Many people want to know what the easiest and fastest way is to potty train a puppy. The simple answer to this is, there is no easy button, but doing it correctly will make it go faster. The “easiest” way to potty train a puppy is having a consistent schedule of eating, playing, sleeping, and going outside in conjunction with constant supervision and management.
Potty training should start immediately. There is no minimum age to start. As soon as you bring your puppy home, potty training begins! (note: puppies should no leave their mothers before 8 weeks of age). From the time your puppy comes home, your goal must be to avoid accidents in the house.
The fastest way to potty train a puppy is to make sure you do not have accidents. Every accident sets you back in your potty training process. If you prevent accidents and consistently take your puppy outside before accidents happen, your potty training will move forward much more quickly as your puppy develops proper habits and understands that outside is the correct place to go!
But how to you prevent accidents? You prevent your puppy from having accidents in the house by keeping a very close eye on your puppy. When your puppy is loose in the house your puppy should be tethered to you on a line or in your sight. Puppies can sneak away very easily, so unless you plan on watching your puppy like a hawk, keep her tethered to you or in a crate!
Crates and play pens are useful tools to help manage your puppy when you cannot actively supervise. Crate train your puppy early to teach them to love their crate! Puppies do not like to soil their sleeping areas, so use that to your advantage. That being said, be very careful to make sure your puppy has gone potty before putting them in their crate or play pen.
Preventing your puppy from having potty accidents in the house is also easier if you keep your puppy on a consistent schedule and always take them out immediately after these activities:
- After a nap
- After eating
- First thing in the morning
- After playing
- Before bed
When you first get your puppy, try to take her out every hour. When the puppy gets settled in and you have time to develop a schedule, a good rule of thumb is one hour per month of age. If your puppy is three months old, then every three hours. However, remember to take your puppy out after the above-listed activities no matter how long it has been.
Inevitably, your puppy will try to potty in the house at some point. The key to success here is to catch it when it happens!!! Catching it when it happens is the difference between the almost accident from being a critical learning moment or a training set-back. If you catch your puppy start to squat to pee or hunch to poop, immediately say “no!” and run to pick up your puppy and get her outside immediately! Do not hit or scare the puppy, just make enough “drama” for the puppy to understand that it wasn’t a good thing. Once the puppy is outside and goes potty, have a party!!!!
If, horror of horrors, you fail to watch your puppy and you found that an accident happened behind your back. Sorry. Roll up and newspaper and beat yourself in the head with it. Your fault! Never punish a puppy for missed accident. Certainly never shove their nose in it. This is an ineffective and unhygienic practice.
In addition to the schedule and supervision, a proper diet can make or break your potty training progress as well. Many people do not realize that many potty training woes stem from bad diet. The better quality food you feed your puppy, the less the volume of poop. Dogs fed a raw diet almost always produce very little poop, and the poop they do produce is almost always very solid. A 95lb dog eating 2.5lbs of raw meat a day may only produce two small poops a day. On the contrary, a dog half the size fed a poor quality kibble can easily produce 4 large poops a day. Consequently, if your puppy is eating a food she doesn’t process well, you could be dealing with many unnecessary poop accidents and diarrhea that can set your potty training back.
Another issue to keep an eye out for are urinary tract infections. UTI’s are fairly common in puppies and can seriously undermine your potty training. Some symptoms of a UTI would be increased frequency of urination and uncharacteristic soiling in the crate. If you see these symptoms or start seeing a backslide in your training and you have been doing everything right, take your puppy in to the vet to check for a UTI or other health related explanations.