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Potty Puppy Training And Potty Training Dog


What Does A Pet Have In Common With A Furred Appliance?

Nothing. Pets cannot be placed in a spot and expected to sit there. Pets, especially puppies, are full of life and movement. They need the opportunity to interact and be part of your family. Another reason pets are not like appliances is that they have to go to the bathroom. If we train them well, this will be easy from the start.


Potty training tips: puppies normally need to eliminate...

  • when they wake up
  • after strenuous exercise
  • 20-30 minutes after eating
  • just before bedtime

What is paper training?

Paper training is teaching your pet to eliminate indoors on newspaper. It is for pets that will not be going outside.

Which pets should be paper trained?

  • Small pets that will spend their lives indoors should be paper trained.
  • Pets who will be alone inside for longer than they can healthily hold urine and stool.

Which dogs should not be paper trained?

  • Intact, male, larger, dogs (above 20 lb) who lift their legs to urinate. These dogs may mark the walls if asked to eliminate indoors on paper.
  • Pets that you hope will eventually go outside to eliminate. It is difficult for many pets to make the transition from paper training to housebreaking, so it is better to train them to do one or the other. Pets trained to use paper have learned that it’s okay to eliminate inside the house; it’s difficult for them to understand when suddenly it’s not okay.

Housebreaking puppy or housebreaking dog, how long does it take?

Each pet learns at a different rate, and pet owners have different abilities to solicit, and reinforce, desired behavior. However, if you focus entirely on housebreaking, you can do it in about a week. If you’re not making progress, get help from a pet behaviorist.

How should I housebreak a pet?
(Housebreaking puppy, housebreaking dog, housebreaking older dog)

  • Create a schedule for the entire week. Schedule to take your pet outside to eliminate upon waking, 20-30 minutes after eating, after strenuous exercise, and just before bedtime. At other times your pet should be observed by a responsible family member—or be in its crate. Many families like “umbilical leash training” for puppies with the pup connected by a leash to a family member during all active periods. When off leash, your pet is in a crate or in an enclosed pet area.
  • To make housebreaking successful, feed your pet at the same time every day, and take it outside to eliminate at the same time every day. Keep the diet consistent in amount and frequency during the housebreaking period. Visit our Feeding and Watering Section for information on how often and how much to feed your pet.
  • Provide water with every meal, and again about 4 hours before bedtime. Don’t leave water down all the time during this housebreaking period. Provide ice cubes if your pet will become dehydrated without them. (After your pet is housebroken, you will be giving it a constant supply of water.)
  • If your pet makes a mistake and eliminates inside, immediately take it outdoors and ask it to eliminate with simple commands: Go potty. Do your business. Abracadabra. Give it 10-15 minutes to perform. Praise the performance. Clean up the masterpiece.

How should I paper train my pet?

  • Create a schedule for the entire week. Schedule to take your pet to eliminate upon waking, 20-30 minutes after eating, after strenuous exercise, and just before bedtime. At other times your pet should be observed by a responsible family member or be in its crate. Many families like “umbilical leash training” for puppies with the pup connected by a leash to a family member during all active periods. When off leash, your pet is placed in a crate or a pet area.
  • Feed your pet at the same time every day, and take it to eliminate at the same time. Keep the diet consistent in amount and frequency during the paper training period.
  • Provide water with every meal, and again about 4 hours before bedtime. Don’t leave water down all the time during this paper training period. Provide ice cubes if your pet will become dehydrated without them.
  • If your pet makes a mistake and eliminates inappropriately, immediately take it to the paper and ask it to eliminate with simple commands: Go potty. Do your business. Abracadabra. Give it 10-15 minutes to perform. Praise the performance. Clean up the paper, and put down fresh paper.
  • Always keep the paper in the same place so your pet is drawn to the area you want it using. Remove the urine and feces, but leave a small amount of urine on paper to cue your pet to this area. If transitioning your pet from paper to a litter pan, put a tiny amount of excreta on the new surface you want your pet to use. If transitioning your pet from paper to outdoors, put a urine-marked paper outdoors in the area your pet should use.

What’s the most common mistake made when housebreaking a puppy?

The most common mistakewith housebreaking is made when we think a cute little puppy is too young to make it outside to eliminate; we allow the pup to eliminate in the house on paper for now. We plan to gradually move the papers closer to the door and eventually outside, believing the pup will naturally learn to go outside as it gets bigger. It would be wonderful if this method worked, but it doesn’t; it’s almost guaranteed to fail and create an adult dog that eliminates all over the house.

