Potty training a dog is one of the basic lessons taught to most family canines, and it's a process that needs to begin as soon as the family brings home their new furry pet. There are a few stages in basic potty training for a dog that are easy to implement as long as the family ensures consistency during those lessons. Routine and a consistent approach are everything when it comes to potty training.
Create a Familiar Routine
Dogs always learn best when there is consistency and routine in their daily lives, and this is particularly important when it comes to potty training. A puppy needs a schedule for everything in life including sleep time, dinner time, and potty time. The routine a family establishes for a puppy will take several weeks to establish, but it's should always be the same each day. When a dog eats at the same time each day, he also will need to use the bathroom at the same time every day.
Small Puppies, Small Bladders
It's essential to remember that puppies have small bladders and will naturally require a bathroom visit every few hours when they are very young. A puppy that's only a few months old will need to go to the bathroom every few hours. By the time a dog reaches a year old, he will be able to go many more hours without a break. Don't punish a puppy for going to the bathroom every 2 hours because this behavior should be expected.
Use Verbal Cues
Each time a puppy goes to the bathroom outside, use a familiar phrase to allow the dog to associate specific behavior with a particular phrase. The dog will soon learn what "go potty" means after hearing it each time he goes to the bathroom. Verbal praise is also a great addition to a bathroom break.
Always be Observant
A puppy won't automatically know how to let his owners know that he has to go to the bathroom, so the family must look for behavior from the puppy that means he has to go to the bathroom. Activities like walking in circles or scratching at the door are often indications that a dog must go to the bathroom. When an owner responds to a dog's need to go to the bathroom, the dog will eventually learn to show that behavior whenever he needs to take a trip outside.
Expect a few Accidents
Puppies are like babies, and they're not always going to behave exactly as their owners would like. Just about every puppy is going to have an accident in the house during the potty training process. It's essential that a puppy is not threatened or punished after an accident has already occurred since the dog won't understand the purpose of the punishment. If the puppy is caught in the act of going to the bathroom, a firm admonishment and a trip outside is best. When the puppy successfully uses the bathroom outside after an accident, praising the dog will help reinforce good behavior.