Tips for Potty Training Your New Puppy [Ultimate Guide]

Bringing a new puppy home is an exciting time for you and your family, but it can quickly become stressful if you don’t have a plan in place for potty training your pup. 

Everyone in the family should be informed as to what the “puppy rules” are, so planning these ahead of time is a great idea. 

In this article, we explore some great tips for potty training your new puppy, so that you can feel more confident when bringing your new puppy home.

  • The 3 golden rules for potty training a puppy
  • What is a positive reinforcement in puppy training?
  • Should I crate train my puppy?
  • How to crate train a puppy for successful potty training

The 3 Golden Rules For Potty Training A Puppy

When you set out to potty train your new puppy, it can feel daunting, like there is a long road ahead of you, and you can’t see to the end of it. It may seem like there is so much to consider. 

You worry that you will make mistakes and that as a result, you will end up with an adult dog that won’t follow your house rules and repeatedly ruins your house and your sanity.

Potty training a puppy can turn into a stressful nightmare for both you and your dog when not approached with the right attitude from the start. 

It can end up an experience that goes against everything that the potty training process needs to be; a loving experience and a process that builds upon the bond growing between you and your dog to install good habits from the start.

With a positive approach and a clear plan, you can potty train your pup. It might even be a breeze (although perhaps not literally, considering the stinky nature of the task at hand!) 

All you have to do is always keep in mind the following three golden rules for potty training a puppy.

training your dog

3 Golden Rules of Potty Training a Puppy:

  1. Consistency
  2. Patience
  3. Positive Reinforcement

Without consistency, all you will succeed in doing is confusing your poor pup. He won’t understand what exactly it is that you want from him unless you stick to your guns and avoid giving mixed messages.

Patience, although it is easier said than done, it’s also essential. Dogs are highly intuitive, and your pup will feel and experience your stress and tension through your body language and the tone of your voice. 

So it is essential to keep the mood light and airy. When you feel like your dog is “doing it on purpose,” just remind yourself that he’s just a puppy, and like a child, he needs strong direction and support to achieve everything you want him to accomplish in life.

And finally, positive reinforcement is the ultimate key to letting your puppy know that he’s doing what you want. Keep reading to find out why positive reinforcement is so hyped up when it comes to dog training.

What Is Positive Reinforcement In Puppy Training?

The most popular method of dog training today is called Positive Reinforcement Training. 

It is popular because it is so effective in encouraging dogs to follow the desired behaviors and also in reinforcing the bond between people and their pets.

how to stop a dog from digging

The three main elements of positive reinforcement training in animals:

1. Set your dog up for success

In the case of potty training a puppy, you can set him up for success by placing him on the puppy pad or in the garden when he needs to eliminate so that he eliminates in the correct place, and you can then follow up immediately with the reward.

2. Reward your dog for succeeding

This includes plenty of praise, affection, and tasty treat rewards. When you celebrate your puppy’s success at doing what you want, they are more likely to repeat the behavior.

In this case, that will be targeting the area where he was rewarded when he needs to go to the toilet again, in the hopes that he will be rewarded again.

3. Ignore Mistakes

Negative reinforcement in the form of punishment doesn’t necessarily work in the way that you think it might. This is because negative attention is still attention.

So you could end up with a puppy soiling in the wrong place in order to simply get your attention, whatever that attention might look like. Negative reinforcement also damages the bond and trust that you are working hard to achieve with your dog.

So you should avoid telling your puppy off, using punishments, and overusing the word “no.”

Positive reinforcement makes training sessions super fun and exciting, which helps to keep a dog’s attention. This is especially useful with young puppies that have short attention spans.

jimmy in his crate

Should I Crate Train, My Puppy?

It can be handy to use a dog crate as a training tool while potty training your puppy.

Some people might think it is cruel to lock a puppy up in what mostly looks like a cage, but there are many ways in which your puppy will benefit from crate training.

Here is a list of the positive aspects of crate training a puppy:

  • Using a crate during the potty training phase helps to set your puppy up for success. Crate training gives you more control over your puppy’s potty training because it confines them to one area, decreasing the possibility that he will have accidents in lots of different places in your home. 
  • Your puppy’s crate becomes a safe space for them to rest and feel comfortable and relaxed. Instead of thinking of it as a cage, think of the crate as your dog’s den. It is his territory.

    The world outside his den is exciting and full of adventure, but it can also be intimidating and overwhelming. The crate provides your puppy with a place of his own to retreat to when he wants to be alone or have a nap.
  • Being able to confine your dog without them freaking out will be useful when he is older. Your dog is bound to come across situations when he has to be put in a pet carrier.

    For example, trips to the vet, or overnight stays in an animal hospital, traveling in a professional dog walker’s van, waiting to be collected from the groomers.

    If your pet understands that crates or confined spaces signify safety and a place to settle down and perhaps have a nap, then they will be much more comfortable with these kinds of life situations.
  • Containing messy treats or food. If you want to feed your dog a natural raw diet or the occasional raw meaty bones, then feeding in a crate can protect your home and be much easier to clean up and keep sanitized.
jimmy in crate

How To Crate Train A Puppy For Successful Potty Training

The main benefits of crate training a puppy for potty training are the sense of structure, and routine your puppy will receive, and the control that you will get over your dog’s activities, including his toilet activities. 

Without a real sense of structure and routine in your puppy’s life, it will feel like you are continually looking out for signs that he wants to go to the toilet. 

Puppies and potty training becomes very predictable when they are given a proper routine.

Puppies generally want to go to the toilet at these times:

  • Upon waking from sleep – This will be several times a day because puppies sleep a lot. In fact, in between naps, your young puppy should only be awake and active for up to about 2 hours at a time. This will increase as he gets older.
  • After feeding and drinking – Their bowels and bladder will fill up after consuming food and water, and this stimulates the urge to eliminate.
  • After any activity – This will include your short training sessions, playtime, and walks or other outings or trips in the car.
  • Before going back in the crate – Allowing your puppy the opportunity to go to the toilet before going back into the crate will ensure that you know any whining, barking or scratching isn’t because your puppy wants to go to the bathroom, it is just attention-seeking behavior.

So you will feel better about ignoring them, which you should do so that they learn to resort to doing what they are supposed to be doing, which is settling down to rest.

The basic idea with crate training is that they learn to spend time by themselves in a small area, in which they are unlikely to soil. 

This gives you greater control, especially if you pay attention to keeping your pup’s routine, and you will have lots of opportunities to celebrate your pup’s toilet successes with positive reinforcement.

Summary

While crate training isn’t everyone’s choice, it can be a handy tool, especially in the beginning, when your puppy is learning the rules. 

This is because it gives you plenty of control to set your puppy up for success. It aids in the predictability of your puppy’s toilet habits and gives you more freedom so that you are not always watching the puppy for suspicious circling activity. 

Positive reinforcement, on the other hand, should be everyone’s choice when it comes to any kind of dog training.

how to potty train a puppy
(Last Updated On: June 12, 2020)
Liz
 

I'm a self-employed blogger, life-long pet parent, and lover of dogs and somehow manage to have time to pursue another of my passions - writing. I’m the primary contributor and editor of PUPPY FAQS. I love to write about nutrition, health, and care of puppies. In my spare time, I volunteer at my local dog shelter. If you have a question that needs answering, please leave a comment below, and I will do my best to explain it.

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