Dog potty training is a great way to prevent a dog from going to the bathroom in unwanted areas of your home or yard. It is one of the most important parts of dog ownership.

Potty training a dog is best done when your dog is still a puppy, since this is also when they are most impressionable. Puppies have a much easier time learning new commands, and will be relatively easy  to potty train (as long as it is done properly). If you are training an older dog then you might also want to read our guide to potty training an older dog.

Understanding how to train a dog to go to the bathroom in specific areas is essential to building a good relationship with your dog and should be done as soon as your dog becomes a member of your household.

Understanding how to train a dog requires that you have patience, since some dogs may need a bit of time before they are able to understand the rules of your household. When it comes to dog potty training, the most effective training program will utilize your dog’s natural instincts. Here are some general tips about how to toilet train your dog.

Be Patient

As stated before, not all dogs are able to learn at the same rate. Some dogs aren’t as able to recognize concepts and commands as other dogs. For example, a Beagle requires a verbal command to be repeated from 80 to 100 times before they can adequately connect it with a specific behavior. A Poodle, on the other hand, only requires that a verbal command be repeated from 5 to 10 times. Though proper dog training only requires your dog to understand the “concept” of going to the bathroom in a designated area (which is easier than connecting a verbal command to a concept), it still may take some time before your dog is able to be completely toilet trained.

Set a Routine

Setting a routine for your dog helps potty training and makes life with your dog much easier for you. Doing things in a set order day after day will help create a pattern of behaviour. You don’t have to be exact to the minute but feeding your dog at a regular time, taking them out to go to the toilet at a regular time, putting them to bed at a regular time and so on will help your dog understand what is expected of them.

Using a Crate

Crate training is the most popular way to potty train a dog. In crate training, you will be putting your dog in their crate on a set schedule each day. After leaving them in the crate for a period of time, take them outdoors so that they have the opportunity to go to the bathroom. If they do not go to the bathroom right away, put them back in their crate, and try again a bit later.

Clicker Training

When clicker training your dog, this method may also be used to help with potty training. Clicker training emphasizes positive reinforcement of good behavior with a specific sound, which is produced by a small clicking device. The idea behind the training is that this sound will encourage your dog to repeat this behavior, since it encourages rewards.

When potty training, give your dog a click (as well as a small treat) when they go to the bathroom in a designated area outdoors. By shaping your dog’s behavior with positive reinforcement, you are subsequently increasing your chances of being able to successfully potty train your dog.

Verbal Commands

Another effective way to help reinforce the idea of potty training for your dog is to use a verbal command. Decide on a verbal command that can be used to incite your dog to go to the bathroom. It can be “Do Your Stuff!”, “Go ahead!” or any other phrase that you choose. When your dog is going to the bathroom in the proper area, repeat the verbal command, giving your dog praise and a reward when they finish. This is a great way to teach your dog that obeying this command while in the proper area is good behavior, and will be rewarded.

Indoor Toilet Training

For convenience, there are now devices that can be used to encourage your dog to go to the bathroom while indoors. Depending on your budget, there are even “dog toilets” that can be connected directly to your home’s septic system. These devices often include a washable platform where the dog is able to go to the bathroom without tracking any waste inside the house. If this is something that you’re interested in, try doing a bit of research on the internet. With some shopping around, you may be able to find one for a fairly affordable price.

Building a Relationship

A lot of dog owners don’t connect the concept of potty training with building a quality relationship with their dog. However, in reality, teaching your dog to become potty trained is extremely important to your relationship with your dog. One of the most common reason why people become frustrated with their dogs is due to improper potty training. When a dog goes to the bathroom indoors, the natural reaction of a dog owner is to become extremely upset. However, in reality, dogs that go to the bathroom indoors are often improperly trained, which is usually the fault of the dog’s owner.


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