Toilet training starts from the minute you bring your puppy home. In an ideal world we want to avoid having any accidents in the house from day one. Every time your puppy has an accident in the house they are 10 times more likely to do it again. IF you can keep accidents to a minimum then you are far more likely to get your puppy toilet trained quickly.
Keep a toilet diary:
Take a note of the time your puppy goes out. This will help with learning how often your puppy will need to go outside. I have attached a PDF that you can download and print out. If you don’t know when your puppy last went outside to toilet then you are at high risk for an accident. If you are giving your puppy lots of free time access around the house then you are at high risk for an accident.
Management and supervision are key:
Use management and supervision to help get your puppy toilet trained faster. Puppies tend to not toilet where they sleep or eat. So by crate training your puppy this will help with keeping accidents to a minimum when puppy can’t be supervised. That said if puppy is desperate and is being ignored when they are crying they need toilet in the crate.
When your puppy goes outside to toilet you want to aim to reward your puppy within the first 3 seconds of them finishing. This way puppy will be able to learn that the tasty reward was for weeing or pooing and not for running over to you. So ideally keep your puppy on lead until they have done their business as this way you will already be standing close or if you want to keep them off lead then make sure you are standing quietly and close while they are in the middle of toileting so you can rewards them within the crucial 3 seconds. Once they have finished those last few drips then you can say “yey, good puppy” and give them a tasty reward.
Play in the garden to increase confidence:
Spend time in your garden with your puppy so they can feel comfortable and confident with toileting in that area. Play in the garden when it is raining too as this will help to encourage your puppy to go to the toilet when it is cold and raining.
What if my puppy doesn't go outside?
If you take your puppy out to toilet but they don’t go. Don’t leave your puppy in the house with full access of the room which will allow him to go inside. He is not in trouble for not going to the toilet outside but you don’t want him to toilet inside. So instead put your puppy in their crate or pen area for 5 minutes and then take them back outside to try again. Then praise and reward for going outside.
What to do when puppy has an accident inside?
No one is perfect, we are only human and there will be the odd mistake. If an accident happens inside the house, there is NO punishment for the puppy. Even if you catch the puppy in the middle of the act. Do NOT punish the behaviour or pick puppy up and take them outside while they are midway through doing their business.
You need to take ownership that of the fact that you are not supervising or that you have giving the puppy far too much free freedom. If you punish the puppy for toileting in the house, they are not going to associate that with not toileting on the rug, instead they are going to build an association that toileting in front of the humans is a dangerous thing.
Set your self up for success:
Keep a pot tasty treats by the back door and your puppy lead. This way you will always be ready when your puppy needs to go out to toilet.
Make sure you are always using the same back door to take your puppy out, this way your puppy will learn where they need to go to let you know that they need to go out. Avoid picking your puppy up and instead encourage your puppy to follow you out the back door into the garden so your puppy will become familiar with the route.
When do puppies need to go to the toilet?
As soon as the wake up
As soon as they have had a meal or drink of water
And often midway through a play
What are the signs to look out for?
Sniffing the floor
Or suddenly loosing interested in something they are having fun doing, such as interacting with you or chewing on something on their own.
After a few nights you will start to learn how many times your puppy will need to go out to toilet. It’s important that you don’t ignore your puppy when they wake up at night. Take your puppy straight out, reward them and then straight back into the crate. As time goes on your puppy will start to feel more confident and happy about sleeping through the night.
What age will my puppy be toil trained?
Not until 7- 9 months of age.