How to Potty Train a Cairn Terrier Puppy

Medium
3-6 Weeks
General

Introduction

Of all the many things you will teach your new Cairn Terrier to do in his lifetime, potty training should be the first and most important. The last thing anyone wants to continue dealing with is a dog who doesn't understand that the only place he is allowed to go potty is outside. One thing many new "puppy parents" tend to do is think they need to wait to begin potty training. On the contrary, you need to start working on this training from the moment you bring your new Cairn Terrier puppy home. 

Defining Tasks

The task is in and of itself, relatively simple in nature. You want your new puppy to learn how to let you know he needs to go outside and that at no time is it ever acceptable for him to go potty in the house. Cairn Terriers are by nature very intelligent pups who tend to learn quickly. Providing you remain consistent in your training efforts, by the time your pup is six months old, he should no longer be making messes inside that you have to clean up.

Getting Started

There are only a few things you need to get started potty training your Cairn Terrier. You need to have a spot in your yard that your pup will use as his personal bathroom. One word here, be sure you keep this spot cleaned up or he may start going in other spots. The only real supplies you need are:

  • Cleaning supplies – To clean up any messes.
  • A crate – For when you need to leave your pup alone and for training purposes.
  • A leash – To take your pup out into the yard.
  • Treats – For when he gets things right.

Beyond this, you need the time to work with your pup on a consistent basis and the patience to see it through until your pup no longer feels the need to go potty in the house.

The Crate Method

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Step
1
The crate
Start by choosing a training crate for your pup. You need one that is big enough for him to stand up, lie down, and turn around in.
Step
2
Relief
Take your pup outside every four hours (every two hours for those under 12 weeks of age) and let him take care of business.
Step
3
Plenty of praise
When your pup relieves himself, be sure you praise him and give him a treat in the designated area.
Step
4
No punishment
Never punish your pup for getting it wrong, accidents are going to happen during the training phase. Chances are he tried to tell you and you just didn't make the connection in time. Clean up the mess and keep working with your pup.
Step
5
Keeping an eye out
Keep an eye out anytime your pup is loose in the house. At the first sign of him thinking about going potty, leash him up and take straight out to his "potty" so that he can take care of business. As he gets older and you work with him, he will learn to "go" outside and not make messes in the house.
Recommend training method?

The Fast and Easy Method

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Step
1
Take one crate
Start out with a crate that is just big enough for your pup to stand up in, lay down in, and stretch out in. Be sure it's not too big or he might be tempted to use one corner as a potty.
Step
2
Well-placed
Choose a spot for the crate where your pup will still be able to feel as though he is part of the family. This should also be in a location where you can keep an eye on him.
Step
3
Watch and wait
Keep a close eye on your pup for any signs that he might want to go outside. These might include barking, whining, crying, or maybe sniffing and scratching at the floor.
Step
4
Lots of praise
Each time you take him outside and he goes potty, be sure to praise him and give him a treat. Repeat this action several times a day, each time he doesn’t "go" outside put him back in his crate. Then try again in a few minutes. It won't take him long to get the idea that he when he needs to go potty, he needs to let you know.
Step
5
From here to eternity
The rest is all about spending time with your pup reinforcing the training you have been putting him through until he no longer messes in the house. Be sure to use lots of praise and treats to let him know he is doing a good job.
Recommend training method?

The Potty on the Spot Method

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Step
1
Set your schedule
Your pup needs strict routines when it comes to certain things, one of which is going potty at first. His first potty training step is for you to set up a routine or schedule--one which you and your pup must follow religiously if you want it to succeed.
Step
2
Grab some spray
Run out to your local pet store and pick up a spray bottle of potty training solution. This stuff is great, it attracts your pup to the area that you spray and also encourages him to go potty.
Step
3
Enter one Cairn Terrier pup
Time to hook your pup up to his leash and take him out to this newly marked patch of ground. Give him 15 minutes to go potty and if he doesn't, take him inside. Give him a few minutes and try again.
Step
4
Times to take him straight out
There are a few days when you need to take your pup out immediately. When he starts to look like he might be getting ready to go, first thing in the morning, after playtime, after meals and large amounts of water, and right before bed.
Step
5
Keep it going
Keep working on your training until your pup finally figures out that he needs to be doing his business outside and not in the house. Be patient, it will happen in good time.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Gunner
Cairn Terrier
6 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Gunner
Cairn Terrier
6 Months

My Cairn Terrier puppy is 5 1/2 months old and continues to have accidents. He may have them maybe three or four times a week. It’s always urine, never feces. I give him lots of praise when he does go outside; my question is should he be potty trained by now?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
112 Dog owners recommended

Hello Nancy, Some dogs, especially small dogs, do tend to take longer to potty trained. It is unlikely that he would never have another accident by 5 1/2 months, but it should be getting a lot better by now. The issue could be how much freedom he is being given. The more accidents that he has, the more successful trips outside it will take for to undo those accidents and for him to learn. This means that the more accidents you can prevent the quicker the training will go. I suggest crate training or attaching himself to you using a six or eight-foot leash. These two methods ensure that he cannot sneak off to pee. A combination of both methods is ideal sometimes. When you are home and want him with you, you can attach him to yourself by clipping his leash to your pants, and take him potty every two to three hours. When you cannot watch him, need to leave, or simply need a break, then put him into the crate with a wonderful food stuffed chew toy, so that he can entertain himself. In a crate that is the proper size, he should be able to hold his pee for five hours during the day since he is older. You can take him out every three hours while using a crate, to give him more opportunities to learn and to make him more comfortable though. After he pees outside, only give him two hours of freedom outside the crate. After that, put him back into the crate until it is time to take him back outside. This ensures that he is never free when his bladder could be full. Crate Training also helps prevent future separation anxiety, teaches him how to calm himself down, chew on his own toys when he is bored, and not bark if you give him a food stuffed toy to work on in the crate. Check out the article that I have linked below and the "Crate Training" and "Tethering" methods found there. You can do one of those or a combination of those. Also, start giving him four treats, one a time whenever he goes potty outside. The crate should be just give enough for him to turn around, lay down, and stand up. Too much extra space may encourage him to pee in there too if he can pee in one end and stand in the other end to avoid it. If your crate is larger, then you can block off the back section with a metal divider that comes with many crates or something else that he cannot chew up. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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