Having a new puppy in the household is a lot of work (especially for first-time dog owners!), and potty training needs to start on day one. Setting clear boundaries and being consistent will help you speed up this process. We were able to potty train our corgi puppy Scotty in about a month, so we put together some tips that we found the most effective.
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TAKE YOUR PUPPY OUT OFTEN – IDEALLY TO THE SAME AREA.
Scotty was 12 weeks old when we brought him home, and we took him out every 2 hours religiously during the day. Not because he couldn’t hold it for that long, but because we wanted to get him used to always going outside to potty. I know this is inconvenient (especially if you live in an apartment), but ultimately, your puppy will be potty trained so much faster when he’s not given an opportunity to have an accident inside.
IF YOU MUST TAKE THEM OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, MAKE IT BORING.
We were very fortunate that Scotty was already able to sleep through the night at such a young age. BUT if your puppy can’t wait until the morning and is crying to be let out to potty, try the following: take him to his normal potty area, and stay there for a couple of minutes until he does his business. Don’t interact/play with the puppy, don’t take him on a walk, and simply put him back in the crate as soon as he’s done. Why? Because you don’t want the puppy to think that it’s fun to wake you up in the middle of the night unless it’s truly a potty emergency!
LIMIT THEIR SPACE.
This is crucial. During the potty training phase, Scotty was always in a crate or ex-pen if we could not directly supervise him. Again, the idea is that you want to minimize the chances of your puppy having an accident indoors as much as possible. Another option would be to use a hands-free leash belt so that you will always be able to keep an eye on them when you're moving around the house.
USE A POTTY BELL.
Place a potty bell on your door and make a big gesture of ringing it right before you take your puppy out. Start this as soon as your puppy comes home, so that they start associating the sound of the bell with going outside to potty. We did this with both Scotty and Geordi, and both of them naturally started ringing the bell on their own whenever they needed to go – without being specifically trained to do so! I made a DIY version by sewing bells onto a lanyard, but you can order a much nicer one here if you're not into sewing!
CATCH THEM IN THE ACT.
When they need to go, they’ll start acting suspicious – lots of sniffing around and circling. When you spot this, immediately pick up the puppy and take him out. Even if they already started to pee, don’t let them finish peeing inside. Clean the area thoroughly with Nature’s Miracle to eliminate the stain and odors.
I know a lot of people use pee pads indoors, but if you can, I would avoid using them altogether. It will only make your potty training process harder in the long run, since you are technically allowing your puppy to pee or poop inside your home. And just one last thing – don't get mad if they do have accidents! Remember that they're just babies. Puppies will always test their boundaries and they'll definitely test your patience. As long as you're being consistent about the potty training process, your puppy will be housebroken in no time.