Potty training a puppy is THE NUMBER ONE problem people have with their puppies and dogs.
It is also the number one reason dogs are relinquished to shelters.
Remember, He is a Baby
We don’t bring our infants home from the hospital and expect them to be in control of their bladder and bowels.
And, as many mothers know, every kid will also have accidents.
It is a part of the process.
So, don’t expect your puppy to NEVER make a mistake. Mistakes can, and will, happen. You just have to remember not to overreact when he has an accident. Instead, TEACH him where you want him to go potty. Remember to be patient, take him to the same place outside, stay with him, and then praise him (quietly) for a job well done!
Monitor Your Puppy’s Environment
When I am house training a puppy or an adult dog, that dog is either ALWAYS with me, or he is in his crate.
Crate training is an important part of your puppy potty training routine.
I make it a point to monitor each moment when he is out of his crate.
This helps me to ensure that he doesn’t have accidents, or at least that I lessen them (because after all, most puppies will have a couple accidents while they learn to hold their bladder.)
If you are struggling to keep an eye on your puppy, you can always put him on a leash while inside your house and keep him with you. This will ensure that you notice when he needs to go potty, which is your best chance to teach him to hold it and go outside.
Get Him Outside Often
Puppies cannot hold their bladders for extended periods of time.
I recommend that they are taken out about every 2 hours at the beginning of your house training.
And, be sure to take them out after naps, eating or drinking, or lots of play!
You can see more information on setting up your housetraining structure here.
Limit His Water a Few Hours Before Bed
I drink a lot of water.
I used to drink a lot of Mountain Dew, but thankfully I stopped that a couple of years ago.
But, when I drink a lot of water… well, I have to visit “my office” a lot more often.
Your puppy is the same.
If he drinks a bunch of water before going to bed, then he is going to have to pee in the middle of the night.
Now, I don’t recommend limiting water during the day, because this can make the puppy consume large quantities of water whenever he has access.
But, you can take it up an hour or two before bed.
Let Him Out Late
Be sure that you let him out last thing before bed.
I like to go outside with my puppy to make sure he gets to business.
I don’t give him treats when he goes potty, because I don’t want him to either stop going or want to squat in front of me for treats all the time (especially not inside my home).
I like to quietly and calmly praise him for going potty when we are outside.
Keep His Crate by Your Bed
Most puppies (depending on age) can’t hold it all night.
Chances are, he is going to get up and stir in the middle of the night before he has an accident in his crate.
I even want to get him out before he whines or barks, as I don’t like those behaviors.
As soon as I hear him standing and rustling, I get him out of his crate and take him directly outside.
Let Him Out First Thing in the Morning
When you first get up in the morning, you must take your puppy outside. This way, he learns to do his business there and not in your home.
Set the alarm if you have to, and get your puppy outside five or six hours after the last time they went out overnight.
If your puppy does not have an accident in the crate, then you can start extending the amount of time between the overnight potty and the time you take him out first thing in the morning.
Once your puppy is three or four months old, they should be able to go through the night, about seven or eight hours, without a bathroom trip.
First thing in the morning, and in the middle of the night, I carry my puppies outside.
I don’t want to risk that he is going to squat and pee as we are making our escape to the outdoors.
Potty training gets easier as puppies get older.
You will eventually sleep through the night again!
Just follow these steps, and you will rock your puppy’s potty training.