Mind your wees and poos
We need to think about a few things before we get straight into toilet training.
Where do we want our pups to go? Are you happy to have them go to a designated place in the garden? Would you prefer them not to toilet in the garden at all? Usually a sheltered spot in the garden can be handy, especially with a puppy needing night- time loo visits. Chosing the local park as being the only place you want your puppy going might be a little inconvenient, at 3am while it’s blowing a gale and you are in a dressing gown and slippers. If you have a suitable area just outside the garden this might be ok though. So, when you have decided where you want them to go, have a look at the surface, is it grass, gravel, concrete? This is important, as you want this to become your pups preferred toileting surface. They will already have a preferred toileting surface, depending on how they were raised by the breeder that could be grass, concrete, lino flooring or carpet!
Preferred Toileting Surface
This makes a huge difference to your puppy. Our now 3 year old Akita Keiko house trained very easily (it’s an Akita trait) it took about a week to be clean and dry both day and night, except when we left down a small carpet rug. Take your eyes off her for two seconds and she would make a beeline for it and immediately christen it with a golden flow. The solution of course was simple- take up the rug, and that was the problem solved. The reason she did it though is having been raised in a flat with carpets in the hallway. The hallway is near the only door in and out and the furthest place from her bedding. Carpet became her preferred toileting surface.
Another consideration is concrete, often kennels have concrete floors, if you plan on using an outdoor kennel, then you might think getting your pup used to concrete might be a good idea, right? Well perhaps, but most pavements are also made of concrete, you may not want your puppy shedding it’s load in the middle of the high street with a crowd of spectators. Personally, I prefer to teach my dogs to go on grass, even more so on grass right beside a poo bin.
So step one is choosing your place and surface. Some pups prefer some privacy when they go number two’s and will seek out a sheltered spot. You can use some garden screening to create a secure and private space to go.
Step two is setting up a routine, what goes in must come out so feeding at the same times each day can be a good predictor of when your pup will need to go out and can be adjusted accordingly to suit your lifestyle. Make main meals come immediately after their garden visit, if you want an especially speedy toileting on cue, let them see you prepare the meal before taking them out to their spot. Ask them to ‘get busy’ and as soon as they do run back for meal time.
Step three- set an alarm. In the early days when your puppy comes home you want to prevent as many toileting accidents as you can, that means taking pups out every 20-30 minutes to their toilet area. You can tell them ‘let’s go outside’, but no fun or attention, until they go, then it’s big praise and run back inside for a reward. For night time, stay close to the pups sleeping area so you can hear when they wake up and you can whip them outside. After a couple of nights you will have a good idea of how many times, and when they will need out. You can return to your own bed but start setting an alarm to go off ten minutes before your pup needs to go, keep night time toileting trips very low key, a whispered praise rather than a big fuss, you don’t want your puppy thinking night time is for playing.
Step four – Supervision think about getting a waist belt and having your puppy tethered to you for the first week they are home. You will prevent so many issues by this step alone. If you cannot be with your pupper all the time consider crate training.
Finally, it is important to recognise things are set puppy training back. Shouting or getting angry at a puppy that makes a toiletting mistake will only serve to make the puppy nervous about going to the loo with you around, you might just find yourself stuck outside with a puppy holding its bladder for as long as they can. If you do catch them in the act, quickly scoop them up and take them outside, so they can finish in the right spot. Don't make a huge fuss of cleaning up the area they have been. Using a dilute version of the detergent you use for your clothes means a familiar smell to them is there rather than something new that they might want to cover with their own scent.