One of the biggest areas of difficulty for people who adopt puppies is potty training. In fact, if the humans don’t complete the process properly, it falls into the category of training issues that is one of the most common reasons why dogs are surrendered to shelters.
So it’s important to your relationship with your dog to house train her correctly from the beginning. In theory, it shouldn’t be so difficult. In the wild, puppies naturally learn how not to do their business where they sleep or eat.
Keep it clean
They learn this because their mother keeps the den cleaned up, immediately getting rid of any messes her puppies make. Without that scent around, the puppies don’t associate the area with relieving themselves.
How do we recreate this idea for our puppies, then? Obviously, it’s important to thoroughly clean and deodorize any places where the puppy has had an accident immediately, but we also need them to learn to associate outside with bathroom breaks and learn that inside is not the place to do their business.
Keep a schedule
The best way for humans to recreate what the mother dog does is to create a schedule for our puppies, with regular, set times for training, feeding, bathroom breaks, and sleep. Keep in mind, too, that the most common times for a puppy to have to go are right after sleeping, eating, and playing.
If you can’t walk the puppy outside right away — perhaps she hasn’t had all of her vaccinations yet — then you need to create an acceptable space for her to go by using puppy pads. You also need to crate train her so that she doesn’t have the run of the house.
Not on the carpet
Remember, if your puppy is running loose, the first bit of carpet she finds that’s far from where she sleeps and eats is going to become a target. Why do puppies tend to piddle on the carpet instead of easily cleaned tile? Because carpet is soft under their paws and makes them think they’re standing on grass.
As for the puppy pads, they are only a temporary solution until you can take your dog outside. During the time you’re using them for training, slowly move the pad closer and closer to the door your dog will exit through when it’s time to go out. This will build an association in his mind between that door and going to the bathroom. Eventually, going out that door itself will trigger the behavior in your dog’s mind: “Okay, go.”