Adult dogs that eliminate in the house get yelled at, swatted, and relinquished to the Humane Society. Fortunately, this never need happen to your pet. You have the information you need to paper train or housebreak your pet.

What’s an ideal pet area to set aside for your dog while it’s learning to eliminate properly?

An ideal pet area is about 3 by 5 feet. The area should be closed off—for example, with a baby gate—but should be in the midst of the family rather than isolated from the action. The pet area should include your pet’s crate or bed. Corners of the kitchen make good pet areas; garages and bathrooms do not. Your pet should remain part of the pack even while in the pet area.

Can I keep my pet in the garage or bathroom while it’s learning?

Is that where you would keep the baby? Pets feel isolated when they are kept in garages and bathrooms. They feel shunned by the pack. In addition, they may be exposed to potentially hazardous chemicals as they sniff and investigate. Even when closed behind cupboards, cleaners, solvents, oils, and gasoline have volatile components that harm developing nervous systems. Pets may be predisposed to seizures and behavior problems when their developing brains are exposed to chemicals. It’s much healthier for your pet— physically and emotionally—if it remains part of the pack and has a safe pet area to enjoy.

Is a crate a pet prison?

A crate is a refuge if your pet enjoys going into it, finds its favorite toys there, and sleeps there comfortably. A crate becomes a prison if your pet is locked in it for long periods. Crates are not for discipline, but for refuge.

How does a crate help housebreaking or paper training?

A crate is a good place for your pet when it is not being directly supervised, especially while it is learning to eliminate in the proper place. Puppies instinctively want to keep their den clean, and the crate becomes their den. Puppies are predisposed to hold their urine and stool while in the crate. Many highly motivated pet owners successfully housebreak their pets without crates—but they’re successful because they watch them every minute.

Help! My new pet is eliminating in the house!

If you catch your pet in the act, startle it to stop it from eliminating further, and rush it to the spot you want it to use. Startling should not leave psychological scars; it should be just enough of a surprise that the pet’s sphincter closes and you can take it to the elimination spot. Smaller pets can be picked up and carried. Praise your pet as soon as it does what you want, where you want. Clean up the soiled area without making a commotion.

Help! My pet eliminated in the house while I wasn’t looking.

To prevent your pet from eliminating while you’re not looking, keep looking. Don’t lose sight of a pet during the housebreaking period. If your pet isn’t being watched, put it in an enclosed pet area or in the crate.

What might cause your housebroken pet to eliminate indoors inappropriately?

  • Health problems (diarrhea, change in diet, garbage eating, kidney failure, constipation, anal sac inflammation, diabetes, medications such as prednisone)
  • Hormonal issues (marking territory especially if anxious about another pet, or a pet visible out the window)
  • Anxiety (separation anxiety experienced when left alone)
  • Submissive Urination (submissive pets act like infant puppies and urinate upon seeing a dominant human being. They do this to indicate they are not a threat to us and to ask us not to hurt them)
  • Behavior (pets not reinforced for the correct behavior or that don’t know what we want)
  • Pheromone stimulation (chemical messengers, the pheromones, in a pet’s urine that remain on the floor act like neon signs signaling THIS IS THE PLACE)

Why is positive reinforcement better than a swat and putting a puppy’s nose in its mess?

Pets love the positive. Their brains work better when not stressed, and they can learn what it is you want. Learning is also facilitated by Omega 3 fatty acids, such as found in flax seed (Missing Link) and fish oils (Lipiderm, 3V Caps, Derm Caps, 1-800-PetMeds Brite Coat XS).

Can’t I have a cup of coffee in the morning before taking my pet to eliminate?

If you want to efficiently housebreak your pet in about a week’s time, wait to have that first cup in the morning. A puppy often has stronger urges to eliminate than it has muscle control. Dedicate yourself to housebreaking in one week, and your chances of being successful are very high.

Aren’t pets self-cleaning like ovens?

Nope. Help your pet stay clean. Check its bottom after it defecates, wash with shampoo, and rinse well. Then wash your hands. Pay close attention to the bottoms of pets with fluffy hair—poodles, Bichon frise, shelties, Pekingese—since their hair collects feces easily.

