How to Potty Train a Shih Tzu Puppy

Medium
4-8 Weeks
General

Introduction

Potty training a Shih Tzu puppy takes time and patience. Your Shih Tzu actually started potty training while he was still in his den with his litter mates and his mother. Puppies learn very easy early on to separate their potty areas from their living quarters. So, this idea is not new for your Shih Tzu puppy. Potty training him now that he's in your home will consist of teaching him to tell you when he needs to go outside to go potty or showing him a place in the house where he could go such as a litter box or a pee pad, or even artificial pee-pee grass within your home because he's small. 

Once he knows where to go and how to get there, your Shih Tzu puppy can be conditioned rather quickly to go there to go potty. You can even bell train your puppy if you’d like him to ring a bell to let you know he needs to go outside. 

Defining Tasks

However you decide to potty train your Shih Tzu puppy, whether indoors or outdoors, it will require time, patience, and commitment to paying attention and being around to watch the signs that your pup needs to go potty. Setting your Shih Tzu up for success rather than failure will be key in making this a quick process for you both. Your Shih Tzu puppy can begin potty training as soon as he arrives in your home, however, he will get it easier the older he gets. You should remember that your puppy can hold his bladder for about one hour for every month he is old. So, if you are bringing home a 3-month-old pup, he can hold it for about 3 hours. Remember this when you are potty training during the day if you're out of the house for long periods of time and at night because he will interrupt your sleep to go potty.

Getting Started

To potty train your Shih Tzu puppy you will need to decide exactly where you need him to go. If you need to take him for a walk to go potty, you will need proper leash and harness or collar to keep him safe and secure while you are going outside to go potty. If you are taking him into a safe fenced-in backyard, consider the things you may need to prepare for a trip into the backyard in the middle of the night such as a pair of shoes for your cold feet. If you're going to train your Shih Tzu puppy to go potty indoors on a pee-pee pad or indoor grass or even a litter box, have all of this set up and ready to go before you start your training sessions. Of course, as with any training for your little guy, be sure to have treats handy so you can reward him for good behavior as he learns.

The Special Spot Method

Most Recommended
5 Votes
Step
1
Choose potty spot
Choose an area in your yard where you would like your Shih Tzu puppy to go potty every time he needs to go. This will protect other areas of your yard from urine damage and keep your yard clean and free of dog poo. Be prepared to keep this area as clean as possible so your pup wants to go here as he gets older.
Step
2
Time to go
Take your Shih Tzu to that special potty area every time you take him outside to go potty. Do not let him play in the area. Wait patiently and start using a command such as ‘go potty’ each time you take your puppy to that area.
Step
3
Timing
Your Shih Tzu puppy should be able to hold his bladder only about one hour for each month he is old. This means if your dog is three months old, he can hold it for about three hours. Avoid making him wait any longer to go outside.
Step
4
Upon waking
Each time your Shih Tzu wakes from sleep, take him to his special potty spot so he can go potty. Avoid playing in this area. Let him sniff and go potty, but once he is done, take him elsewhere for play.
Step
5
After meals
Be sure to take your Shih Tzu to his potty area after every meal. Again, this is not time for play, so avoid giving any attention or allowing him to play.
Step
6
Rewards
Any time your Shih Tzu goes potty in his special area, give him a treat. If he goes outside but not in his special area, you can still treat him, but try to make sure he makes it to the spot the next time. If your pup has accidents inside the house, redirect him by taking him to his special spot but do not treat him. Avoid scolding him for accidents, just be sure to get him to his spot on time next time. Be sure to set him up to succeed by taking him out often.
Step
7
Other areas indoors
This method works for special areas inside as well such pee pads or indoor grass. Be consistent and get your Shih Tzu puppy to his spot on time to go potty before having accidents elsewhere, know the signs he needs to go, and reward him for succeeding.
Recommend training method?

