Bringing a new pup home can be a mixed bag of emotions. While the experience in itself is novel and thrilling, it can also be a learning curve for both the pet and you.
You not only have to learn to adjust to its ways and needs but also teach your pet a horde of tricks and behaviors so that it can adjust well to your home and family. Read on to find out how to create a puppy potty schedule.
How to Create A Puppy Potty Schedule?
So how to create a puppy potty schedule? Here’s what you need to keep in mind while creating a puppy potty schedule.
Besides creating a potty timetable for your pup to follow, you’ll need to teach your pet which places in the house, backyard, or other areas are acceptable for it to relieve itself.
You can do this by sectioning off portions of your home and backyard that are to be used for pooping or peeing, suitable to the puppy’s size and breed type.
It is important to keep these areas clean. A buildup of waste matter will make the puppy explore new areas to relieve itself.
Praise and Reward
Just as we human beings need praise and recognition to perform better, our pups, too, require positive reinforcement in the form of praises and rewards to learn faster. Shower your pup with attention and treats after it successfully relieves itself in the designated area.
Keep in mind that the reward must follow the act of pooping or peeing and not while the puppy is doing it.
Otherwise, it can distract your pup and probably make it leave its business halfway. This increases the chances of house soiling.
Puppies have a short attention span and need to be taught to associate the reward with the act of pooping or peeing.
The potty schedule needs to be followed consistently.
However, the puppy’s daily routine, including its mealtime, playtime, and sleeping habits, has to be also kept in mind while structuring the potty schedule.
Also factor in the number of hours that your pup can control its bladder. According to the AKC, the amount of time a puppy can control its bladder is directly proportional to its age.
For example, if you’re potty training an 8-week-old puppy, it can control its bladder for about 2 hours.
A 12-week-old pup can control its bladder for 3 hours.
However, a sleeping dog can control its bladder for a longer period.
So what is the best age to potty train a puppy?
You should begin potty training your puppy when they are 12 to 16 weeks old. By this time, they have better control of their bladder and bowel movements.
Also Read: How To Train Your Dog On Your Own?
How Do You Schedule Potty Time?
As per the AKC, the best times to schedule your puppy to relieve itself are as follows.
Having spent most of its time during the night without relieving itself, a pup needs to be taken to the designated potty area as soon as it wakes up.
Post Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
After having their meal, puppies usually feel the need to relieve themselves. Taking your pup out after its breakfast gives it a chance to do so without spoiling your house.
Mid Morning and Mid Afternoon
During both these periods, the puppy should be made to nap in its crate. A trip to the backyard after both these rest times would reduce the chances of untoward incidents.
After your pup is done with its playtime and socialization in the evening, take it for its potty break.
Although you may have taken your pup to relieve itself after dinner, take it out one more time before it sleeps. This will help it sleep for long hours, without feeling the need to wake up at night to poop or pee.
If your pup is unable to control its bladder during the night, note the time that it needs to pee, and set an alarm accordingly every night for a quick potty break.
Also Read: How to Crate Train a Dog
Tips to Keep in Mind
Do not let your puppy poop at any time.
Rather, schedule the poop times around your pup’s routine and yours.
Allowing your puppy to poop at any time will not help its potty-training process and will result in a lack of structured routine. A good rule of thumb is to take your pup out at least once every 2 hours.
After you design and structure a puppy potty schedule by age and other factors, follow it daily.
By following a consistent routine, your puppy will be able to adapt and adjust to its new timetable and lifestyle faster.
When your puppy is out to do his business, do not give it unlimited time to sniff around.
At the most, give it 3 to 5 minutes. If it still continues to sniff around, pick it up and take it back inside. You can bring it out again after a few minutes to the same spot. Chances of it pooping the second time around will be higher.
Be calm and stay quiet while your puppy is doing its business.
Also, provide it with a relatively quiet area to relieve itself. Any distraction from you or other sources can cause a disturbance in its pooping or peeing, increasing the risk of house soiling.
