Now that you've taken the plunge and brought home your new puppy, it's time to start potty training. Don't fret! With the right method, you'll have a fully-trained pup in no time at all, and before you know it, he'll be happily going outside on his own whenever he needs to go.

Remember to keep things positive (and don't forget about those gold star stickers!), and you'll both enjoy this process! Here are the do's and don'ts of potty training your new puppy.

Train your puppy early

When you get a new puppy, you’ll want to start potty training as soon as possible. This will save you lots of time, energy, and most importantly – effort down the road. If your puppy is 3 months old or younger, she can be trained within just a few days; if your pup is older than that, it may take her a little longer.

As a general rule of thumb, pups should be able to control their bladders for at least an hour by their 4th month before potty training begins. And if your dog is approaching six months but hasn’t reached that milestone yet?

Set up the right conditions

To start, you’ll need to set up a safe and comfortable place for your dog to relieve himself. Be sure to bring him outside every hour during waking hours on weekdays, more often if he needs it, for about five minutes at a time. Until he’s able to hold it throughout the night without an accident, expect to get up with him in the middle of your own sleep cycle.

Keep in mind that puppies will be puppies—they don’t always have full control over their bladders when they need to go out (nor do older dogs). He may jump around excitedly or run away from you before letting loose.

Be positive

Positive reinforcement is a great way to get your new puppy on board with potty training. Of course, you’ll want to pay attention to your puppy’s cues (like sniffing at or circling around a specific area) in order to keep up with his elimination schedule. But when he does go potty outside, be sure to provide plenty of praise so that he understands what he did was right.

You can even give him a small treat or reward him with playtime once he gets back inside. And while they don’t need long walks every day, keep in mind that short outings will leave them more comfortable outside when it comes time for potty training.

Involve everyone in the family

Make sure to ask other members of your household to be a part of potty training your new puppy. Since you’ll be leaving your pup alone at home while you’re out, it’s a good idea for everyone to help out with training.

Having more than one person involved will help ensure that your dog has consistent opportunities to potty outside and receive ample praise for successful efforts. Moreover, making potty training part of an entire family effort will strengthen bonds among everyone involved—and it’ll make it all feel less like a chore!

Keep things simple

Try to keep your pup’s world as simple as possible. Pick one area of your home (the bathroom, for example) that you will designate as potty time. Everything else in your dog’s environment should remain basically unchanged for as long as possible.

If you have a small enough house or an apartment, confine him to one room—just make sure it has its own access to your designated potty area. Confining him to one room might seem extreme but it will allow you to limit his options (thereby making accidents less likely).

Plus, having all of his toys in one place will make playtime easier and more convenient for both of you.

Observe, assess, adapt

To potty train your new puppy, there are some things you need to consider first. Observe your dog to see what he’s already been taught, how he responds to signals and instructions, and if he has any previous training. Take note of his physical condition—any health problems may make training more difficult or require special accommodations.

Determine how much time you have available to dedicate towards potty training, as well as what methods will work best with your lifestyle. There are a lot of variables that can affect a successful potty-training experience; once you understand them all, assess how they will impact your method of teaching.

Look out for problems and deal with them early on

When you bring your puppy home, it’s natural to have high hopes for what his future holds. But if that promise includes going in your house, car or even staying on one floor of your house for a long period of time, you’re setting yourself up for some major setbacks.

These problems are all preventable—you just need to make sure to deal with them early on. Make sure he’s learning where you want him to go as soon as possible so potty training doesn’t become a source of stress later on.

If he has an accident and gets used to going in certain spots, try using white vinegar or lemon juice to remove any odor that might be attracting him back there.

Watch out for common mistakes people make while training their dogs to go outside

Let’s start by breaking down what NOT to do when training your dog to potty outside. It’s always important to be consistent with your dog, but that goes double when you’re trying to teach them anything new. Any inconsistency (like giving in) will just confuse your pup, especially if they’re a particularly smart one.

There are also a few other common mistakes people make while training their dogs to go outside, including not having them properly housetrained before they leave for their new home; or even worse, just assuming that puppies will automatically know how to go potty outside if they simply get enough practice at it...if you try hard enough.

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Peace Out

Written by Himanshu Tripathi

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