Toilet training should start as soon as your puppy joins your household. Here are our top ten tips to successful toilet training!
1. Be prepared
You will need covers for your floors and furniture (your
choice of plastic covers, newspaper, blankets or training pads), puppy-safe
detergent and rubber gloves. Allocate a designated area for toileting outside
and inside (for young puppies who cannot hold their bladder through the night).
Also decide on your training ‘cue words’, rewards and walking routes ahead of
time. Ask the breeder about progress with house training before you bring your
puppy home, so that you can use a similar schedule and the same commands.
patient and gentle
Puppies respond best to kind and calm handling. Never get
frustrated or lose your temper when things don’t go to plan. There will be
accidents, this is perfectly normal. Always wait patiently with your puppy during
toileting as he may well be inclined to follow you if you walk away.
3. Pre-empt their needs
A young puppy can’t tell you when he needs to go so take him
to his designated toileting area as soon as he wakes up in the morning, after
each of his meals, after he wakes up from a snooze during the day and before he
goes to bed in the evening. He probably won’t toilet at every single
opportunity, but at least you are giving him the option to do so. Eating stimulates the digestive system, so
puppies usually will urinate within fifteen minutes of a meal and defecate
within half an hour.
Use positive reinforcement
Always use rewards-based training. Be sure to use cue words
just before toileting with praise after the event. Each time you let the puppy out in the garden
for toileting and have used your cue word, stay with him but don’t interact,
just stand still / sit, avoiding contact with the pup and don’t speak to him.
Keep a watch on when he ‘performs’ and then give lots of praise or a treat*
combined with ‘good dog’. You can then give him a few minutes of play with his
favourite toy before taking him inside again.
*To avoid over feeding, keep a portion of dry puppy food to
use training treats. Alternatively, we
recommend these wholesome treats that are safe for puppies! Arden Grange
Crunchy Bites, naturally hypoallergenic dog treats are healthy option, try snapping
the biscuits for puppies to make a little go a long way! Our Tasty Liver Treat
is an irresistible reward and only a tiny amount is needed!
REMEMBER: Remember, praise and petting are also great
Employ good hygiene measures
It is important to clean up after any accidents indoors
quickly and thoroughly. Safe, enzyme
based cleaners are generally ideal as they remove rather than mask odours. Avoid
strong scented fabric fresheners as they can irritate puppies’ sensitive skin
Training is much easier for your puppy if everyone in the
household sticks to the same routine and rules. Puppies can easily become confused, and if one
family member is employing a different approach this can cause setbacks. Make sure you are not getting complacent and
forgetting to reward your puppy. He needs
lots of approval!
Expect some setbacks
It’s not unusual to have accidents, in fact it’s more
unusual not to! Factors such as a change in routine or a simple case of the pup
not being able to wait are the usual reasons for a setback. Other contributing factors could be environmental
distractions, reaching sexual maturity, as well as getting over-excited,
anxious or over-whelmed.
Pay attention to your puppy’s diet
early growth, the digestive system is at its most sensitive. It is important to
choose a very highly digestible food that will ensure balanced intestinal
flora, and a regular intestinal transit resulting in firm stools. Lower quality
puppy foods are not as calorie dense and involve higher feeding portions. This
can result in increased stool volume and / or increased frequency of passing
9. Have a routine but be
prepared to change it if it isn’t working
Sometimes toilet training fails to go to plan despite our
very best efforts. Firstly, ask yourself these questions; Are you allowing
enough time for training? Are you keeping to a routine? Are you using
consistent cue words? Are you rewarding good behaviour? Are you taking your
puppy out to the garden often enough? Try keeping a log with timing and circumstances
of each accident to help you identify the causes and take steps to address them.
Sometimes it can help to simply go back a few steps before you can start moving
Learning how to toilet on walks
Once your pup has been vaccinated and is old enough to learn
to toilet on his walk, get up early in the morning and take him out before he’s
had an opportunity to urinate or defecate in the garden. This may take some
time, as they may prefer to use their familiar toileting area or be
distracted by investigating their environment.
Allow plenty of time and repeat until he has learned what to do.
ensure clean drinking water is available, never restrict your puppy’s access to
Excerpts from fact sheet ’10 toilet training tips’ and
‘Puppy Nutrition’ by Ness Bird - Nutrition Adviser and RVN CertCFVHNut ©