Toilet training is all about creating good habits. Young pups have very small bladders and very little bladder control so they need to be in the right place when nature calls. To toilet train successfully in as short a time as possible you must take your puppy or rescue dog to the garden :

Stay outside with your dog. Do not nag or distract him just mooch about and he will do the same and eventually eliminate. Quiet praise is sufficient. Once dog has eliminated you can either stay out and play or go back indoors. If you stay out for a game then he will often need to go again before you go back indoors so stop the game and stay out for a while longer to give him a chance to go again. If you have to take him back in and he hasn’t eliminated outside then either confine him to his crate (if trained), sit him on your lap or tuck him under your arm (small breeds only) as you go about your chores and try again in five minutes. It is imperative that you do this, especially if you have started off with newspaper down or puppy pads because your dog may prefer to pee indoors and he could simply be waiting to be taken back in. Give him zero opportunity to go wrong. If your dog toilets in the house it is because you haven’t toilet trained him yet and didn’t take him outside when he needed to go.

Common mistakes during toilet training.

N.B. Areas indoors where pup / dogs has had an accident are best cleaned with a dilute of biological washing powder. Avoid using disinfectant as this contains ammonia and can encourage dog to pee there again.


Overnight

Young pups / dogs will need to go to the toilet once or twice in the night for anything from a few days to a few weeks.

If your pup / dog is sleeping in a crate in the bedroom with you then they will wake and should let you know they need to go out. Take dog to the garden to eliminate and then straight back to bed again. A few nights of this and it will take you longer to find your slippers because of sleep deprivation and consequently pup / dog is learning to hold on and will soon be sleeping all night. If you choose to leave puppy / dog in the kitchen or utility room to sleep then do not shut them in a crate and simply clean up in the morning without comment.

Why punishment does not work for house training.

A typical morning in the life of an 8 week old pup.

7:00am Puppy pees in the garden – Owner present. Gets praised

7.30am Puppy pees in the kitchen – Owner present. Gets a reprimand

8:15am Puppy pees in the lounge – Owner not present. Nothing happens except relief

9:00am Puppy pees in the lounge – Owner present. Gets a reprimand

9:30 am Puppy pees in the kitchen – Owner not present. Nothing, just relief

11:00am Puppy pees in the garden – Owner doesn’t notice Just relief again

11:30am Puppy pees under the dining room table – Owner not present. Nothing happens

12:15pm Puppy pees in the garden – Owner present – gets praise

What we think we are teaching puppy is that it is good to pee in the garden and wrong to pee in the house but what the pup is actually learning is that sometimes it is rewarding to pee when the owner is present and sometimes it is dangerous. However it is always safe to go when the owner is not present and that so far the safest place is under the dining room table.

ADMIN NOTE. – Never deny your dog water in the mistaken belief that this will aid toilet training. It won’t. It will make the urine stronger, it may impact on your dog’s health, i.e. cause kidney problems or urinary tract infections if the dog drinks greedily and excessively when it is available knowing it will be taken away. Dogs must have clean fresh water available all of the time.

By Sally Bradbury

For more training advice we recommend : The Dog Training and Advice Group