How to Potty Train Your Pet

When bringing a new pet into the family, potty training can be a tricky task!  According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), a few tried-and-true techniques work if you maintain consistency. Keep reading below for some of the best tips and tricks for potty training your four-legged friend.

Which plan is right for me?

Puppy pads and baby gates

Puppy pads are a great option for pet owners who have a job that doesn’t allow them to stay home. They are also great in cases of severe weather, when your dog may be hesitant or unable to go outside. In addition to pads, you can use baby gates to block carpeted rooms, which will help manage your dog’s environment and prevent a mess.

Crate Training

Many people are hesitant to crate train their pets. However, according to the AKC, dogs are den animals and seek out spaces where they feel safe and secure. Much like how humans like a tidy home, dogs like a clean crate. When they need to go outside, they’ll let you know. Make sure you get the proper size crate for your dog to prevent accidents.

Tips for Success

Frequent walks outside

Try to take your dog on several short walks throughout the day. If you are at home a lot, set a timer to take your pet out every 30 minutes. Over time, your pet will become accustomed to going outside to use the restroom and will equivalate walks with potty time.

Stay on a schedule

Puppies have small bladders and must have frequent potty breaks. You should expect to take a young puppy out first thing every morning and after napping, playtime, eating or drinking, and before bed. According to the AKC, puppies can hold their bladder by an hour up to their age. For example, a three-month-old puppy can hold its bladder for up to three hours.  Regardless of your pet’s age, avoid waiting more than six to eight hours to let them out.

Supervise

Each dog has a different signal for needing to go outside. Your dog may bark, sit at the door, or sniff around the house. Study their behavior to learn the signs.

Follow a routine diet

Puppies have very sensitive stomachs. Controlling their diet and feeding them the same food every day helps with digestion. It would be best if you also fed them two to three small meals a day. Overfeeding or switching up food may cause diarrhea or chronic illnesses, making potty training a more difficult task.

Praise and reward

Puppies learn good behaviors from repetition and reward. When your pup uses the potty pad correctly or goes potty in the grass outside, sing their praise! Clap, cheer or throw a treat to reward your furry friend. If your pet has an accident, do not scold or punish them. Punishment will not teach your pet anything and will only confuse them. Correct your pet’s behavior by moving them outside if they try to go potty in the house.

Be patient

Potty training takes time. Some pets may pick it up within a matter of days, and others may take months. Every pup is different and, if you practice patience and persistence, your dog will start to catch on. Remember, each pet and environment are different, so find a schedule that works for you.

For more information on potty training, types of breeds, and expert dog advice, visit akc.org.

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