Potty training is something I get asked about daily (even before I got a puppy). It’s important to remember your 12-16 week old puppy does not have full control over holding their bladder at this age. When they have to go you have a small window to get them to the right spot before it happens! For me, potty training breaks down into 4 simple steps.
1. Limiting Freedom.
2. Frequent Potty Breaks.
3. Consistent Schedule.
For the entire first week I had my puppy he was on a leash UNLESS he was in his playpen. There was no wondering off down the hall or sneaking behind the couch or under the kitchen table (frequent accident spots for most puppies
) I kept my eyes on him CONSTANTLY. And if I was too tired to do so, I put him in his play pen. The set up with the kennel/bed attached still teaches him to not go in his bed area and there is a pee pad down JUST incase he has an accident. Also while outside I found the leash helped keep him focused on the task at hand. Outside can be super distracting with all the sounds and sticks to eat, so having him confined to a smaller area was helpful to move him along.
Frequent Potty Breaks:
A 12-16 week old puppy SHOULD be able to hold their bladder around 3 hours. (1 hour for every month they are old) but that doesn’t mean your potty breaks should happen only every 3 hours. The theory is, the more accidents you prevent the quicker your dog learns! Create good habits! For your first couple weeks you may find going out every hour or two will prevent most accidents from happening. When you go outside for these potty breaks make sure to go to the same spot and try not to engage with your puppy too much. A simple “go potty” and wait. Once they go you can say “good potty” give a treat and go back in. If your puppy doesn’t go potty after a few minutes you may want to go inside and stand for another couple minutes and go back out to try again. Most accidents happen right after coming back inside because the puppy was SO excited to be out there to play they forget to pee
Having a consistent schedule could help you predict when your puppy needs to potty and also condition their bladders to need to go at certain times. One thing I did was get a notebook and log EVERY time he went to the rest room. (I included pictures of those in this post.) If you are struggling with accidents you may also want to log feeding times , water times, play and naps times, to see if you can find the trend of when your dog needs to go. You could do this in your notes app on your phone but I liked the notebook for myself. ~ If you plan on bell or button training your dog to ask, I would also start having them interact with that as they are going out the door or you ring the bell before you go out to help start conditioning as well. They may not use it on their own just yet but there’s no trouble in introducing it early!
Your puppy likely will not ASK to go outside at this age. You aren’t failing. You don’t suck. Your puppy doesn’t hate you lol Remember potty training a human toddler can be difficult and they speak English! Your puppy is new to the world and new to your home. Everything is fun and exciting to them. They may jump and bite the leash, try to eat sticks, or spend their entire potty break looking into the trees and it’s all normal. If they won’t go potty in the rain – condition a better response to rain! Feed them or play with them in the rain so they aren’t afraid of it anymore. If they keep going potty RIGHT after coming inside, take note of that. Bring them inside and then immediately take them back outside
it’s all insanity, but that’s potty training.
The more consistent you are now, the less time you will have to do this.
YOU”VE GOT THIS! This is something EVERYONE struggles with so don’t let it frustrate you. It’s all part of puppyhood! Need Help? Give us a call!
– Trainer Morgan