Updated: Mar 19, 2020
Your fur baby is home and the first thing you want to do is toilet train, but how?
You can't just tell them to go to the loo and show them where the garden is and say
"Heres a poo bag darling, tell me when you're done"
So what should we do first?
We suggest that you keep pup as close to you as possible in the first days. With luck you have scheduled a few weeks to settle your pup, and at worst a few days.
Keep your pup with you as much as possible, you can use a long line thats connected to your waist and we suggest a crate.
Remember that your house is enormous to your pup, why not give them only a room or two in the beginning. If you have a kitchen or living room with wooden, tiled or easy clean floor why not make this the room you start with and to give them a safe place. After all, if a wee or poo is easy to clean up you are going to be far less annoyed than if it were your lovely carpet or rug!
So what do we mean by safe place? Well we suggest that you give your pup a place that is theirs, if you've already read my blog on "Crate Training" then you'll know that by giving your pup a place thats theirs they will feel secure. A crate gives pup that place and you the security that they will not toilet without your seeing and correcting or where you would be upset for it to happen.
A safe place can also be a dog bed or blanket. Dogs are unlikely to choose to go to the toilet where they sleep and eat.
Ok so you've decided what and where their place is going to be. You're staying with your pup for at least a week now what?
Your fur baby hasn't really got any idea of where a bathroom is so how do we start the process of teaching them that the garden is their bathroom?
Consistency and timing. We need to help our pup not to fail by taking them out every 20 minutes to start with. What we suggest is that again you give them their space, choose a spot in the garden and tell them to go toilet. Puppies get paw recognition so if you give them a place they will always choose to go there.
Choose your cue word, "wee wee's", "go toilet", "hurry ups". I personally say wee wee's and poo but you should say whatever you feel comfortable saying when you're in the park, in public.
If after 5mins pup hasn't done anything you can go back in but keep watching for the signs.
As we get to know our pup you will see their behaviour or signs. Perhaps they circle, maybe they go to one spot in the room or the back door, when you see them perform this action take them straight out.
Ok you're doing it all right but pup just pee'd, did you see it?
If you saw pup pee then you can make a displeasing noise, this maybe enough to break their "flow", now you have to take pup out in the garden to their spot and wait. Unfortunately you now need to wait until pup does something else, as soon as they do praise to the hilt! You can use treats each time your fur baby goes to the toilet in the garden but plenty of praise should be enough, my dog is 8 and I still praise her for going to the toilet and she can poop on command in the morning!
You didn't see your pup pee? Ok, sorry, you must ignore it and clean it up straight away. Your pup will not know what they are being punished for if you punish after the event, they live in the moment and the moment has gone.
So what do you do? We suggest you still take pooch outside and ask them to do wee wee's, if they do you give them so much praise that they are so excited to show you next time.
Tip choose a cleaning product that doesn't contain ammonia, the smell of ammonia is similar to pee and will often encourage your pup to pee in that same spot, use a product like "Wee Away".
My pup is pooping should I make a noise to stop them?
This is a hard one because you don't want to scare your pup into not wanting to poop which will, obviously, make them poorly. You also don't want to punish them when pooping so they think that the reason you are angry is because you can see them pooping so they choose to poop in another room or under a table.
Wait till they have finished tell them No or Wrong and take them back in to the garden. You could place one of their poops in the area you have designated to them so that their is a smell of them there. Again, once pup has pooped, you need to really celebrate but wait till they have finished. Doing it this way your fur baby will be so proud they will want to show you how clever they are....doing something so natural.
So to recap. Choose a place in the garden thats just for them. Keep pup close so you can catch the moment they show you the "Sign". If you can't be with your pup every second of the first weeks at home use a crate. Put pup in the crate when you are apart and as soon as you return put pup in the garden and wait. Take pup outside every 20mins, you can lengthen the wait as they get better at doing it until you only need to take them out once every hour.
Repetition and Consistency is key. Remember to reward/praise good behaviour and you will find your pup will learn faster.
To Puppy Pad or not to Puppy Pad that is the question?!
Why they are good;
1. They keep your floors clean (as long as pup uses them).
2. They will encourage your pup to use them rather than your carpet.
3. Incase you can't take them outside, there are health benefits for pup before vaccination is complete.
Why they are not good;
1. They encourage pup to go to the toilet in the house and it will be harder to convince and teach them to go outside (especially in bad weather).
2. Puppies get used to having textures beneath their paws when they pee or poop, this is called substrate preference. So this encourages them to prefer to have padded paper or your carpet underneath their paws when they go toilet.
3. Some puppies think they're great fun to chew up and destroy.
If you live in a flat/apartment then it maybe more difficult to get your pup outside quickly enough. Puppies do not have great control over their bladders, when they wanna go they wanna go, and they need to go more often than grown up dogs. In this case it is advisable to have puppy pads.
Using pads or newspaper does add an extra step in your training process, first you train to use the paper, then you have to train to go outside and off the pads, is this step neccessary?
Ultimately it's your choice.
In some cases toilet training happens really fast in others it takes a little longer to get it perfect. Please be patient, don't punish accidents, reward success, be consistent so that with time and patience you will have toilet training bossed!