Sometimes groomers clip the hair around the rectum, but if the clipper irritates the skin, pets can develop bacterial infections. If the hair is not clipped, though, it can mat and hold feces, developing bacterial infections under the mat. Whether you decide to have your pet’s bottom clipped or not, check the hair and skin around the rectum daily. Pets that were housebroken can lapse and eliminate throughout the house when their coats are allowed to remain soiled with feces. Some people believe that soiled pets become dispirited and no longer care about themselves or their environment.

True or false, feces can concrete on a pet’s rectum and kill it?

True. If concreted hair and feces prevents defecation, pets become deathly ill. If the problem is not remedied, they die. Fortunately, you know enough to prevent this. Your pet is glad you do.

Are ammonia-based detergents best for removing from urine and feces odors?

No. The best way to eliminate odor—and the chemical signal to your pet that this is the area to use for elimination—is to follow these 3 steps:

  • Blot up the urine or pick up the stool before it has soaked into the underlying carpet pad where odors linger
  • Lift stains with water or club soda
  • Remove odor with cleaners such as Get Serious, Nature’s Miracle, or Simple Solution

Avoid the tendency to immediately soak the area with detergent. This dilutes the eliminated material and spreads it further. Blotting is the first step.

How does a black light help with potty training?

Search for old urine on the floor with a black light; clean up the spots that glow under the light with Get Serious, Nature’s Miracle, or Simple Solution.

What’s the difference between an enzyme cleaner and a soap with a fantastic citrus smell?

Fantastic smells don’t eliminate the chemical messages left behind on the floor that signal, “Pet Potty Here.” The pheromones and chemical signals that we can’t smell, pets can smell. Enzyme cleaners such as Nature’s Miracle or Simple Solution, change the chemical nature of what was left on the floor so it doesn’t radiate the message that the area is okay to use as a potty site. Get Serious also effectively removes odors, but it does so in a different way than enzyme cleaners.

Help! My pet repeatedly urinates in the house in the same place.

Clean carefully to remove the urine and stool chemicals that communicate to your pet, “It’s okay to eliminate here.” Then, put your pet’s food bowl in the spot it likes to mark. Feed your pet in the bowl, and leave the bowl down between meals. If necessary, cover nearby areas with an upside down carpet runner so your pet won’t use that area. Gradually move the bowl closer to wherever you would like to feed your pet. Be prepared for it to take at least a month.

Ask yourself what factors are making it difficult for your pet to eliminate where it should. Remove those factors. Then, make sure you haven’t quit reinforcing good behavior when your pet eliminates as it should.

Use Pet Organics No-Go Housebreaking Aid, which contains garlic, cloves and other ingredients that discourage pets from eliminating wherever it is sprayed.

Can’t I just open the door and let my puppy out in the fenced yard to eliminate on its own?

Housebreaking is teaching your pet to eliminate when and where asked. To be successful, accompany your pet outside and when it is in the act of eliminating, give a command, such as “Go potty.” When your pet performs, reinforce its behavior with praise. The pet will learn what you want, and you’ll be able to elicit elimination when you give the “Go potty” command in the future. For example, you’ll be able to ask your pet to eliminate before getting into the car, or when you stop at a rest station.

With commands such as “Go potty” or “Do your business,” you’ll also be able to direct your pet to the area in the yard that is best used for elimination.

Pets that have access to a fenced yard can teach themselves to eliminate outdoors, but they have not learned what you want when you ask them to go potty.

I work 8 hours, can I successfully housebreak my pet?

You have to work, you want a puppy, and you want the puppy happy. Definitely possible, but it requires effort.

First, ask yourself if it is necessary to leave your pet alone for 8 hours. Pets can feel abandoned and isolated if left alone for long periods, especially puppies. The successful evolution of the canine species required a pack. Dogs are programmed to be emotionally, chemically, and physically dependent upon others. When you’re away all day, your pet has no pack, and it can feel isolated, dejected, and anxious. Anxiety leads to poor learning and poor health. Prevent anxiety by arranging for someone to come in midway during your absence in order to exercise, feed, and potty your pet. Or take your pet to doggie day care.

If these solutions are not possible, create for your pet an area of about 3 by 5 feet. Put a bed or crate at one end of the pet area and an elimination area at the other end marked by newspaper or puppy pads. Provide water or ice cubes. Provide an entertaining video, chew toys, or a radio. Use HomeoPet Anxiety Relief to calm your pet, or plug in a Comfort Zone D.A.P. atomizer that vaporizes a calming pheromone. D.A.P. makes your dog feel it is in the nest with its mother so it settles peacefully.

Why shouldn’t your puppy have rawhides during the housebreaking period?

