There are hundreds and thousands of pros to adding a puppy to your family. They will light up your life in ways you never thought they could. However, potty training your pup certainly isn’t one of those perks.
While you can’t really get angry at your pup for having a little accident here and there, it can definitely be a little (or a lot) annoying at the very beginning. And if potty training wasn’t hard enough as it is, when you’ve not got easy access to outside it can be all the more difficult.
That’s where potty pads come in. They’re a great way to teach your new little pup to go to the toilet in a specific space so you don’t have a whole home clean-up job on your hands.
However, it’s not quite as simple as popping the potty pad down and hoping for the best. You’ll need to set up a schedule and help your new family addition learn where and when it’s appropriate to go potty. Who said that furbabies don’t count as children?
Why Use A Potty Pad?
Well, they are certainly a better choice than any of the alternatives. Your other options are cardboard or newspaper which once your pup goes wee wee’s will go supper soggy and disintegrate.
And that does not make for a fun cleaning up process – trust me. Then there are always towels, but these will need washing a lot, will get pretty smelly, and of course, you’ll need a fair few for when the others are in the wash.
Or you could opt for nothing, but it’s unlikely your carpets will thank you for that, and you’ll be spending a long time cleaning.
The invention of potty pads really makes all puppy owners’ lives a lot easier. These pads are super absorbent, moisture-locking, and some are even odor-wicking.
They are really easy to clean too so you won’t be spending valuable dog-bonding time cleaning up the mess. They also come in several sizes so whether you’ve got a sausage dog or a great dane there will be an appropriate potty pad for you.
How To Set Up Potty Pads
First of all, you need to decide where you want your little pup to go. Once you’ve picked your spot, you’ll need to stick with it and be consistent.
Keeping with the same spot makes things a whole lot less confusing for your puppy, and they will build an association with this area and the muscle memory of going to the toilet. This builds the habit much quicker than if you keep moving the pad.
Keep in mind that your puppy is new to all this toilet training business, so when you first start you’ll want to use around 3 or 4 puppy pads so that they’ve got a wide area to use.
They are still getting used to going in this area so their target or aim may not be the best at first. As they improve you can start to reduce your pads and make the area smaller.
You can pop some of the pads in their playpen for emergency accidents, but keep in mind that this won’t actually potty train them, it’s just a precautionary measure that makes clean-up easier for you.
If you want your pup aware of how to hold it and where to go, you’ll need to spend the effort and time creating a potty training schedule.
Creating A Potty Training Schedule
A potty training schedule is really as simple as it sounds. You’re teaching your dog certain times of the day to go to the toilet. Pick times that this schedule can be met regularly because once again consistency is key.
It will build muscle memory so that your doggy knows when it’s time to go.
Help your puppy by adding in times that they would naturally eliminate, such as after a meal or nap.
How To Teach Your Puppy To Go On The Potty Pad
So now that you’ve decided on your training times, you can actually start to teach your adorable little pup how to go on the pad. Pop them on their harness or leash and guide them over to the pad.
Give your go to the toilet command, and give them around 5 minutes to do their business. Don’t rush them, especially in the early stages, after all, you’d struggle to relieve yourself on command too.
Always make sure that they have the leash or harness though so that you can keep them in the potty area without them making a run for it. This will help reinforce that this is where they go potty.
If after five minutes or so they still haven’t gone in this particular area, you can try again in 15 minutes or so.
You need to make sure that you always guide them to the pads at potty time so that they create the association with that area being where they go when they need to relieve themselves.
After a couple of weeks of this repetitive behavior, your pup should start to really have the hang of potty training.
One at a time, you’ll be able to decrease the number of pads that you have and you shouldn’t have to keep guiding them to the potty pads. They will know that that is where they need to be.
Positive Reinforcement For Pups
As with most aspects of training your little pup, you’ll want to reward them with a little treat when they go in the right place, and of course, let them know that they are the goodest of good boys or girls.
They deserve and need recognition for doing what you asked of them and positive reinforcement equals positive reactions from your doggy, meaning that they will be encouraged to do the right thing again.
Puppy Parent Mistakes
Now it’s not only your puppy that will get things wrong on occasion. You will make mistakes along the way too. There’s nothing wrong with making a mistake, and actually, they are great chances to learn how to do things better next time.
But if they can be avoided it’s always best too. So let’s take a look at some of the easy pitfalls for first-time pawrents.
Not Monitoring While They Go Potty
If you don’t stay with your pup while they go potty then there’s a chance they will wander off and do their business on the floor instead. Monitoring them ensures you know they are using the pad.
Letting Pups Play With Pads
You don’t want to let your pup associate play time with the pads. This is a tool and not a toy. You’re going to confuse your pup. And worst of all they may chew and ingest them which could be potentially very dangerous for your puppy.