The Ringing Bell Method

Effective
1 Vote
Step
1
Introduce a bell
Show your Shih Tzu puppy a bell he will ring to let you know when he needs to go potty. Let him sniff the bell and ring it so he can hear what it sounds like. Once this introduction is done, give your little guy a treat.
Step
2
Hang the bell
Hang the bell near the door your Shih Tzu will use to get outside to go potty each time he needs to go.
Step
3
Show puppy the bell
Take your Shih Tzu to the bell and ring it for him. Sit on the floor and train your pup to ring the bell himself. Show him the bell and place a treat next to it. Your Shih Tzu should sniff the treat causing the bell to ring. When the bell rings, say a command you’d like your dog to know such as “bell” or even “potty.” Over time, he will connect ringing the bell with the action of getting outside to go potty.
Step
4
Practice
Keep practicing getting your Shih Tzu to ring the bell and give him a treat each time he gets the bell to ring. Eventually, stop holding a treat to the bell and only use the command you’ve been repeating. When he rings the bell, give him a treat.
Step
5
Potty bell
Once your Shih Tzu knows how to ring the bell, you’ll need to train him when to ring the bell and what he gets when he rings it. Get your puppy to ring the bell and once he does, open the door and let him outside. Do not give him a treat until he is outside.
Step
6
At certain times
Your Shih Tzu will likely need to go potty soon after meals, right after waking from sleep, and throughout the day a few hours after his last trip outside. Take advantage of these times and get him to ring his bell before letting him outside. For instance, after a meal, take your Shih Tzu right to the bell, have him ring it, take him outside, and once he goes potty, give him a treat. Do this anytime you think he needs to go potty.
Step
7
Sniff and circle
Any time you catch your Shih Tzu puppy sniffing in the house or circling, he is likely looking for a place to go potty. If you catch him doing these things before an accident indoors, get him outside quickly. If you have time to stop and have him ring the bell, do so. If you do not think you have time, you can ring it on your way out and still give him a treat for making it outside.
Step
8
On his own
Over time, with lots of practice with the bell and successful potty training, your Shih Tzu will likely start going to the door on his own to let you know he needs to go outside to go potty. If he is not ringing the bell on his own when he gets there, practicing ringing it before you let him outside. With practice, your Shih Tzu should ring the bell to let you know he needs to go outside.
Recommend training method?

The Crate and Potty Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Inside crate
If you are crate training your Shih Tzu puppy, be sure to take him outside to go potty each time you remove him from his crate. Make his crate a comfortable place to be with bedding and toys. Avoid placing any pee pads inside the crate.
Step
2
Every hour
While your puppy is getting used to the crate and you are learning more about him, take him out of the crate every hour to go potty. Once your Shih Tzu is about eight weeks old, he should be able to hold it for two hours. You can typically count on adding an hour for each new month of age as your Shih Tzu grows.
Step
3
Outside
Once your Shih Tzu puppy is outside, let him sniff around and explore. Do not let him play too much if your only goal is to go potty. If he is playing he probably doesn’t have to go just yet. Begin using words, commands, or key phrases your Shih Tzu will know later as a command to go potty.
Step
4
Potty success
When your Shih Tzu is successful and goes potty outside, give him verbal praise and a treat. Once he is done you can take him back inside for play time or cuddle time. Try to keep his time in the crate down to a minimum.
Step
5
After meals
Be sure to take your Shih Tzu puppy outside to go potty about five to ten minutes after he has eaten any meals. Make this happen before you place him back in his crate and also even if he has his meals in his crate.
Step
6
Out of crate
When your Shih Tzu is out of the crate for social or play time, keep an eye on him for signs he may need to go potty. He will sniff or circle if he needs to go. These actions might be incorporated into play time, so be sure to keep a close eye on him.
Step
7
In crate
When your puppy needs to be in the crate for extended periods such as when you are working or out of the house or during nighttime sleep, be sure to take him out in time to go potty. Remember your Shih Tzu puppy should be let outside to go potty every hour or two. If he’s older than three months, old, he might be able to wait up to three hours.
Step
8
Success
Remember to reward your Shih Tzu puppy with a treat each time he is successful and makes it outside without accidents. Try to stay on top of getting your Shih Tzu puppy out in time to be successful and make it without accidents.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Benito
Shih Tzu
4 Months
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Question
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Benito
Shih Tzu
4 Months

I started crate training him but ended up letting him sleep with my at night. He is a cuddler. I think he understands now that peeing and pooping is for outside. However, when he wants to go he just sits at the door. If I’m in the other room I don’t know he has to go and then he finds a place and goes there inside. I want to bell train him but I wonder.... if we are visiting a friend, other than taking him out regularly, do I always need to bring the bell with me and hang it at the door? Or will the dog eventually know to bark or make a noise at the door to let me know he has to go out?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
134 Dog owners recommended

Hello. What great success you have had with potty training! For now until he is about 9 months, I would carry a bell with you wherever you go. I know this may seem a bit ridiculous, but you don't want to set him back with potty training. And usually by 9 months, whatever skills they have as young puppies, will be pretty solidified.

