Toilet training your puppy should start when they are 12 – 16 weeks old and it usually takes 4 to 6 months for them to be fully trained; it can take up to one year for some dogs.Decide where you would like your puppy to relieve himself in your garden, as this is the place that you should always guide your puppy to, during the training period. Puppies have small bladders and need to relive themselves up to a dozen times a day so, make sure to take your puppy outside to relieve him after any of the following:
- Immediately after waking up
- As soon as they have finished eating
- After playing
- After being in a crate
- Every couple of hours
Look out for tell-tale signs that your pup needs to go to the loo. He will circle, sniff the ground, whine or even scratch at the door. If you see any of this behaviour, take him outside immediately. It is important to stay with your puppy while he relieves himself in the dedicated place. Once he is done, praise him, fuss over him and have some fun.
The essential element of house training is positive reinforcement. Never punish your puppy or rub his nose in his mess. If you catch him in the act in the wrong place, clap loudly to indicate that he has done something wrong and then lead him gently outside to the correct spot; praise him when he does it correctly. If you find the evidence but do not catch him in the act, do not react angrily as your puppy doesn’t have the intellectual capability to connect your anger with the accident.
We recommend that while your puppy is still small you set your alarm for every few hours during the night, to take your puppy outside. After a few nights with no accidents, incrementally extend the time between night time toilet visits. When your puppy has relieved himself, calmly say “good boy” and give him a pat on the head. Don’t get over excited or fuss too much or your pup will learn to wake you in the middle of the night, just so he can have a party with you. Although it is difficult to get up through the night, especially when it is cold, your dedication will pay off in the end. Almost all puppies sleep through the night by the time they are 16 weeks with proper training and scheduling.
Very young puppies can start their training on newspaper or Puppy Training Pads if they aren’t yet ready for outdoors or if the weather doesn’t permit.