Toilet Training your Puppy: Understanding the Basics
When it comes to toilet training your puppy, most pups are keen to be clean. In the beginning your pup’s mother will take care of their personal hygiene until they are old enough to be up on their legs, and as soon as they can walk they will find a toilet spot to use away from their bedding.
When you eventually bring your new puppy home, you must remember that they have very little control at such a young age. Puppies want to relieve themselves immediately after waking (either from a short nap or a long sleep) and after eating. Take your pup straight outside as soon as they wake up and stay with them until they relieve themselves. As soon as they do, make sure to pat and praise them before taking your puppy back inside. This is a very important aspect of toilet training your puppy and the few minutes you spend out there each time will reward you in the long term with a fastidiously clean pet.
Because your puppy will be indoors with you much of the time, you should also train them to use newspaper while they are growing up. Young puppies will go to the toilet very frequently – not just after bed and breakfast. You can often tell that your pup wants to relieve itself when they start to sniff the floor in search of the right spot. When this happens, pick your puppy up and take it outside if you think you have time, otherwise put them straight onto newspaper which you have strategically placed in any room your puppy has access to.
As your puppy grows, its bladder and bowel control will improve so you should be out of the newspaper phase by the time it is around 16 to 20 weeks of age. Remember, though, that there will be toilet training accidents along the way. Never scold a young puppy for an accident; simply clean up and try to be more observant next time.
Some people continue to keep a “newspaper place” in the house, usually in the bathroom, in the event of prolonged rainy weather or other reasons. The dog may rarely need to use it but is comforted to know it’s there “just in case”.
A tip for new owners is to ask the breeder what sort of surface the puppy has been accustomed to use for toilet training purposes. For some it will be grass, for others concrete or timber, sand or linoleum, gravel or newspaper and so forth. Keep this in mind when deciding the “no go zones” in your environment. They quickly learn to go where you wish them to, but you may need to put in a little extra effort training them away from that special piece of lawn or your timber deck etc.
When out exercising on the lead or in the park, always carry a disposable bag with you and pick up after your pup. Aside from the possibility of incurring a fine if you simply walk away from your dog’s mess, it’s most un-neighborly not to pick up and gives anti-dog folk the perfect opportunity to air their disgust.