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Question
Bella
shuh tzu
10 Weeks
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Question
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Bella
shuh tzu
10 Weeks

My dog is pooping outside but we are peeing inside. Also which kind of bell would u recommend with the bell train with our door?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
134 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Any bell on a string, or set of bells on a string will work fine. Anything long enough for your dog to paw at or touch with it's nose. Here is information on potty training, as well as crate training just in case you decide to use a crate to help with potty training. Potty training: Know Your Pup. As you spend time with your puppy, learn your puppy’s love language. Just as some people prefer gifts, touch, or time spent together, puppies can be the same way. Some puppies love praise or pets, while others prefer treats. As you get to know your puppy, consider what reward your puppy loves the most. Create a Daily Schedule. It is best to have a routine for your puppy. A schedule helps them understand when to eat, play, and “go to the bathroom.” Your puppy should go out frequently and the routine should be the same every time. When? Start the day by taking your puppy outside, and repeating based on age and ability. They should also go out after napping, chewing, playing, and within 10 to 15 minutes of eating. Although some puppies can sleep for seven hours, it is important to set an alarm and take your pup out during the night. When you do, don’t make a fuss about it. Quietly take them outside with minimal stimulation and light. Praise them if they go to the bathroom and gently return them to their bed or crate. You don’t want them to get stimulated and ready to play in the middle of the night! As you get to know your puppy, you will become aware of their individual habits. Click here to learn more about house training schedules for puppies. Where? Take your puppy to a specific area to urinate or defecate. Be consistent. You can create an area by using urine-soaked paper or bowel movements to help create an aroma to stimulate your puppy. How? Take your puppy out on a leash so they can focus on the desired activity. This will help prevent them from wandering off to play. Once your puppy is in the selected area, use your verbal cue, such as “Hurry Up,” “Poopies,” “Go tinkle,” or any phrase your puppy responds to. What? Know the signs that your puppy has to go to the bathroom. Every animal may have a different “I gotta go” gesture, which often include restlessness, sniffing around, circling, scratching at the door, barking, and, eventually, squatting. At the first sign that your pup has to go, calmly and quickly take them outside to their bathroom spot. Deal with Accidents. Accidents are a normal part of house training a puppy. What to Do If you see your puppy in the process of urinating or defecating inappropriately, calmly and quickly interrupt them in the act. Tell them to stop (either by a jarring sound or command), and immediately take them to an appropriate location for elimination. After your puppy goes to the bathroom, lavishly praise them and offer a treat. Thoroughly clean up accidents, so your puppy is not attracted to this area again. Create a consistent feeding and watering schedule. Depending on the age of your puppy, they will eat three to four times a day. A consistent feeding routine can create a regular bathroom schedule. Take away water about 2 hours before bedtime. Learn more about ideal dog schedules here. What NOT to Do Don’t punish your puppy when they have an accident. At that point, it is too late. When a puppy has an accident in the house and they walk away, within seconds they have already forgotten about what they did. Taking them to the scene of the crime and yelling and/or rubbing their nose in it does not help and, in fact, can harm your puppy! Supervise. The best thing you can do is to prevent accidents and the best way to do this is to supervise your puppy at all times. You can tether your puppy to your waist with a five or six-foot leash and carefully observe them for signs that they need to go to the bathroom. If you can’t supervise, then crate or confine your puppy. The more accidents your puppy has in the house, the more confusing it will be for them and this can delay house training. Reward, Reward, Reward. It is important to give your puppy a reward for their good behavior. This can be for commands such as sitting and coming to you, or for appropriately eliminating outside. In a puppy, a reward can be a couple kibbles of puppy food or a treat, such as a small piece of meat. The treat should be exciting for them and only available as a result of good behavior. Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog's age, temperament and past experiences. It's important to keep two things in mind while crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don't go too fast. Step 1: Introduce your dog to the crate Place the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Take the door off and let the dog explore the crate at their leisure. Some dogs will be naturally curious and start sleeping in the crate right away. If yours isn't one of them: Bring them over to the crate and talk to them in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is open and secured so that it won't hit your dog and frighten them. Encourage your dog to enter the crate by dropping some small food treats nearby, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If they refuse to go all the way in at first, that's OK; don't force them to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If they aren’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days. Step 2: Feed your dog meals in the crate After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding them their regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, place the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If they remain reluctant to enter, put the dish only as far inside as they will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed them, place the dish a little further back in the crate. Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat their meal, you can close the door while they’re eating. The first time you do this, open the door as soon as they finish their meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until they’re staying in the crate for 10 minutes or so after eating. If they begin to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving them in the crate for a shorter time period. If they do whine or cry in the crate, don’t let them out until they stop. Otherwise, they'll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so they'll keep doing it. Step 3: Practice with longer crating periods After your dog is eating their regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine them there for short time periods while you're home. Call them over to the crate and give them a treat. Give them a command to enter, such as "crate." Encourage them by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise them, give them the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to 10 minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time and then let them out. Repeat this process several times a day, gradually increasing the length of time you leave them in the crate and the length of time you're out of sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you mostly out of sight, you can begin leaving them crated when you're gone for short time periods and/or letting them sleep there at night. This may take several days or weeks. Step 4, Part A: Crate your dog when you leave After your dog can spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving them crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put them in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave them with a few safe toys in the crate. Vary the moment during your "getting ready to leave" routine that you put your dog in the crate. Although they shouldn't be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate them anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Don't make your departures emotional and prolonged—they should be matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give them a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don't reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to them in an enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low-key to avoid increasing their anxiety over when you will return. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you're home so they don't associate crating with being left alone. Step 4, Part B: Crate your dog at night Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night and you'll want to be able to hear your puppy when they whine to be let outside. Older dogs should also initially be kept nearby so they don't associate the crate with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with the crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer, although time spent with your dog—even sleep time—is a chance to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Potential problems Whining: If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether they’re whining to be let out of the crate, or whether they need to be let outside to eliminate. If you've followed the training procedures outlined above, then your dog hasn't been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from their crate. If that is the case, try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, they'll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at them or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you've ignored them for several minutes, use the phrase they associate with going outside to eliminate. If they respond and become excited, take them outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you're convinced that your dog doesn't need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore them until they stop whining. Don't give in; if you do, you'll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what they want. If you've progressed gradually through the training steps and haven't done too much too fast, you'll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again. Separation anxiety: Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won't solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but they may get injured in an attempt to escape. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counterconditioning and desensitization procedures.

