How to Potty Train a Jack Russell Terrier

Medium
1-4 Weeks
General

Introduction

You’ve barely had a minute to stop and take a breath since you brought your Jack Russel Terrier home. He’s certainly lived up to their reputation for being energetic, fearless and intelligent. It’s fair to say he loves charging around the house and playing with you all. In fact, he loves it so much he doesn’t even want to leave to go to the toilet. Now you knew toilet training him was going to have to take place, but you didn’t realise quite how many accidents you would have to clean up in the meantime. 

Potty training your Jack Russel Terrier is essential. Firstly, you don’t want to have gingerly take your first few steps into the kitchen each morning in case you’re going to step in an accident. You also don’t want your young children or other pets coming into contact with any harmful bacteria.

Defining Tasks

Fortunately, potty training your Jack Russel is relatively straightforward, it just takes persistence. The first thing you need to do is get him into a consistent routine. Once you have done that, you just need to reinforce training with incentives. Like most dogs, Jack Russel Terriers have a soft spot for anything they can eat. So food will play an important role in training.

If he’s a puppy he should be a fast learner and eager to please. As a result, you could see progress in just a few days to a week. However, if he’s older and had years of going to the toilet wherever he wants, then you may have your work cut out for you. It could be several weeks until training is complete. Get this training right, however, and you won’t have to worry about taking him to friends' and families' houses again.

Getting Started

Before you can start training, you will need to collect a few bits. The first thing to do is find a close-by potty spot. You need to be able to get there easily throughout the day.

Then you will need to stock up on tasty treats or break his favorite food into small pieces. A clicker will also be required for one of the methods below.

Once you have all that, just bring patience and some antibacterial spray, then work can begin!

The Routine Method

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Step
1
Meal times
You need to feed him his meals at the same times each day. This will get his body clock into a regular routine. You can then predict when he is likely to need the toilet and take him out accordingly.
Step
2
Keep his water topped up
It is also important you keep his water bowl topped up. Just like the step above, this will help get him into a regular routine of going for a pee. If he’s dehydrated his toilet habits will be unpredictable.
Step
3
Morning toilet
As soon as he's up in the morning, head outside to the potty location with your Jack Russel. Then, once you have fed him his breakfast, secure him to a leash and take him out again. If he is always outside when he needs to go, he will naturally get into the habit of going to the toilet outside. If he knows he will get to go each morning, he will also find it easier to hold it at night.
Step
4
Lunch time potty visit
When lunch time comes, secure him to a leash and take him back to the potty. If he knows he will get to go each lunch time, holding it in the morning will be much easier.
Step
5
Evening potty time
Once he has had dinner, wait 15 to 20 minutes or so and then take him out to the toilet again. You may also want to take him out again before bed. In fact, if he’s a puppy he may need to go out at several other points throughout the day. The logic to this technique is straightforward, if he’s always at the potty when he needs to go, he will quickly get into a habit of only going there.
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The Verbal Cue Method

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Step
1
‘Potty time’
Take him out to the potty regularly each day. Wait until he’s just about to go or going and then give a ‘potty time’ command. Jack Russel Terriers can learn hundreds of different commands, so you can use any word or phrase you like. Give the instruction in a playful, upbeat tone.
Step
2
Turn around
When he’s going about his business, try not to stare. This will only make him feel uncomfortable, so turn away and try to give him some privacy.
Step
3
Reward
As soon as he’s finished his business, go over and give him a generous reward. You can give him treats, verbal praise and even play with a toy. The happier he feels, the more likely he is to repeat the behavior again.
Step
4
Click
A clicker is a fantastic way to communicate with your Jack Russel Terrier. Simply click whenever he behaves correctly or performs a trick as you would like, then offer him a treat. Used correctly, this can speed up the learning process. So click and treat once he’s been to the potty.
Step
5
Consistency
Now practice using your command every time you take him out to the potty. After a while, your instruction will be a trigger that automatically makes him need the toilet. You can then use it whenever you want to take him out or need him to go. Then once he’s fully got the hang of it, you can gradually phase out the treats.
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The Attractive Potty Method

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Step
1
Same spot
Make sure you take him to the same spot each day. If he’s been there before he will feel more relaxed and likely to go there again. Also, try and choose somewhere that is relatively close and not too busy.
Step
2
Yesterday’s potty
If he seems nervous and unsure about going, wipe some of yesterday’s toilet visit down in your chosen potty spot. If he can smell he’s already been there, he’s much more likely to go there again.
Step
3
Privacy
Make sure you look away and give him some privacy when he is going about his business. Jack Russell Terriers may seem confident, but just like humans they like having some privacy during such moments.
Step
4
Reward
Make sure he always gets a generous reward when he’s gone to the toilet where you want him to. Do this consistently and he will begin to associate going to the potty outside with positive consequences. This is precisely the incentive he needs to make it habit.
Step
5
Clean up accidents
It is important you clean up any accidents thoroughly. In fact, use antibacterial spray. If he can smell he’s used that spot as a toilet before he’s more likely to have another accident there again.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Bruno
Jack Russell Terrier
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Bruno
Jack Russell Terrier
3 Months

He keeps peeing inside the house

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Question
Thor
Jack Russell Terrier
6 Months
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Question
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Thor
Jack Russell Terrier
6 Months

Hi, we have had Thor since he was 8weeks old. Since day dot we have taken him outside to go to the toilet when home. In the first few weeks of having him we got him to use puppy pads in our ensuite as I didn't want him roaming the house yet.

When I wake up at 6am I take him outside to go to the toilet. When I do I always say 'go to the toilet' then before I leave for work at 8:20 I take him out again as he will usually have something to eat. When my husband or I get home we take him outside straight away and tell him to 'go to the toilet'

We have used treats, take him out after meals, take him out after playing and he still manages to do his business inside.

