Approximately 68% of households, or about 85 million families, in the United States own a pet, many of which are puppies. This should come as no surprise as puppies often melt the hearts of anyone around and grow up to be great companions and, in many cases, a member of the family. But with all of that cuteness comes great responsibility. These furry friends also require attention, food and potty training, the latter of which is easier to do earlier in their life rather than later.
While there may be some households that have a responsible family member that can be at the dog's beck and call whenever the puppy shows signs of needing a potty break, this is not often the case for a majority of homes. Thankfully, working full-time does not automatically mean you cannot be a great puppy-owner who can effectively potty train their new furry companion.
Knowing the Basic Needs
First, it is important to understand the needs of the puppy. While your new companion is adorably cute to look at and take photos of, remember, it has basic necessities that need to be looked after as well. Often puppies have a lot of attention which shouldn’t be ignored. When you are around, go for walks, play with them and give them the companionship they are craving. Look at what is the appropriate food to be giving the pup and how often they should be fed. And start potty training as soon as you can. Puppies that are six months and younger may only last about three to four hours before having to relieve themselves. At this young age, they are still learning how to control their bladder and bowel movement for long periods of time.
Crate or No Crate?
Many dog owners will start their puppy in a crate as they are much easier to clean and are easy to carry. But this might not be the way to go for every new puppy owner. Another common option is to create a small gated space, roughly 3x5 feet, on an easy to clean floors such as the kitchen area where there is often vinyl or tiles. Line this area with numerous layers of the newspaper which will help make cleaning up their mess that much easier. By having a relatively small area, puppies will be discouraged from having any accidents as they prefer not to soil where they are living. Be careful though not to train the puppies to only soil on newspapers as this can sometimes be the case and it is something your puppy may take with them into adulthood.
Come up with a Routine
Similar to humans, puppies will benefit from having a routine. This is a helpful way for them to know when to expect bathroom breaks. An example would be to take them out for a walk, feed them and give them an opportunity to soil in the designated area before you head off to work. If you can, stop back off at home during lunch break and give them another bathroom break and a stretch of the legs, and then in the evening, spend more time with them, feed them and offer them another bathroom break before bed. This may need to be done more often when they are younger but see what routine works best for you and your pet. Dogs tend to be rather intelligent animals and will quickly stick to the schedule if you keep to it diligently.
To help speed up your puppy potty training, it is important that they are encouraged and guided in the right direction. Yelling at the pup won’t help matters and may even make them rebel against you. Rather, you should praise them and even offer treats whenever they relieve themselves in the designated bathroom area. Reinforce the good rather than dwelling on the bad. While you are outside, spend a few minutes playing with them as well.
Other Tips and Tricks
Always be on the lookout of signs that your pup may need to go to the bathroom. Some signs to look for are pacing and/or scratching at the door, whining or sniffing.
Avoid feeding your puppy right before you leave for work. They will most likely need a bathroom break within an hour after eating so keep that in mind when making your routine.
Invest in a good cleaner that you can use after the puppy has made an inevitable mess. While you may not be able to smell it, the puppy will and will aim to go back to the places they have done their duty before. Good cleaners are able to completely eliminate that odor.
Most importantly, enjoy your time with your new family member. All of your hard work of potty training them will be beneficial for both you and your puppy down the line.