3 Popular Methods for Potty Training a Puppy

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There are many ways for successfully potty training a puppy. Keep in mind that potty training takes time and effort, no matter which method you use.

Crate Training

Crate training is one of the most popular methods used to potty train a puppy. This method is very successful when utilized correctly. You will need to get a crate that has enough room for your puppy to lie down on his side, but you do not want it to be large enough for him to create a “bedroom in the front, bathroom in the back” situation. You will want to crate your puppy when you are not supervising him. He should not be left in the crate any longer than an hour per month of age (i.e. two month old puppies need to be taken out every two hours). Do not give your puppy free access to food and water inside the crate. Allow him to drink his fill when you let him out of the crate, and feed him on a regular schedule. Be sure that he is allowed to go potty after drinking, eating and napping. You may wish to set a timer to remind you that it is time to give your puppy water and take him out to potty.

Potty Pads

Sometimes using potty pads is the most practical method for potty training a puppy. To teach your puppy to use potty pads, limit the area that the puppy has access to when you are not supervising him. You may wish to gate off a laundry room or bathroom. Place his bed and toys in the area and place a potty pad a few feet away. When you notice him using the potty pad successfully, praise and reward him for doing so.

Using a Dog Door to Potty Train a Puppy

Training a puppy to use a dog door effectively will require limiting his play area until he gets used to using it. Set up a gate or exercise pen to confine him in a space near the door. Introduce the dog door by taping the flap up and giving your puppy treats for going through it. Once he comes out willingly, you may then lower the flap. Go outside and call your puppy, and then reward him when he exits through the dog door. Take him to the spot that you wish for him to relieve himself. Praise and reward him for success. This method to potty train a puppy is convenient, but takes some time. Do not assume that he knows where the door is and will be able to find it on his own when left unattended. Restrict his environment for at least two months during this training, and gradually allow him to have more freedom.

Practices to Avoid

Negative training methods such as rubbing your puppy’s nose in his potty accidents, shouting and “spanking” him will only frighten and confuse your puppy. These practices will cause setbacks when potty training a puppy, and make future training more difficult.


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