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Leonardo
Shih Tzu
5 Years
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Leonardo
Shih Tzu
5 Years

My daughters Shih Tzu dig is 5 years old and still soils the house the owners aren’t consistent. I have a puppy I’m trying to house break . I’m going to stick to the advice you’ve given . Is it too late for my grand dog to be trained ?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
92 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I do not think it is too late for the grand dog. Show your daughter this guide; it has excellent tips: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside. Both the Crate Training Method and the Timing Method may help. Remember, dogs need to go out first thing in the morning, when they wake from a nap, after eating, when excited, and any other time they start to circle and sniff. Have your daughter wash the floors with an enzymatic cleaner as this is the only thing to completely remove the scent. We think that cleaning with a regular cleaner does the trick but the problem is, a dog's sensitive nose will still smell the scent of urine and feces, causing them to repeat the behavior. Good luck!

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Catie
Shih Tzu
3 Years
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Question
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Catie
Shih Tzu
3 Years

My dog is 3 years old, a Shih Tzu. She's a rescue from Puerto Rico. We got her October 3rd. I'm working on training her with the ring the bell with a treat. She is scared of the bell. I take her paw to ring bell and give her a treat and carry her outside to kennel or back yard. She is only 6 lbs. She does go out but tries to come in fast. She has a couple accidents. She pees in kennel. Starts whining so I bring in shortly after that she tries to do poop on our small carpet. She does not bark to go out.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
708 Dog owners recommended

