Potty Training Your Pup


The following was written by Dog Trainer Neil Copeland of Seven Lakes Kennels.

Everyone starts out with a new puppy asking themselves many different questions.

One of those important questions will most likely be how long will it take my puppy to potty-train? Maybe another question you ask yourself, should I use a crate or not?

We all start out with some knowledge of house breaking but each puppy is different.

Potty training starts the day we bring home our puppy. From choosing a place in the yard or establishing the door to go to when the puppy will need to go out. Thinking through this process will determine the length of time your pup will get consistent with the process.

For smaller puppies, bladders are exceedingly small and will need to be taken out often. Generally needing to be taken out directly after drinking water or roughly every thirty minutes.

For larger pups, their bladders are generally larger. However, do not let that trick you into thinking they can wait longer early on. They cannot. As the larger pups get bigger their timing between needing to go out or being in the crate lengthens. 

Using a crate through the potty-training process, in my opinion, is a necessity. I often hear clients saying their puppy cries too much and they just feel terrible for keeping them in the crate.

Crates serve so many purposes, and I know if you read this article monthly you have probably picked up on that. Clients will say, “Well, I just started putting the puppy in the laundry room or bathroom while I’m gone.”

Placing the puppy in such a large area will set you so far back in the potty-training  process that it is difficult to recover. Keeping your puppy out with you only while you can watch him/her is the best process for success.

To add to the fun, let me explain my verbal conditioning process. For me I use, “Go Potty.” as a verbal communicator or cue for my puppy. You may use whatever you would like.

I have found that while the puppy is in the actual process of going do you start pairing the behavior with the word. For example, puppy is sniffing around, getting more animated, and starts the behavior. I will say “ Go Potty, Go Potty, Go potty.” throughout the whole event. Afterwards a lot of praise or a little treat.

If you are having trouble getting the puppy back inside, give your treat right at the door, and then start giving the treat inside the door. This will start the pup anticipating coming inside after going potty.  

I hope this column gives you some ideas to start thinking about before getting a puppy or maybe you have a new little one. Every puppy is different but sticking to the basics will help you understand your new family member. Good luck, and there is light at the end of the tunnel.