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Potty Train Your New Puppy

Cute lab puppy in a house

Congratulations on your new arrival! If you just got a puppy, or if you adopted an older dog with bathroom problems, one of your first goals will be to housebreak them. The steps to toilet train your dog are relatively simple, but, like all behavior modification, it takes time, consistency, and patience.

1. Have a consistent schedule

Puppies have tiny bladders. Give them an opportunity to go outside at least every couple hours in order to set them up for success. Dogs thrive on routine. They'll quickly learn when eating time, playing time, sleeping time, and bathroom times are as long as you're consistent. Give them the opportunity to poop and pee in a predictable outdoor location immediately after waking up, eating, drinking, and before going to bed. Use a consistent word or phrase so they can begin to understand this means it's time to go to the bathroom.

2. Monitor your dog closely

In addition to giving your dog regular opportunities to go to the bathroom, you should also restrict your fur baby's ability to roam freely in the house unsupervised. Choose one or two rooms where you can watch your dog for signs like circling, sniffing, and walking with stiff back legs. These behaviors indicate they need to go to the bathroom, so take them outside ASAP!

Many dog owners use crate training. Improper crate training can worsen separation anxiety and other behavioral issues. Learn how to crate train humanely from the Humane Society of the United States.

3. Use positive reinforcement

Each time your dog goes to the bathroom in the approved outdoor location, immediately reward them with kind words or a small treat.

It's never effective to rub a dog's face in their waste or yell at them for a housebreaking mistake. They want to please you, but this will confuse them. They may think you object to them going to the bathroom at all and try to hide it from you in the future, making the problem worse!

4. Get expert support

As simple as the steps above sound, most modern families lead busy lives and can't focus their full attention on their canine companions. If you are struggling with housebreaking and other behavioral issues like excessive chewing, barking, or biting, reach out today for customized support. Our Tucson-based expert trainers have years of experience helping puppies adjust to their new homes, creating happier and more harmonious lives for both people and dogs.

Toddler with cute pug puppy


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