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Dr. Mayra Alfonso

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Puppy potty training is done fairly easily. Teaching appropriate toilet behavior to an older dog is more difficult. However, with patience on your part, it can still be accomplished. Perhaps the most important key to success in toilet training a dog is timing. For example, when puppies consume food or liquid, normally they will urinate or defecate in about 25 or 30 minutes. The trick is for you to anticipate this time frame, and put the puppy in the proper place in time. Just as when you’re toilet training a child, you’ll have to plan to be present most of the time for a week or two, to make sure you get the puppy to the "toilet" in time for him to be successful.

Here is one way to make the "timing" question a lot easier for you and for your puppy. Take him outside to the designated spot, and let him stay there until he has urinated or defecated. Do this when he first wakes up in the morning, after he has his breakfast (remember, 15 to 20 minutes!), after he eats lunch, right after he takes a nap, after he has his dinner, after having a snack, before bedtime, or when he whimpers during the night. Don’t forget to praise and pet him every time he is successful in urinating or defecating. That’s a lot of trips outside, but it’s worth it in the long run.

It’s best to feed or give water to your puppy only when you can take him outside right away. Of course, you don’t want him to become dehydrated. However, during the weeks you are working on housebreaking your puppy, restricting food and water in this way will make the training go faster. There will be fewer accidents, and more successes -- the best way for him to learn.

When your puppy relieves himself in the correct area, praise and pet him, and then clean up the waste quietly. If he tries to play with you while you’re cleaning up his mess, just ignore him. Don’t shout at him or try to drive him away. Be as matter-of-fact and calm as possible; and once you’re done cleaning up, be sure to play with him. While you and your puppy are indoors, it’s best to keep him near you. You might put him in a safe place like his crate or cage, or somewhere else where you can see him.

Remember that while you are training your dog, you are also building a strong and lasting relationship with him. Try to "put yourself in his paws": realize what the world looks like from his point of view. He is surrounded by huge individuals who are sometimes affectionate and accommodating, and sometimes angry; and he’s not always sure why. Be as patient as you can with your puppy when he makes mistakes, and celebrate with him when he succeeds.

Toilet training a puppy won’t be much fun for you, considering the frequent trips outdoors in all kinds of weather. He may want to run around a bit within a secure space before settling to the task of elimination. While you’re awaiting the product of his efforts, you might do a few simple exercises yourself to pass the time. Consistency is the key when housebreaking your puppy.

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Increase the happy years of your dog by checking out my free e-book. In it I reveal all the secrets I've used to develop a happy, healthier dog. Visit Dr. Alfonso's dog training blog right now…
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Alfonso, Mayra Dr. "Toilet Training For Dogs." Toilet Training For Dogs. 02 May. 2008 Isnare.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <https://www.isnare.com/?aid=249204&ca=Pets>.
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