Moving Puppy Pads
Your pup will make an association with the pad’s location more than anything else. If you move the pad they don’t have the capacity to understand that they can go in a new place as long as it is on the pad.
They will still go to do their business in the spot they have been trained in. Moving the pad is just going to confuse your pup and slow down the training.
It can be so hard to keep your cool when your puppy relieves themselves in the wrong place. Try to remember they are still learning and this is not an act of defiance or “naughty” behavior.
Yelling or punishing your puppy will make them nervous to relieve themselves in front of you and could make potty training even more difficult as your pup may start to sneak off and try to urinate privately away from your view.
Dogs also have a very poor association memory. If you find an accident in the house the best thing you can do is quickly and quietly clean it up without a fuss or drawing attention to it.
Never be tempted to rub your dog’s nose in the mess to teach them a lesson. They will not understand what you are trying to teach and may become fearful of toileting around you.
Troubleshooting Potty Accidents
A potty accident here and there at the beginning is no big deal, in fact, it’s almost inevitable. But if the problem persists there could be a few different reasons why things aren’t going to plan:
If you’re finding your pup is having accidents quite frequently, it could be that your schedule for toilet time is too far apart. Puppies, especially really young ones, can’t hold those wee wee’s in for very long, so it could just be that you need to increase your toilet trips.
You can try to teach puppies to hold it in for longer, but at the very beginning, you may just need to add a few more potty trips to your schedule.
If you have moved your pads and have noticed an increase in accidents, it more than likely means that your pup doesn’t realize they should be going there.
Pop the pad back where it was, or if it really needs to move to another location, you’ll have to start the potty process again in the new spot. This is why you must pick your potty pad location wisely when you begin training.
If you need to move the pad to a nearby location you should slowly move it a little at a time each day until it is in the desired location. If your puppy still toilets in the original spot you will need to start the potty process again for the new spot.
Crates Too Large
If you’re finding that your pup is having accidents in their crate quite often, their crate might be too large. When a pup has too much space in their crate they’ll use half as a bed and half as a toilet.
Whereas your pup will not go potty where they sleep so when you get a crate you want it big enough for them to sit and stand comfortably without much more room for anything else.
Don’t pop puppy pads in the crate if their having accidents as this will just encourage them to continue going potty in this area.
Don’t Let Them Roam At Potty Time
If your pup doesn’t want to go potty at their scheduled time don’t allow them to free roam the house. The movement will kickstart their bladder and bowels and you’ll end up with an accident in a place you don’t want it.
Instead, pop them back in their crate for another 15-20 minutes or so and then bring them back to the potty pad.
Think About The Order Of Your Schedule
When you are creating a schedule for your pup you want to seriously consider the order in which you do things. I would always recommend that potty time comes before free roaming time.
If you let your pup have a nice big meal and a long drink and then allow them play time or free roam time, you’re really asking for trouble. That food is going to settle while they are roaming and then you’re going to end up with a messy floor somewhere.
You will help both your pup and yourself if you can create an order that will prevent accidents as much as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does It Take To Train A Puppy To Pee On A Puppy Pad?
It will really depend on the puppy, and how well you are training the little pup. But usually, it will take around 4-6 months to fully potty train a puppy. Your puppy should pick up the basics in about 2 weeks however, it can take upwards of 8 weeks for some struggling pups.
How Many Uses Do Yo Get Out Of A Puppy Pad?
Again, it will vary depending on the pup…and the mess. But as a rule of thumb, I would always suggest cleaning your pads after every use. If you try to get two to three uses out of your pad it will start to smell.
You can buy pads of different sizes, but don’t be tempted to buy bigger pads and cut them up. They will fray at the cut side and this will tempt your puppy to play and chew the pad.
What Are The Hardest Breeds To Potty Train?
There are a few stubborn breeds that you’ll struggle with more when it comes to potty training and these include:
- Bichon Frise
- Jack Russell
- English Bulldog
- Minature versions of any breed due to their small bladder size.
Are Boys Or Girls Harder To Potty Train?
Neither. They are pretty much the same when it comes to potty training. While certain breeds can be harder to train than others, gender doesn’t seem to really play a role.
Although large breed male dogs will struggle to use a pad for long as they generally cock their leg and spray urine rather than depositing in one place like a female.
Puppies are cute cheeky little animals that really love to play and benefit your lives in so many ways. So I think it’s only fair that in return we practice patience while they potty train.
They will give it their best go, and as long as you keep to a schedule and train them well, they should do as you ask in no time at all. Remember it really is all just repetition and reinforcement that will have your pups going potty in the right place at the right time.
Sure, they may have the occasional accident here and there, but if it persists you should now have the knowledge to deal with these issues.
Just keep going, keep trying, and of course, keep telling your puppy that they are good boys or girls!
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