In the last couple of months he has started to pre infront of the back door but always seems to poo Infront of the guest toilet (we have a male house mate that uses that toilet) I think he is kind of getting it but not quite so we started to teach him to ring a bell as he doesn't let us know when he needs to go.

I know he is only 6 months but is this normal or is there more that we have to do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
621 Dog owners recommended

Hello, After this amount of time, accidents that frequently are not normal. Which means it's time to try something new training wise. Although it's not normal as far as how the training is working, know that you certainly aren't alone in this struggle! I suggest getting very strict with tethering pup to yourself with a hands-free leash or placing pup back into the crate whenever they go outside but don't go potty while there - this also means that you need to go with them to watch whether they go even if you have a fenced in yard, right now. After you put them back into the crate, take them potty again in an hour. Repeat this every hour until they do go potty outside. Reward with several pieces of kibble, one piece at a time, after they go potty. Continue using your go to the toilet command. Pup should be given no more than 3 hours of freedom between potty trips - after 3 hours, either take pup potty or return them to the crate or tether them to yourself for another 1-2 hours, until the next potty trip. Know that at six months, even under ideal circumstances pup won't be able to hold his bladder for longer than 6-7 hours during the day. Pup will only be motivated to hold it that long while in a crate also. When you are home, pup should be taken outside every 3-4 hours - or sooner if he indicates he needs to go sooner. At six months of age, pup should be crated whenever you are not home to encourage them to keep the home to clean and prevent destructive chewing. You can give pup a dog food stuffed hollow chew toy, like a Kong in the crate for entertainment. Clean up all new and previous accident spots (that you know of), with a cleaner that contains enzymes, to fully remove the pee and poop smell. Only enzymes will completely remove the smell. Even bleach will not. Look on a pet cleaner bottle for the word enzyme or enzymatic - not all cleaners or pet cleaners-even contain it - and it's a must. Also, avoid using ammonia containing products in those areas - because ammonia smells like urine to a dog. Since the toilet and door are spots where pup seems to go often, don't give pup freedom in those areas - use baby gates as needed right now. Pup may be marking the toilet opposed to needing to pee there, because of the cat. The accidents need to stop as best as possible for forward progress with potty training to happen. Know that potty training is defined as a dog holding it between scheduled potty trips. It takes most dogs several more months to learn to tell you when they need to go - opposed to them just holding it until you initiate the potty trip. Teaching pup to ring a bell to go outside can help speed that process up, but do not depend on pup to tell you yet - that's not to be expected at this age with most dogs. Pup needs to be accident free for at least 3 months (due to your careful management, schedule and training) before he will probably begin to start telling you when he needs to go out. If pup does begin to squat, circle, or sniff to go potty and you see him doing it, clap loudly three times, then quickly rush pup outside without saying anything. As soon as pup goes potty outside, all is forgiven though. Don't punish pup after the fact or rub their nose in it. Preventing accidents to begin with is by far the most effective thing to do, but if it happens anyways clapping can surprise pup to stop it so that you can get them outside. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Max
Jack Russel n doxin
8 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Max
Jack Russel n doxin
8 Months

I have had him since mid November. He has an in door potty area he accesses via a doggy door. Not sure if prior owner ever trained him.
He will use the potty room 90% of the time but also will randomly go in other areas of the house including on my bed.
Not sure how to prevent it. When I show him if I don't catch him in the act and say naughty he goes to his kennel.
Very frustrating

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
621 Dog owners recommended

Hello Peggy, First, know that disciplining with potty training is only effective if you catch pup mid-squat. Pup will know you are upset about something but won't learning anything from discipline after he has already peed - he will associate the discipline with whatever he is doing right at that second. Potty training is all about encouraging a dog's natural desire to keep a space clean so preventing accidents has to be a huge part of the picture to help pup create a long-term cleanliness habit he will want to maintain eventually. This means that pup needs to be crate trained. Whenever you cannot supervise or he hasn't gone potty within the last 1.5-2 hours (ensuring his bladder is empty), he either needs to be attached to you with a hands free leash (a carabiner can make any 6-8 foot leash hands free), or in his crate. Some dogs have pee accidents because they are marking to spread scent. If you have reason to believe that's a cause, purchase a belly band - which is like a dog dog diaper that just covers that area like a sling, and have him wear that around the house as well. Anytime you see him marking, mid-leg lift, clap loudly three times then rush him outside. As soon as he potties outside, all is forgiven. Check out the crate training and tethering methods from the article linked below. Since pup is mostly potty trained, I suggest going back to the basics with pup for 2-3 months to encourage that cleanliness habit. When you are gone, also confine pup close to where the doggie door is instead of giving him the entire house to roam or crate pup while away if you aren't gone for more than 8 hours. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside 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 him. Make sure the crate is only big enough for him to turn around, lie down and stand up, and not so big that he 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 smell and remaining smells encourage the dog to potty in the same location again later. The method I have linked from the article above was written for younger puppies, since your dog is older you can adjust the times and take him potty less frequently. I suggest taking him potty every 3 hours when you are home. After 1.5-2 hours (or less if he has an accident sooner) of freedom out of the crate, return him to the crate while his bladder is filling back up again until it has been 3 hours since his last potty trip. When you have to go off he should be able to hold her bladder in the crate for 5-8 hours - less at first while he is getting used to it and longer once he is accustomed to the crate. Only have him wait that long when you are not home though, take him out about every 3 hours while home. After pup has had the initial refresher course, you may also need to limit his access to the rest of the house for a while at times other than right after he pottied outside, confining him to the section of the house that is close to the doggie door to help him remember to use that to go potty. Go with him outside at first when you are home and reward with a treat after he goes so that he is more motivated to potty outside also. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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