How to Potty Train a Cairn Terrier Puppy

How to Potty Train a Cairn Terrier Puppy
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon3-6 Weeks
General training category iconGeneral

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. 

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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.

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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.

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The Crate Method

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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.

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.

3

Plenty of praise

When your pup relieves himself, be sure you praise him and give him a treat in the designated area.

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.

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.

The Fast and Easy Method

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Potty on the Spot Method

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Written by PB Getz

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 02/19/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Chica

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Cairn Terrier

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Ten Months

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Question

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We have a big yard where she can play and run around. She and our other dog, 5 yrs stay outside for hours at a time. She will come in and pee, even when she has peed outside. What can i do?

Oct. 31, 2022

Chica's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello, You will need to crate train her for potty training. Dogs have a natural desire to keep a confined/den space clean. The goal with potty training is to tap into that natural desire, then help them generalize that confined space to the rest of your home by keeping the rest of your home clean also overtime, until keeping things clean becomes a long term habit. To facilitate that you have to help pup keep the home clean by limiting their freedom only to times when you know their bladder is empty. The crate is often the easiest way to do that, especially for older dogs who are having a harder time making that connection. Once pup is doing better you can also use a hands free leash part of the time when you want them to be out of the crate but they aren't 100% empty from pottying outside in the last 1.5 hours. Check out the Crate Training method from the article linked below. Make sure that the crate doesn't have anything absorbent in it - including a soft bed or towel. Check out www.primopads.com if you need a non-absorbent bed for her. Make sure the crate is only big enough for her to turn around, lie down and stand up, and not so big that she can potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it. Dogs have a natural desire to keep a confined space clean so it needs to be the right size to encourage that natural desire. Use a cleaner that contains enzymes to clean any previous or current accidents - only enzymes will remove the small and remaining smells encourage the dog to potty in the same location again later. The method I have linked below was written for younger puppies, since your dog is older you can adjust the times and take her potty less frequently. I suggest taking her potty every 3 hours when you are home. After 1.5 hours (or less if she has an accident sooner) or freedom out of the crate, return her to the crate while her bladder is filling back up again until it has been 3 hours since her last potty trip. When you have to go off she should be able to hold her bladder in the crate for 5-7 hours - less at first while she is getting used to it and longer once she is accustomed to the crate. Only have her wait that long when you are not home though, take her out about every 3 hours while home. You want her to get into the habit of holder her bladder between trips and not just eliminating whenever she feels the urge and you want to encourage that desire for cleanliness in your home - which the crate is helpful for. Less freedom now means more freedom later in life. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If she is not already used to a crate expect crying at first. When she cries and you know she doesn't need to go potty yet, ignore the crying. Most dogs will adjust if you are consistent. You can give her a food stuffed hollow chew toy to help her adjust and sprinkle treats into the crate during times of quietness to further encourage quietness. If she continues protesting for long periods of time past three days, you can use a Pet Convincer. Work on teaching "Quiet" but using the Quiet method from the article linked below. Tell her "Quiet" when she barks and cries. If she gets quiet and stays quiet, you can sprinkle a few pieces of dog food into the crate through the wires calmly, then leave again. If she disobeys your command and keep crying or stops but starts again, spray a small puff of air from the Pet convincer at her side through the crate while saying "Ah Ah" calmly, then leave again. If she stays quiet after you leave you can periodically sprinkle treats into the crate to reward her quietness. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Only use the unscented air from the Pet Convincers - don't use citronella, it's too harsh and lingers for too long so can be confusing. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Nov. 1, 2022

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Pepper

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Cairn Terrier

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12 weeks

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How can we stop her from nipping?

Aug. 1, 2022

Pepper's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Bite Inhibition" method. BUT at the same time, begin teaching "Leave It" from the "Leave It" method. As soon as pup is good as the Leave It game, start telling pup to "Leave It" when she attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if she makes a good choice. If she disobeys your leave it command, use the Out command from the second article linked below to make her leave the area as a consequence. The order or all of this is very important - the Bite Inhibition method can be used for the next couple of weeks while pup is learning leave it, but leave it will teach pup to stop the biting entirely. The Out method teaches pup that you mean what you say without being overly harsh - but because you have taught pup to leave it first, pup clearly understands that you are not just playing (which is what pup probably thinks most of the time right now), so it is more effective. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the area, is also a good command for you to use if pup bites the kids. Check out the section on Using Out to Deal with Pushy Behavior for how to calmly enforce that command once it's taught. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Another important part of this is puppy learning bite inhibition. Puppies have to learn while young how to control the pressure of their mouths - this is typically done through play with other puppies. See if there is a puppy class in your area that comes well recommended and has time for moderated off-leash puppy play. If you can't join a class, look for a free puppy play group, or recruit some friends with puppies to come over if you can and create your own group. You are looking for puppies under 6 months of age - since young puppies play differently than adult dogs. Right now, an outside class may be best in a fenced area, or letting friends' pups play in someone's fence outside. Moderate the puppies' play and whenever one pup seems overwhelmed or they are all getting too excited, interrupt their play, let everyone calm down, then let the most timid pup go first to see if they still want to play - if they do, then you can let the other puppies go too when they are waiting for permission. Finding a good puppy class - no class will be ideal but here's what to shoot for: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/puppy-classes-when-to-start/ When pup gets especially wound up, she probably needs a nap too. At this age puppies will sometimes get really hyper when they are overtired or haven't had any mental stimulation through something like training. When you spot that and think pup could be tired, place pup in their crate or an exercise pen with a food stuffed Kong for a bit to help her calm down and rest. Practicing regular obedience commands or having pup earn what they get by performing commands like Sit and Down before feeding, petting, tossing a toy, opening the door for a walk, ect... can also help stimulate pup mentally to increase calmness and wear them out. Commands that practice focus, self-control, and learning something a bit new or harder than before can all tire out puppies. Finally, check out the PDF e-book downloads found on this website, written by one of the founders of the association of professional dog trainers, and a pioneer in starting puppy kindergarten classes in the USA. Click on the pictures of the puppies to download the PDF books: https://www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads/ Know that mouthiness at this age is completely normal. It's not fun but it is normal for it to take some time for a puppy to learn self-control well enough to stop. Try not to get discouraged if you don't see instant progress, any progress and moving in the right direction in this area is good, so keep working at it. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Aug. 2, 2022


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