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New Puppy, Lots of Accidents

Spring is here and along with the budding of trees and shrubs and our winter landscape becoming alive and green once again, new puppies are in abundance.

If you have a new fur baby in your household, you may be wondering what is the best way to potty train your new family addition.

Just like human babies, puppies don’t come with preset knowledge and, as their parent or guardian, it’s your job to teach them.

One of the best things you can do is to start with “crate training”. You should have a crate that is appropriate for the size and breed of your pup and make sure that it has a “separation barrier” and be sure to use it.  If your puppy has too much space in his crate, he will do his business in an area of the crate away from where he sleeps.  Keeping his space confined will deter him from relieving himself anytime he wants and will teach him bladder control.

If you have a young puppy, it will be necessary to take him outside to relieve himself at least every two hours. Generally a puppy should be able to control his bladder for one hour for each month of age.  As your puppy grows and has more bladder control, these intervals can be gradually increased.

You need to first start by choosing a spot outside where you want your pup to do his business or, if you do not have access to a backyard, an area on your balcony or other area in your home that you will be using as his “bathroom”.

Your puppy should always be taken out to his designated area on a leash first thing in the morning, after each meal, after a nap, after a big drink, after a play session, and last thing before going to bed for the night.

You should also remember to pick up your pup’s water bowl about two hours before bedtime as this will reduce the chance of your pup waking you up in the middle of the night to go out.

Most puppies should be able to sleep for at least seven hours without a bathroom break but, if your pup does wake you up during the night, don’t make a big deal out of it.  Turn on as few lights as possible, don’t make a big fuss of your pup or play with him, just take him to his designated area to relieve himself and immediately take him back to his bed.

As animals are creatures of habit, you should set up a schedule for wake up times, meal times, play times and bedtime and stick to the schedule as closely as possible.  Keeping a regular schedule with your pup will help him to develop good house training skills in a shorter period of time.

As a pup parent, you also need to pay attention to your pup and pick up on signals that he may need to go potty. If your pup starts barking or scratching at the door, sniffing all over the floor, or starts making small circles, it’s probably a good idea to get him to his bathroom. When you see any of these signs, immediately take your pup out to eliminate himself and, as soon as he is done, give him lots of praise and a small treat.

Some people may choose to use “Puppy Pads” to train their pets.  This can work for house training but be warned that if you go somewhere and your pup sees a newspaper on the floor or a small scatter rug, to him it’s a “Pee Pad”. 

If you are living in an apartment building and not able to get your pup outside quickly during his potty training, you may want to look into purchasing a “Potty Patch”.  This is a device that has artificial grass on top and a removable tray underneath.  It can be placed on your balcony or any other area of your home that you choose and you can train your pup to eliminate on the Patch. This is quite effective as your pup will associate this with going outside on the grass.

While potty training your pup, always take him outside, or to whatever spot you have chosen to use as his Bathroom, on a leash.  Be sure that your puppy does his business, finishes, and then praise him and reward him with a small treat.

Regardless of how diligent you are with your puppy, there are bound to be some “accidents”. You need to supervise your pup and, if you can’t watch him, confine him either to his crate or a partitioned off area of your home. The least number of accidents in the home will make the potty training much faster.

If your pup does have an accident, don’t start yelling at your pup, but instead hook up his leash and take him to his designated area and let him finish and then praise him.  You should never punish your pup if he has an accident in the house.  Instead, clean the area using a product that is not ammonia based such as Natures Miracle. If not cleaned properly, you will find that your pup will continue to go to any area that smells like urine or feces.

If you already have a puppy or are planning on getting one in the near future, be sure that you are able to take time away from work to spend the time needed to bond with your new family member and to teach him good house training skills.  

If you are diligent and stick to your schedule, you should be able to have your puppy house trained within two weeks.  But remember, all pups are not alike, some may get trained faster, and others may take more time and patience. If you are not able to spend the time needed at home with your fur baby, be sure that you arrange to have a friend or family member or a pet caregiver available to come in during the times you are away to get your pup out on schedule to do his business.

In any event, spend as much time as possible with your new fur baby as you can and you will soon be rewarded with a happy, potty trained puppy.


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