Are you ready to wrap up our easy and easy to follow 7-step housetraining guide? These last few steps are crucial, so pay attention.
Step Five: Look For Cues, Give One Back
Now that you know how to teach your puppy when and where to potty, you need to know what to do when it actually eliminates. Once your at the potty spot, you’ll see your little doggie sniff the ground intently, perhaps pace or circle, or maybe come to a sudden halt. All of these behaviors are cues that in just a few seconds, your puppy will either produce a puddle or make a deposit.
No matter what your puppy’s pre-potty signal is, you need to give it a cue in return as soon as it starts to eliminate. This cue, or potty prompt, should be something like “do your business” or “go potty now.” Use the same phrase each time your pup goes, and keep the following point in mind: Make sure you can say the phrase in public.
(Sure, it might be amusing to teach your puppy to pee when you say “take a leak” or “take a whiz,” but do you really want to say that out loud in front of strangers? You be the judge.)
It’s important to limit your use of the potty cue only to the times you want your puppy to do its business. Some people use a more general phrase, such as “hurry up,” but such a choice can backfire. If, for example, your dog hears you tell your child to “hurry up” and get out the door to school, your dog may present you with a most unwelcome gift.
Eventually, your puppy may associate the phrase with the deed, and potty exactly when you tell it to. Such skills come in handy on cold or rainy nights when you have to take your puppy out for a potty break, but you don’t want to have to wait too long for it to unload.
In any case, once your puppy finishes its business, praise the pup lavishly and give it a small treat. Then, bring it back inside. Potty time shouldn’t turn into play time.
Step Six: Be Vigilant
While your puppy is still learning the housetraining basics, your job is to make sure that it doesn’t have the opportunity to make mistakes (or at least as few as possible). For this reason, when your pup is not in its crate, you must watch it carefully. In fact, don’t take your eyes off it.
If your pup shows any signs that it needs to potty, scoop it up into your arms and get it outside. Then, when your puppy eliminates, praise it enthusiastically. If you’re too late, and your puppy graces your carpet with a puddle or deposit, put your puppy in its crate and clean up the mess without comment.
Use an enzymatic cleaner designed specifically for pet stains to eliminate the odors that might encourage your dog to potty at that spot again. Then, promise yourself and your puppy that you’ll keep a closer eye on it in the future to prevent such an accident from happening again.
Step Seven: Be Patient
And finally, have patience. Don’t expect your puppy to learn its bathroom manners overnight. Housetraining takes time, patience and understanding. Your puppy needs time not only to figure out what you want it to do, but also to develop the physical ability to control its urges to poop or pee until it gets to the potty place.