One of the most stressful things about owning a puppy is toilet training. You will think that you did everything right, and then your puppy will have an accident in your home and wreck all your fun with your puppy. So how do you get your puppy to understand that they should not go to the toilet in the house when ever they feel like it? How do you toilet-train a puppy who seems really stubborn? Here’s some toilet training solutions!
Toilet training a stubborn puppy?
It may seem that your puppy is trying to defy you on purpose. But in all honesty, please understand that no puppy is making you clean up their accidents just to upset you and make you angry. Your only wants to bond with you and show you love. Accidents whether its wee or poop are certainly not a sign that your puppy is thick or that they are trying to work against you.
It is extremely important that you don’t get upset or heavy handed with your puppy. They are just a baby and they are just learning about the big wide world! Your job is to make your puppy feel safe and welcome in your home. Your puppy shouldn’t ever see you as being unpredictable or unpleasant.
Start right at the beginning. Dogs are clean animals naturally, who normally don’t want to relieve themselves in what they think is their home.
A mother dog will clean the puppies every time they relieve themselves and she will keep the whelping box really clean. She will teach the puppies early on that it is a part of life to be clean.
When the puppies slowly learn to start walking, some breeders will keep a litter tray with some wood shavings in the puppy area so they can go to the toilet in there.
This is where it can get a little awkward: Young puppies are actually really good at using the correct toileting place in a small area.
However they are not really that good at understanding that the entire home doesn’t contain a place to go to the toilet.
Your puppies whole life is restricted to a quite a small area until that day when your puppy come home to live with you. No ethical breeder or rescue allows a litter of puppies to have the full run of the home, they would quickly destroy the place.
Now that you’ve brought your puppy home, they will ore than likely have a quite a lot of the room, compared to what your puppy used to have. They do not understand that there is no where in all this space that there isn’t a place to go to the toilet.
Your puppy will more than likely find a quiet spot out of the way that isn’t really used by family members, like a corner in your living room or behind the TV, and your puppy may decide that this from now on is where they will go to the toilet.
To stop your puppy from peeing and pooping in your home, you need to restrict the area that they has access to!
But my puppy won’t toilet train
Does it feel like your stubborn little puppy just won’t toilet train? Here are some solutions for the most common problems for toilet training.
You may feel that your puppy is just waiting until you both come inside the house, and then they just go to the toilet?
It isn’t enough to just open the door to your back garden or to have a dog flap installed and hope that your puppy will go outside on their own and do their business in the beginning stages. The chances are that your puppy might go outside, but then is more than likely to get distracted, starts chasing a leaf, or starts to dig and sniff around and forgets that they actually need to pee. Then your puppy comes back into the house, and then suddenly they happen to remember that they actually needed the toilet, and then oops too late.
If you don’t see what your puppy is actually doing outside in the garden, then you can’t be sure that they’ve been to the toilet, if you decide to stay indoors, then it can also happen that your puppy might only squeeze out a few little droplets of pee because all they want to do is get back indoors and be with you as quick as they can.
To make sure that your puppy empties their entire bladder is to go outside with them and wait until they’ve done what they need to do. With a puppy that gets easily distracted, keep them on a lead close to you to stop them from running off and playing. Doing it that way then you can also give them a treat or even play with them as a reward after they have done their business.
In the beginning stages, outside toilet breaks need to happen very frequently.
For a puppy who is 8 weeks old its recommend that you take your puppy out side after waking up, after every meal, after playing, and every 20min regardless of what the activity is unless they are asleep. At that age your puppy cannot at this point go for a lengthy period of time without needing regular toilet breaks.
If your puppy plays for a long time, then they might also need to be taken outside during playtime. It is definitely a wise idea to keep an eye on your watch or even set timers to help you stay on the right path.
Learn your puppies behaviour: before your puppy goes to the toilet they will start to sniff at the floor and start to circle, this is when you need to pick your puppy up and take them outside. After a while you will recognise that the toilet dance looks a lot different from a dog who is turning around to lie down when making themselves comfy.
