Toilet Training Puppies
The secret to successful toilet training is three fold: Supervision, Persistence and Patience. The reality however is never quite so easy.
It is not possible to supervise a puppy all the time. Therefore, compromise by allowing the puppy access to only a small area when he or she cannot be supervised.
You could use an old playpen, or the laundry or block a tiled area with a child gate. This at least restricts the area of damage so to speak and by keeping puppies of carpets the clean up is a lot easier.
Puppies, especially those less than 16 weeks old, cannot hold on for long. Their bladders are simply too small. So after waking up, immediately after play (especially if your puppy loses interest in play himself), 15-30minutes after eating and at least every 12 hours take your puppy outside to the toilet.
If you take him on a leash to the area you have chosen you can also teach him where to go (If a puppy is left to his own devices to choose you can guarantee you wont like it!). But here is where the patience comes in. Basically stand like a tree and don’t interact with the puppy. Let him sniff and pick a spot. Keep to one area by taking small steps. Once he starts to go give your cue word for toileting such as “Go Potty”, be careful not to disturb the puppy and as soon as he is done (ie he is in the process of standing up) give him a treat. Then have a play as another reward.
Sometimes you can be standing out there for 15 minutes and the puppy is having great fun chasing leaves or chewing sticks. Bring him back in and closely supervise then try again 30 minutes later. Persist, once your puppy gets that good things come his way when he goes in the right place the whole thing will speed up and when he knows his toileting cue it will be a breeze.
Toileting times can be made more consistent by sticking to a regular feeding schedule. So if your puppy has not eating his food in 30 minutes pick it up and offer food again at the next meal time.
You can also use soiled paper towels in the desired area to provide a scent marker for toileting.
Should you find your puppy mid stream, so to speak, clap your hands or startle the puppy without frightening him to stop him going then take him out to finish the job and reward him. Now clean up the mess inside.
If you find a mess inside, there is no point in giving your pup a lecture or dragging him back to the spot. All he will know is that puddles on the floor will make you angry and he will be appropriately submissive. We often interpret this as guilt for having done the wrong thing. So give yourself the lecture for not supervising or confining the puppy sufficiently and do better next time.
Once your puppy has gone several days without any accidents then you can gradually allow more access to the house and when he starts asking to go out then your are home and hosed. The signals he will give can however vary greatly, so watch and learn your puppies so you can respond when he needs to go.
Cleaning Up Puddles 101
Whether you are toilet training a puppy or kitten or your older dog or cat suffers from medical or anxiety related inappropriate urination, every pet owner will need to clean up puddles at some time in their pets life. Here is how to do it as effectively as possible so that the risk of repeated accidents is reduced. (In pets with medical and anxiety issues it is also necessary to deal with these issues of course.)
- STEP 1: Get rid of the urine. On hard floors this is easy using paper towel, newspaper or old towels and rags or even an old mop. Its not so easy with carpet however. As soon as the accident is spotted, use paper towel or an old towel to soak up as much liquid as possible. This can be aided by standing on the towelling. Use a plastic bag in the top layer to prevent it getting on your shoes or anything heavy that will add the needed pressure to soak up more fluid. Once no more urine can be absorbed proceed to step 2.
- STEP 2: On tiles, vinyl etc use a biological detergent such as Bio Zet Attack (found in the laundry detergent section of your supermarket) to mop the area thoroughly paying special attention to any grout lines. Rinse with water. On carpet you may use a well-wrung sponge with the detergent to wipe over the surface of the carpet (after first testing it in attest area to ensure it does not discolour your carpet), then blot dry with more paper towel. Do not rinse with water.
- STEP 3: Apply a spray on biological deodoriser such as Urine Off. This will further break down any urine smell and contains pheromone blockers to prevent attracting the pet back to the area. Again in carpet test on a small area of carpet first to ensure it does not stain carpet.
- STEP 4: If desired use an odourless spray on disinfectant on the area. Do Not use bleach or any strongly scented disinfectants or cleaners (especially cleaners containing ammonia) as these simply identify the area more strongly as a toilet area to your pets.