To help make toilet training a little smoother, here are some quick tips:
1. Use their crate
Using a crate with your puppy gives them a safe, happy spot to call their own. It's in their nature to consider the small space of a crate their den or home and even young puppies don’t want to toilet in their home. Feed your puppy inside their crate and fill it with their favourite toys. This helps them learn that their crate is a good place. Keep your puppy in a crate at night and when you aren’t able to supervise them (but not for longer than 4 hours at a time during the day) to help encourage them to hold their bladder and bowels. Using a crate also helps restrict your puppy’s freedom. A toilet training puppy that roams around your home will go to the toilet whenever they need to. This trains them that going indoors is ok. Restrict their freedom by shutting off doors in your home and keeping them with you at all times, whether that’s on a lead or in a crate or exercise pen.
2. Establish a routine
Having a routine for toileting helps your puppy learn the right time and place to toilet, while helping you keep your home clean. Feed your puppy the same times every day, and take them outside for the toilet afterwards. A quick walk outside within 1 hour of eating can help move their bowels along. As well as taking them to their toilet spot after they’ve eaten, take them when they wake up or when you take them out of their crate, and after they’ve played, had a drink or some cuddles. Remember that young puppies can’t last more than a few hours without going to the toilet: try to take them outside every 2 to 3 hours. If you’re away from home during the day, ask a friend or hire a pet sitter.
3. Praise, don’t punish
Positive reinforcement is the best way for a puppy to be house trained. When they go to the toilet outside, pile on the praise. Tell them how good they are, in your most enthusiastic voice. Maybe throw in a few tasty treats. Make sure you wait until they’re fully finished, otherwise they might get distracted halfway through. Praising good behaviour and ignoring mistakes is essential when it comes to toilet training. If you catch them going toilet inside, make a noise to startle them and stop them. Then immediately take them outside to their designated toilet spot, wait until they’re done and then praise and reward them. Physical punishments or putting their nose in the mess is never ok. It’s completely natural and to be expected that accidents will happen when your puppy is learning.
4. Toilet them on different textures
Once your pup has got the hang of going toilet outside, it may help to expose them to different textures. By exposing them to going toilet on other surfaces like artificial grass, leaves, or dirt, they won't struggle with change in textures if they are at a dog daycare or another house. It also helps your puppy understand where they’re allowed to toilet when they need to, even if it isn't their usual at home surface.
5. Use enzyme cleaners
When accidents happen, use enzyme cleaners rather than ammonia-based cleaners. Wee contains ammonia so cleaning with ammonia could attract your puppy back to the same spot to wee again. A proper stain and odour remover will help fully remove any smell. If it’s not properly cleaned, your puppy might be able to smell the pheromones left behind and think it’s an acceptable place to toilet.