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All the Bells and Whistles
Sometimes the reasons that potty training isn’t working doesn’t have anything to do with your pup. Your puppy might be trying to tell us that he needs to go outside but you either don’t see him or don’t understand his language. In those times attaching a bell to the door may provide him with the signal that he needs to get your attention. Make sure the bell is loud enough to be heard throughout your house and big enough that the slightest bump or scratch at the door will sound it off. Teach your pup that going outside to potty always starts with the bell ringing.
On a similar note, you could instead attach the bell to your puppy’s collar to alert you to his movements and whereabouts. The bell ringing will let you know when he’s up from his nap and probably looking to go outside, or when he’s actually at the front door when you thought he was in the kitchen.
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Belt it OutAlong the same lines as above, sometimes you just don’t notice or recognize our puppy’s potty dance. Tethering your pup to your belt on a long leash ensures that you are always in her vicinity and will notice anytime she gets up, paces, or whines to go potty. Having your puppy in close proximity to you at all times will keep you up to date on her actions and get you accustomed to her cues for various things; needing to potty included. This method also helps in the bonding department as it will get you more used to each other and bring you closer until you can’t live without each other. Just be sure that your pup can’t get entangled on furniture or other objects while on the long leash.
Keep it On the Move
One of the first basic rules in potty training puppies is to choose a designated potty spot and stick to it. Not only does this prevent confusion when your puppy needs to go, it also clues him into taking a potty break whenever he’s at the spot, sort of a potty-on-demand kind of training. This method is more if you’re using a potty pad or indoor toilet and trying to transition to going outside as your pup gets older. To help with this, move the potty pad a little closer to the door everyday. It doesn’t have to be a lot, just a couple of feet, so that it’s still in the general vicinity and easy for your puppy to find. As the pad moves closer to the door, work on using bell ringing or barking to signal that he needs to go outside.
If your puppy is having random accidents on the floor, try moving him closer to the door every time he has an accident. This works best if you can catch him in the act. Eventually, he will make the connection of being at the door equals going outside for some fresh air, a pleasant walk, and a potty break.
Timing is EverythingKnowing when your puppy needs to potty before they do may be your best bet in keeping your carpets dry and your floors clean. The best time to take puppies out to potty is after waking up from naps, after a meal or snack, and after play. Seem like a lot? That’s because it is. Puppies, like babies, need to potty around the clock. To make it easier, remember this general rule: a puppy can hold her bladder for as many hours as she is months old. For example, that newly weaned puppy that you bring home at eight weeks of age will need to potty every two hours, day and night. Get your puppy outside or to a potty pad at these key times and encourage them to go. Then make sure to praise or reward like crazy for a potty job well done. As you get to know your puppy, you should also take note of other times that she consistently has accidents, like when she greets you at the door, and try to get her outside before she has a chance to have a problem.
All Good, No Bad
You’ll catch more bees with honey applies to puppy potty training as well. Positive reinforcement is always the best way to go with potty training downfalls. Reward your pup often for properly alerting you to take her outside or for pottying when and where you tell her. Rewards can be treats, praise, affection, or all of the above, just keep it consistent. Never punish your pup for having an accident. Rather than correlating good potty behavior with treats, punishment will correlate any pottying with negative interactions and leave her scared to ask you to take her potty. When accidents happen, just clean them up with an odor removing cleaner and remind yourself to pay better attention next time.
Having a puppy means endless hours of fun, snuggles, and a lifelong friend. If only it ended there. Having a new puppy may also seem like an endless tunnel of potty accident after potty accident. Before you give up on your new furry friend, try some of these potty training hacks for an accident-free and happy future.