Need help with Toilet Training?

Toilet training for Puppies

Toilet training is the unglamorous side of puppy guardianship. It requires consistency and commitment from us humans.

The best place to start is to assume your pup knows nothing, so you won’t be disappointed when it comes to toilet training. Pups are not born knowing to go outside or to come and tell us when they need to go to the toilet. It is 100% our responsibility to TEACH our pups where we would like them to go to the toilet.

  • Inside or outside toilet areas

This depends on your lifestyle, type of home, and schedule.

  • Which toileting surface real or fake grass  

If your suburb has grass verges and parks, then real grass is the way to go. If you live in the inner city, with mostly concrete and or Astro, then go the astroturf.

Word of warning, it is normal for puppies to chew on real and fake grass, so make sure that the edges of whichever surface you choose are well protected.

  • Pens, crates, or baby gates

Whilst our pups are under 6 months, there is not much time between thinking they need to go to the toilet and going. This means the toilet area needs to be close by.

How close?

Within 2-3m at any time.

The idea is that our puppies don’t get access to the whole of the home but just the appropriate meterage from the toilet area, whilst they are learning.

But what if our pups have just peed and pooped, surely, they can be allowed out for some time? Yes, they can but HOW MUCH TIME? The big question.

 

Each puppy is unique so you can only know this from keeping data ;( Yep, we do need to keep track of what is happening. REALLY?

Yes, if you want to make it a fast and low mistake rate process.

Now the basic idea is

If your puppy is sleeping, they should be in a small area, super close to a toileting surface.

If your puppy is hanging out with their toys and learning to play by themselves then you need a larger area, but make sure that the toileting surface is the only other floor covering (textured surface) and there are no large objects such as furniture in the path to the toilet area.

Which leads to the question How often do puppies toilet when awake?

  • 8-10 weeks every 20-60 minutes
  • 11-14 weeks every 40 mins-2 hours
  • 15-17 weeks every 1.5-3 hours
  • 18+ weeks every 2-4 hours

But I can’t watch my pup all the time I have stuff to do “

This is where the dreaded pee pads can come in. I say “dreaded “since you can buy them in large quantities so instead of using one or two in an area, we become complacent and start to cover our whole house in pee pads.

It is essential that you teach your puppy to take themselves to the area you want them to pee on. Not picking them up and placing them on the desired surface. Or in the case of pee pads providing this as their only surface option. This creates an illusion of a puppy becoming toilet trained.

Whilst this seems a logical thing to do, it basically teaches our puppies to just stop and pee. Not to recognise that heavy feeling in their tummies and look for the surface to pee or poop on.

Whilst it can feel mean, to leave them in a smaller area, it will help them toilet train faster, which longer term will give them greater freedom in life.

 

 

Now wherever you leave your pup, it is normal they will explore, which means eating stuff. So skirting boards, cupboard edges, and wires will all get chewed. Let’snot blame our pups for the potential damage. Let’s set up our areas appropriately to avoid this by using appropriate pens, crates, and baby gates.

What happens if your pup is unhappy in their area ….  You need to stay with them in the area … they are like children in their needs for comfort in an unfamiliar environment.

*need help on this, check out https://www.clickertraining.com/separation-anxiety-when-alone-time-makes-your-puppy-panic

OKAY so we have the surface, we have the area all set up (if you have established these concepts, you will be able to take your puppy anywhere)

Let’s make a toilet schedule, charting successful habits

  • Keep your puppy on a rotating schedule of toilet, train, play, rest, sleep (in your crate/ bed/ small area) Rest and sleep are not the same thing! Think about all the rest you get on a long-haul flight and then think of all the sleep you would have preferred. Which one is conducive to a better you?
  • Keep your puppy supervised 100% of the time when they are not in a penned area … by supervision I am thinking lifeguard level supervision this is your job no multi-tasking.
  • Make sure your puppy is in the right spot at the right time … for example, your pups pee every 40 min and at 37 mins they are playing on your Persian rug!!!!!

To quote a training colleague

“Potty training is all about supervision, supervision and super vision with a sprinkle of management and scheduling in there.”

Letting your puppy have free roam of your home and hoping they work out where to pee and where to not, what to chew and what to not. Is like letting a toddler loose in a shopping mall and expecting them to make it back to the car on their own and at a set time.

They just don’t have the skills

 

 

Therefore, we use management like we use shopping trollies with kids. It is exhausting and time consuming, but this phase passes too.

 

 

To give you an idea of how busy life looks like with a puppy. Check this out

6am, Awake

Toilet time and reward generously

Play

6.15am Breakfast

6.35am Toilet time and reward generously

6.40am Hang out together, play and train

7am Rest and play with your toys on your own

Toilet time and reward generously

7.15am Move to sleep area

8.30am AWAKE Toilet time and reward generously

8.50am Hang out together, play and train

Toilet time and reward generously

9.30am rest and play with your toys on your own

MORNING TEA

Toilet time and reward generously

10am Move to sleep area

11.30am AWAKE Toilet time and reward generously

11.45am Hang out together, play and train

12.30 Toilet time and reward generously

12.45 FEED ME

Toilet time and reward generously

1pm rest and play with your toys on your own

1.30pm Move to sleep area

3pm AWAKE Toilet time and reward generously

3.15pmAfternoon tea

3.20pm Hang out together, play and train

3.30pm Toilet time and reward generously

3.40pm Rest and play with your toys on your own

4.10 Toilet time and reward generously

4.15pm Move to sleep area

5.30pm AWAKE Toilet time and reward generously

Hang out together, play and train

6pm Toilet time and reward generously

6.10pm Rest and play with your toys on your own

6.30pm Toilet time and reward generously

6.40pm Feed me

6.50pmToilet time and reward generously

7pm Move to sleep area

8.30pm AWAKE Toilet time and reward generously

8.40pm Hang out together, play and train

9 pm Toilet time and reward generously

Hang out together, play and train

9.45pmToilet time and reward generously

10pm BED for the night

 

YEP …. You have a full-time schedule. Enjoy it it does not last forever x

 

This schedule is just to give you an idea of the rotation and timing. I have based it on an 8–11week-old puppy. Don’t worry if your puppy sleeps more or goes longer between needing to toilet

Too much play, over tired bitey puppy. Too little food, hungry bitey puppy. Too much freedom. Toilet accidents. Too much time on their own.  Unhappy puppy.

Please reach out if you need help ….   We are here for you.

Email louise@letsgofido.com.au

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