Once your puppy is fully trained, you can help your pup create an association between potty bells and the act.
A potty bell is usually hung at the door and can be rung by the puppy whenever they feel the need to go potty, thereby giving you an opportunity to let them outside.
The process of potty training should preferably be a family affair, with everyone participating. This will greatly speed up the process of learning.
How to Potty Train A Puppy in An Apartment
It can be more difficult to train your pup in an apartment, as it likely offers less space for potty training. In such restrictive spaces, you will need to use alternatives to help potty train your pet.
Some of the options are listed below.
Pee pads, as the name suggests, are pads that can be placed in an area of the house where you would want your puppy to pee.
If the puppy happens to stray from the pee pad, pick up the pup and place it again on the pee pad. The puppy will soon begin to draw an association and relieve itself on the pads.
Artificial Grass Patches
You can place a patch of faux grass in a designated area of your patio or terrace, where you can take your dog to poop or pee.
These patches are rather easy to clean and can be washed with plain water.
Get Help from Your Loved Ones
If you live in an apartment and don’t have the luxury of staying with your puppy at all times, you surely can’t leave it alone to do its business as it won’t be able to step out until you return home.
Make arrangements in advance for friends or family to come and take your dog out if they can. You can also hire a dog sitter for the same.
Common Complaints And Troubleshooting
If your puppy makes a mistake, do not resort to any form of punishment. It may only lead to more mistakes and accidents. Moreover, the puppy will be intimidated by you.
If you catch your puppy slipping up, simply pick them up and place them in the designated spot to finish their business.
After they are done, shower them with praises and treats.
“Revenge and temper tantrums have absolutely no place in dog training — you must not let training turn into a spectacle of one dumb animal hurting another.” ― U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Military Working Dog Training Handbook
If you’re training your puppy inside the house, remember to clean the soiled area with a strong cleaning agent (preferably a pet stain enzymatic cleaner), as puppies are drawn to smells and may end up repeating the same mistake.
Some of the common complaints witnessed are as below.
Puppy Piddles All Over the House
This is a very common occurrence with small breeds. In such cases, it is advised to use litter boxes in addition to pee pads for indoor use and to continue training your puppy. This may take a little more effort and time, so be patient and stay cool.
Puppy Pees Again in the Wrong Spot
This is probably because the place was not cleaned well after the previous disaster. The spot needs to be cleaned with a pet stain enzymatic cleaner to eliminate every hint of smell or odor.
Pet Parents Declare Victory Too Soon
In such cases, parents seeing visible changes in their puppy prematurely decide to call it a win.
It is important that you continue to follow the schedule meticulously to train your puppy well and not call it a win early on. Otherwise, you’ll have to start the potty training process all over again.
Puppy Soils Crates
This is usually a problem with puppies that come from pet stores or shelters or have stayed in confined places.
From a young age, they’ve had no choice but to poop or pee anywhere they could. In this case, you’ll have to train your puppy from the day you bring it home.
Follow the potty schedule meticulously till the pup unlearns all its previous ways and learns new habits.
How Long Does It Take to Train Your Pup?
“This is the magic secret of dog training — lose control over yourself and you at once lose control of the dog. Your strongest and the most irresistible weapon is iron patience.” ― Albert Payson Terhune, Gray Dawn
Every puppy is different in its mannerisms, behavior, and personality.
So the duration of training can vary. On average, it takes 4 to 6 months or even up to 1 year for your pet to be fully house-trained.
Factors like the training methods used, age, intelligence, learning abilities of the puppy, and the consistency with which the pet parent follows the guidelines all affect the training period.
It is important that you continue to exercise a great deal of patience, love, and gentleness and stay persistent in your efforts during the training period.
Potty training your pup can be difficult and time-consuming, not to mention irksome. However, with the help of our tips and tricks on how to create a puppy potty schedule, you’ll soon have a fully-trained pup that you’ll be very proud of.