

Alright, with those keys and ideas in mind, let’s look at what equipment you’ll need. That’s right you need more than just a spot and a dream for your pup to be house trained! These things make the training go smoother.

You are going to need:

  • Puppy food and treats
  • Collar/harness
  • Leash (3-4ft, non-retractable)
  • A crate
  • Outdoor space
  • Puppy pads
  • Carpet cleaner (accidents happen!)

Before you dive in, there are a few things you can do to help the process go as smoothly as possible. For one, feed your puppy on a regular schedule. A regular feeding schedule makes for a regular potty schedule – allowing you to plan properly! Second, have a commend phrase that everyone who will be involved in potty training will use. “Go potty,” “be quick,” or other similar commands will help the dog learn what is being asked of them!

The Five Core Lessons of Potty Training

These are the five main lessons and ways to approach training your puppy. You can teach these in any order, and in fact you’re likely going to need to go back over them repeatedly as the training takes place. But with consistency and repetition your pup will be house trained in no time!

Teach them where you want them to relieve themselves

This is the first and most important lesson. Teaching your pup where exactly it’s ok and preferred for them to eliminate. Create a word for them to associate with the space such as ‘outside.’ Repeat the word when taking the pup to the area so they learn the word and its meaning.

Teach them where you don’t want them to go

On the flip side, you need to solidify where you don’t want them to go. You do not want to punish, frighten, or heaven forbid hurt your puppy – you just want to redirect them to the correct space.

Teach them to hold it

The way most folks approach holding it is to use crate training and a leash indoors to keep an eye on the pup and discourage them from relieving themselves where they shouldn’t. Puppies don’t want to make a mess of their own den/sleeping space which keeps them from making a mess in crates and if they’re on a leash they’ll not want to go right next to you. The puppy pads are for when they can’t yet make it through the night or if you’re not paying attention.

Teach them when to go

When you take your pet to the designated areas for potty, they’ll begin to understand when they should go and when they shouldn’t. In kennel over night? Shouldn’t go. When let out back in the morning, should go! Dogs want to please and when you reward them for the correct behavior they’ll get hooked!

Teach them a phrase to go

This is where that phrase we talked about earlier helps. Taking your puppy for a walk or outside in the designated place, and repeating the command phrase “go quick!” or what have you will start instilling in your dog that the two are linked and when you say the phrase they should eliminate.

Put all this together, and do it consistently, and your dog will be trained in no time!

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