They’re tiny, furry, hyper and sleepy all in equal measure, so introducing your puppy to their forever home can be an exciting time chock full of adventures, discoveries and cute (extremely instagrammable) moments. What could go wrong?
Well actually, a surprising amount of mishaps throughout the toilet training process. Many inexperienced pet owners think that because puppies are so tiny they are easier to care for and create less mess than a fully grown dog. But just like little humans, puppies can have a range of needs as they’re learning and figuring out how to exist in a big, scary and confusing world. Think of them as, quite literally, your fur baby.
Commencing toilet training as quickly as possible is essential if you want to avoid sleepily coming downstairs and stepping into puddles just when you’re about to make your morning coffee. Training is relatively simple once a routine is introduced, but it can be difficult to know where to start if you’ve never trained or handled a puppy before. To help, Benchmark Kennels have put together a simple guide packed with hints and tips to toilet train a puppy successfully.
Set a puppy toilet training routine
A regular routine is a key factor when it comes to toilet training, this allows your puppy to associate certain times of the day and locations with going to the toilet. You should also consider incorporating gentle commands, food treats and scent markers such as a soiled kennel or crate lining made of paper or fabric. The following are the major steps you and your puppers’ should include in your daily routine.
As soon as you both wake up your puppy should be taken outside for morning toilet time, try not to pick them up as they need to learn to walk to the garden or yard themselves. You might choose to place their soiled puppy pad, blanket or newspapers from their crate on the ground to attract them to a specific area, so they can get a clearer understanding that it’s time to go to the toilet.
It is helpful to introduce a gentle command such as ‘quickly’ or ‘toilet’ for them to associate with this time, location, and smell. During the early days of toilet training, puppies kept on a lead when you’re encouraging them to go to the toilet are less likely to roam and explore, once they’re old enough to understand what they should do, you can leave the lead indoors.
Throughout the day
A puppy needs to go to the toilet roughly once every two hours because their bladders are so small, but some owners prefer to aim for every half hour. Whichever time frame seems to work best for your puppy, take them outside into the garden or yard and repeat their morning routine, rewarding them with a treat when they get it right.
Mistakes are totally normal, and although they can be frustrating, do not punish your puppy for getting toilet time wrong. Keep an eye of them throughout the day for signs they might need the toilet, especially if they failed to go the last time you took them outside. Once you notice the signs like sniffing, whining and walking in circles, take them back outdoors.
Puppies feel the need to go outside to the toilet relatively soon after each meal. This can fall between five minutes to half an hour after they’ve eaten and had a drink, so keep a keen eye on them post-breakfast, lunch and tea. The older the puppy, the longer the gap between mealtimes and toilet times becomes, generally adult dogs can wait longer because of their increased bladder capacity.
Night-time toilet training
During the night your puppy is left alone without any supervision unless they are kept in your sleeping area. Though some might experience separation anxiety, a puppy which has been given ample opportunity to become familiar with their surroundings will not become as distressed and is more able to settle down for the night. However, it’s important not to have unreal expectations for the outcome of their bedtime routine. Accidents are bound to happen, especially in the early days.
It’s advisable to keep your puppy secured in their crate or kennel overnight so they cannot wander through rooms and have accidents on hard and soft furnishings. Put down a toilet pad or a few layers of newspaper on the floor of their crate to soak up toilet mess which can be removed easily with minimal fuss in the morning before they head out into the garden for their morning toilet.
If (by some Mission Impossible methods) your puppy manages to escape their crate or kennel and leaves a trail of accidents in their wake, it’s best to clean it up using absorbent tea towels, warm water and washing powder with a nail brush for scrubbing. Alternately, a non-toxic antibacterial liquid or a wash recommended by your vet can be used to sanitise the area of the accident and leave a scent that prevents your puppy from wanting to soil that area repeatedly.
Learn from accidents
Do not chastise your puppy when they do have an accident, it is physiologically unavoidable when they are progressing through their formative months. At worst being shamed will terrify and scare them, leading to a disconnect in your companionship and them trusting you less than they should. Do not shove their noses in their accidents or shout at them, as they will not understand, instead, try to gently encourage and reward them for the things they do get right.
Stay calm, sanitise the area of the accident thoroughly and use the experience as a valuable learning curve that you’ll need to be more vigilant, attentive and careful regarding your pup’s toilet habits over the coming months. If your puppy is halfway through going to the toilet when you catch them having an accident, quickly pick them up and take them into the garden. They may be able to finish going to the toilet in the correct location.
Whatever accidents happen, it helps to know that it’s not forever, soon enough they will be adult dogs able to take care of their own toilet needs at home and on walks.
Need a bespoke kennel for your puppy to feel comfortable in?
Benchmark Kennels are a manufacturer of bespoke dog kennels, giving dog owners of all breed types, sizes and temperaments a secure and spacious place to stay outdoors. Every kennel is custom-made, meaning you can choose the exact size, material, properties and architecture of the kennel itself to ensure it suits your dog and the outside of your property.