Toilet Training Your Puppy
Like children, your puppy has have very limited control over its bladder and does not know that toileting in the house is not an appropriate behaviour. It is your responsibility to teach your new puppy where to toilet and help your puppy achieve this using as much praise and positive association as possible.
In the early days your puppy is most likely to toilet first thing in the morning, 20-30 mins after eating, after waking from a nap, after playing or exercising. In addition to the above, opportunities to toilet should be given every 45 mins if possible. Giving your puppy ample opportunity to toilet is the key to success!!
Make sure you have treats handy at all times when toileting. Cheese is normally a treat all dogs like. Put some treats in a small bowl/tub near the door so you can grab a handful as you go out the door. Take your puppy to the toileting area of your backyard. If you want to designate a certain area just for toileting you can always set up a playpen and pop them in there. When you are outside playing and not toileting you can leave the gate open if your playpen has one. When toileting keep it closed as this helps minimise distractions (i.e. your puppy wandering around and playing with leaves, sticks etc.) when they should be focusing on eliminating.
As your puppy starts toileting add a cue such as “wee wee” then praise “good dog” and when finished reward immediately. For a wee, 1-2 treats for poo’s we like to make a little more fuss and give 3-4 treats. Dogs will normally wee first so give them extra time for defecating. However, if they start to wander off to explore and chew on sticks etc. quickly put them back to where you want them to eliminate. If your dog hasn’t toileted given the opportunity (say 5 mins) take them back inside.
A few indoor toileting accidents are usual in the early weeks. If you catch your puppy in the act, quickly pick them up and take them outside and proceed with the above toileting routine. Under NO circumstances must you ever punish your puppy during toilet training. If you do, most puppies do not actually realise it is about toileting inside, they think it is about toileting in front of you and then they start to look for private areas such as bedrooms or closets etc. where they can’t be seen.
Punishment is not effective in toilet training and has a detrimental effect on the relationship with your puppy. If your puppy is toileting inside then you need to provide more frequent toileting opportunities.