Rawhides can make your pet thirsty. A thirsty pet drinks more, and has more accidents. You don’t want your pet thirsty when it doesn’t have free access to water; and during the housebreaking period, water is available only with each meal, and 4 hours before bedtime rather than all the time.

Rawhides can make good treats, as long as your pet is observed while it’s chewing so that it doesn’t swallow large chunks. We carry Dingo ‘Rang and other flavored rawhides that do not mark the carpet. They’re great for pets that have free access to water.

photo of a sad puppy who is being potty trained  

What’s the youngest age a puppy can be housebroken?

Eight-week-old pups have been successfully housebroken using these tips. All pups can learn at a young age, but not all pups are physically able to hold urine for 4 hours. Do what is appropriate for your pet.

What about housebreaking older dogs?

Housebreaking older dogs begins with a visit to the veterinarian to confirm your pet doesn’t have any physical problems that make it difficult to control urine or stool: diarrhea, diabetes, dementia, colitis, Cushing’s disease, etc.

Check that your pet’s bottom is clean, and that it is on a regular feeding and exercising schedule. Remove all treats except those used to reinforce housebreaking. Use the steps outlined above for housebreaking older dogs or paper training. Remember to praise your pet for its successes, but don’t punish for the failures because punishment doesn’t help your pet learn.

If your older pet has arthritis and has enough pain that it doesn’t want to walk to the elimination area, use chondroprotectives such as 1-800-PetMeds Super Joint Enhancer, Missing Link with Glucosamine, and Glyco-Flex. If your veterinarian prescribes them, you can also give your pet nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, (NSAIDs), such as Rimadyl (Rx) and EtoGesic (Rx). We want your pet to walk to the elimination area without pain.

How is exercise your ally in housebreaking a puppy or dog?

Exercise stimulates muscle contraction. Muscle contraction helps propel material through the intestines. Expect pets—especially puppies—to need to eliminate shortly after exercise. It’s wise to put exercise periods into the housebreaking schedule.

How long should I wait if my pet won’t eliminate?

10-15 minutes. If it’s a “no go,” put your pet in its crate for 15-20 minutes. Then, return to the elimination spot. Relax so that you don’t communicate that you are in a hurry for the pet to perform. Praise it for eliminating.

My pet goes to the door like it wants to eliminate, but when we go outside, it doesn’t go potty.

Two factors commonly cause this: insufficient outdoor playtime and edible treats as rewards.

1. Re-evaluate how much playtime your pet is getting. Is your pet telling you that it’s not enough and it wants more time outdoors? If so, schedule longer playtime or take your pet to doggie day care.

2. Do you give your pet edible treats when it eliminates, so that it learned to go to the door and outside to tell you it wants a treat? If so, stop using edible treats to reward elimination. Pets enjoy praise and petting as rewards too.

Urge-to-action interval

In puppies, the time from the urge to the action is short. They have the urge to eliminate, sniff, circle, and act. This urge-to-action interval increases with physical maturity. It shortens again in sick pets, and in confused, older pets.


The articles here were answered by a variety of pharmacists and veterinarians
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  • A puppy wants to eliminate when it circles and sniffs the floor
  • Devote one week to potty training and it will pay off the rest of your pet's life
  • Housebreaking a puppy or a dog is teaching your pet to eliminate outdoors
  • Paper training is not the first step to housebreaking
  • Housebreaking a puppy or dog should begin as soon as the pet enters the house
  • Treat pets like you would a two-year-old: be kind, show them what you want, don’t yell, use positive reinforcement. If you wouldn’t do it to a baby, don’t do it to your pet
  • Exercising helps stimulates muscle contraction and makes the puppy want to eliminate
  • Pet Organics No-Go Housebreaking Aid
     Calming remedies:
  • HomeoPet Anxiety Relief
  • Comfort Zone D.A.P
     Urine odor removers:
  • Get Serious
  • Shampoo
     Learning facilitators:
  • Missing Link
  • Lipiderm
  • 3V Caps
  • Derm Caps
  • 1-800-PetMeds Brite Coat XS
    This information is for educational purposes only and is intended to be a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise and professional judgment of your veterinarian. The information is NOT to be used for diagnosis or treatment of your pet. You should always consult your own veterinarian for specific advice concerning the treatment of your pet.

    The information about medications is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, allergic reactions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for your pet. It is not a substitute for a veterinary exam, and it does not replace the need for services provided by your veterinarian.

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