Potty training is easily one of the most frustrating aspects of living with a dog. I didn’t say “puppies” for a reason. There are a lot of circumstances under which you can find yourself living with an adult dog who has no idea how or where to potty. Most shelter dogs over a year or two old probably have a pretty good grasp on where elimination is acceptable, but sometimes you’ll find a dog who was trained on pads or hasn’t had the joy of a loving home yet.
Happily, nature is on our side. Dogs do not naturally eliminate in their den. (They also don’t naturally have a den quite as large as our houses…) Crate training emulates this environment for dogs who cannot be supervised until the dog recognizes that the entire house is the “den”. It shouldn’t take more than a few weeks of consistency and ample opportunities for your furry friend to understand where you want her to go, no matter the age. We’ve written a simple, effective, force free guide to crate training here. Crates are a safe, loving option for the times when we cannot supervise our furry family. Puppies older than 8 weeks can safely be crated overnight or for up to 4 hours at a time during the day. Animals six months or older can be crated the entire time you’re gone to work if necessary, but breaks are always advised. Most dogs are sleeping during this time of day anyway.
I find that many people, even with all the time in the world, often get distracted during the potty training process. My favorite tool to remedy this common failure is a simple leash! A six foot leash clipped to your waistband will keep your friend close enough that you will notice when she gets restless and needs to go outside. Fidgety pups and dogs that are circling are giving you clear cues that they might need some time where it is appropriate to eliminate. Preventing accidents in the house is the number one way to shorten the time it takes to potty train.
- Always praise any obvious requests to go outside or success eliminating appropriately with enthusiasm.
- Dogs under 2 years of age may need to pee twice every time they go outside before they’ve fully emptied a full bladder. If your dog is peeing outside and then shortly after having an accident, try giving her more time.
- If your dog refuses to potty outside and then immediately comes inside to potty, she is clearly confused. This problem usually stems from lack of training and simply requires patience and praise when success is achieved.
- A schedule is an absolute must. Young puppies may need to be taken outside as frequently as every half hour to establish good habits. Feel free to save the following schedule to remind you of the times most dogs need to go potty.