Getting your puppy clean in the house and doing its ‘business’ outside is a priority for most new puppy owners. But what happens when it goes wrong? And how can we fix it? Unfortunately, there are no ‘quick fixes’ when it comes to toilet training, but it can help enormously if you know the top 5 things you could be doing wrong!

  1. Giving your puppy too much freedom: if your puppy has the run of the house its going to be much harder to figure out where the door is or that paper by the door that you expect him to go on. When puppies need to go, they need to go NOW and that shaggy rug by your bed will seem very tempting.
  2. Punishing your puppy for getting it wrong: puppies have no idea what human rules we have decided for our puppy, after all we use the bathroom in the house, so why does the poor puppy have to go outside? Patience and understanding are key to getting him to understand where the loo is. If you punish your dog for getting it wrong, especially if it’s a few minutes or even hours later, you are breaking a delicate trust. He will only likely learn that for some illogical reason, YOU go crazy mad in the presence of pee and poo, and he may become frightened of preforming in front of you, making rewarding him for going in the correct place now impossible.
  3. The products you use: Using whatever cleaner happens to be under the sink will not actually break down the smell of ammonia in the waste. Invest in an appropriate deodorising animal disinfectant or mix a solution of warm water and biological washing powder. Otherwise, you run the risk of your puppy getting repeatedly attracted back to the same place.
  4. Crates, puppy pens and baby gates are perfect for confining puppy when you can’t supervise. If you are gone for a longer period, use a puppy pen or a safe utility room with a toilet area, for example newspaper. For shorter periods, a crate, when properly introduced, will teach puppy bladder control, as it should not have a toilet area. Make sure when you return home and are with your puppy, the toilet area has been removed and all smells removed and preferably the puppy has no access to it.
  5. Watch your puppy: most accidents happen when the puppy is not being watched. Typical times to be careful are after eating, drinking, playing, waking up. Wandering off out of a room or sniffing and circling near a door are classic signs. Go with your puppy to the outside toilet area and reward any efforts. If he doesn’t go and you know he is due to, pop him into a crate or put him on a lead in the house for ten minutes and then go back outside.

Remember to set your puppy up for success, be kind, be patient, and remember, the less freedom he has now the more freedom he will get later!