Accidents do and certainly will happen. Don’t shout or reprimand your puppy they won’t understand or realise that you are telling them off for choosing the wrong place to go to the toilet. They will just think your unpredictable and become scared of you.
As your puppy grows up, they will soon learn naturally to hold their bladder for longer periods of time.
If you do however find an area that is soiled, then just be more observant next time and clean it up. You can get purchase speciality urine remover products in most supermarkets or online. But a good trick is to use biological washing powder/liquid and bicarbonate of soda mixed in warm water, it breaks up the enzymes in the urine.
If your puppy is in the act of soiling then simply pick them up and take them outdoors where they can finish their business there. Don’t chastise or discipline your puppy! This will only make them scared of you and destroy their trust with you.
At first your puppy may not really understand that they are meant to go to the toilet when you take them out to their chosen toilet area. They might tug at the lead, dig in the dirt or try and chase fallen leaves.
Remember it’s important that you don’t give up and think “ Oh well perhaps my puppy doesn’t really need to go”. Because as soon as you go back indoors with your puppy, all those great distractions will be gone and your puppy will suddenly remember that they needed to go to the toilet, and they will go and do it in a corner in the room.
Alternatively, take your puppy outside, and stand with them whilst they are on a lead at your puppies toilet area and wait until they have gone to the toilet. As soon as your puppy goes, you should reward them. Either in the form of tasty treats or by playing some games. Over a period of time, your puppy will learn that if they want to play or get a treat, they will need to pee first.
Puppy pads, how long should I use them?
When it comes to puppy pads, you shouldn’t really use them full stop. The longer you keep using the puppy pad’s then the harder it’s going to be to wean your puppy off from using them.
If your puppy can go to the toilet when ever they feel like it by going on a puppy pad, then they may never be able to actually control their bladder for any long period of time. With toilet training your puppy, the end goal for them is to be able to not pee for a few hours if left home alone. They can only learn to control themselves if you slowly increase the time between your puppies toilet breaks.
Using puppy pads makes this approach impossible, as the puppy will never have to hold its bladder, but can go to the toilet at when ever it wants when using the pads. This will also slow down your puppies learning and might even lead to your puppy being totally dependant on using puppy pads in the long run.
To some people, using a puppy pad that can be thrown straight in to the bin, comes across as being more sanitary than the puppy peeing on the floor, But in reality the puppy has no idea that they are meant to be peeing on a puppy pad, and only the puppy pad, and quite often the results with half of the puppy pad and the other half on the floor, or your puppies poop sat on the edge of the puppy pad.
With the length of time that it takes to train your puppy on how to use the puppy pad properly, you may as well just teach them to go outdoors to pee and poo!
Just imagine a puppy that is bored and just sat in their play pen, and looking for something fun to do. Your puppy is certainly going to play and rip the puppy pad if its in the pen. Some puppies won’t destroy them that much, but some other puppies will shred that pad to tiny pieces. So, its not really that hygienic!
With regular toilet training your puppy learns to hold their bladder for longer periods of time. But if pads are always available, then the chances of your puppy learning to hold their bladder will never happen. Whilst using puppy pads can be a temporary solution, for example using them if your dog has had any surgery and is struggling to go outdoors, they should only be used as a temporary solution and lot a long term one. All dogs who are healthy are capable of being toilet trained without the use of puppy pads, and that including tiny and small breeds.
When it comes to toilet training, then both male and female puppies are exactly the same. There is no difference when it comes to gender.
Some puppies are definitely easier to toilet train than others, but this comes down to the breed and the size. Puppies that are large breed are easier to toilet train in general, compared to small breed puppies who take longer and will definitely have more accidents. It certainly doesn’t come down to the puppies gender far from it!
Quite often I get asked if there is a quick fall proof solution to all toilet training issues. And as you might already know my answer, the answer is no.
There is no quick fix tool that you can buy to keep toilet accidents from happening. Consistency and supervision is a 100% must to be successful with toilet training.
And just because I have been asked this question a few times: No, having you dog neutered or spayed will not help or make toilet training quicker.