Hello Joyce, First, 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. Check out the Crate Training article linked below for tips on how to get pup to go potty while outside - which makes accidents in the crate less likely. Also, be aware that a 4 month old puppy cannot hold her bladder for longer than about 4 hours during the day even in a crate. Any longer and she will be forced to have an accident - enough accidents and she will loose her desire to keep even the right size crate without something absorbent in it clean. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If you are still struggling after applying the above suggestions, then unfortunately pup may have already lost her desire to hold it while in a confined space. This commonly happens when someone accidentally teaches pup to do so by placing something like a puppy pad on one end of a larger crate or confining a pup in cage where they are forced to pee through wired flooring - like at a pet store and some shelters. There are rare dogs who simply do it anyway, even though nothing happened to teach that. In those cases you can try feeding pup her meals in there to discourage it but most of the time you simply have to switch potty training methods until she is fully potty trained - at which point you might be able to use a crate for travel again later in life. Check out the Tethering method from the article linked below. Whenever you are home use the Tethering method. Also, set up an exercise pen in a room that you can close off access to later on (pup will learn it's okay to potty in this room so choose accordingly). A guest bathroom, laundry room, or enclosed balcony - once weather is a safe temperature are a few options. Don't set the exercise up in a main area of the house like the den or kitchen. Tethering method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Use the Exercise Pen method from the article linked below, and instead of a litter box like the article mentions, use a real grass pad to stay consistent with teaching pup to potty on grass outside - which is far less confusing than pee pads (Don't use pee pads if the end goal is pottying outside!). Since your goal is pottying outside only use the Exercise Pen at night and when you are not home. When pup will hold her bladder while in the rest of the house consistently and can hold it for as long as you are gone for during the day and overnight, then remove the exercise pen and grass pad completely, close off access to the room that the pen was in so she won't go into there looking to pee, and take her potty outside only. Exercise Pen method: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Real grass pad brands - Also found on Amazon www.freshpatch.com www.doggielawn.com You can also make your own out of a piece of grass sod cut up and a large, shallow plastic storage container. I would also work on helping pup overcome their fear of being outside. Simply spend time outside for an hour at a time. Play treat hiding games, any games she likes like Tug of war, or simply sit outside and read calmly while she sits with you or explores on a long training leash - this is just a time of socialization to get her used to being outside. Ignore the whining, and try to keep things calm, fun, and your attitude confident and not pittying her - to help her feel calm and confident as well. For the bell ringing, I would wait until pup is fully potty trained - meaning that they consistently hold it between scheduled potty trips (without alerting on their own yet). Once pup reaches that point, a couple of months after being potty trained, they may begin to alert on their own. If they don't then you can either work toward desensitizing pup to the bell by continuing with the treats (once they aren't so afraid to go outside and the bell won't further deter them from wanting to potty train), or you can teach pup to run and get you when they need to go potty, by having pup com over to you while next to the door, receiving a treat, then opening the door to go outside. As pup improves, stand further away from the door, have pup come over to you for a treat, then walk to the outside door and let pup out - giving a second treat after they go potty outside. Once pup can run over to you from another room then go outside right after, begin only rewarding pup for running over to you, going outside, AND going potty - after they go potty only, and not when they run to you. Do continue to praise running to you to ask to go though, even once the treat is given after going potty only. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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pumpkin
Shih Tzu cross
8 Months
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pumpkin
Shih Tzu cross
8 Months

this dog has been kept in a yard in his previous home for the past 4 months,and he has come to my home for about 2 weeks now and he does not seem to have a regular plan for peeing.he was also suffering from urinary infection, which I took him to vet and he is getting antibiotics for that.
he pees different spots in the house and I have been unable to teach him to pee in the right place indoors. every time I take him to that spot he just lays down on the floor and would not react to the command of peeing. how can I teach him the right place to pee indoors?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
134 Dog owners recommended

Hi there! So you may want to train him to use potty pads. Here are some tips on potty pad training. Choose Your Spot Pick a space in your house where you want your dog to go. Obviously, you’ll want this spot to be a low-traffic area. Make sure this spot is easily accessible to your dog, and make sure the floor surface is linoleum or tile, as opposed to carpet. If your dog “misses,” it will be easier to clean up. If the only spot you can put the pee pad is a carpet, you might consider getting a small tarp to put underneath the puppy pee pad to guard against spillage. Choose a spot that is outside of your “smell zone.” An important tip to remember is to make sure not to let your dog decide the spot he likes. Not only might he pick an area you won’t like, but he’ll learn that he is in charge – not you – which can cause a host of problems down the line. Monitor Your Dog When you are potty training your dog, full-time monitoring is an absolute necessity. It’s impossible to correct bad behaviors if you don’t see them happen. Dogs have very short memories. It is important to catch your dog in the act. If your dog goes on the floor, and you try to correct him hours after the fact, he will be confused and upset, not knowing what he did wrong. This can hinder training and your relationship with your dog. Puppies, in particular, must be watched constantly. They have less control over their bowels and will go when they have to go. If you miss these moments, you lose precious training opportunities. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to be with your dog 24 hours a day, but try to spend more time at home during the weeks you are potty training – it will pay off in the long run. Learn Your Dog’s Schedule Dogs, for the most part, are predictable. They will go to the bathroom at predictable times. You should be able to learn when your dog has to go based on timing as much as on his signals. Take some time to study your dog’s bathroom habits. You’ll learn the amount of time after he eats or drinks that he has to go, and you’ll get in rhythm with his daily bathroom schedule. This will help you reduce accidents and speed up the potty training process. Studying your dog’s habits can also help you identify his bathroom “triggers” – like having to go after a certain amount of playtime. Once you learn your dog’s schedule, use it to your advantage in potty training. Bring him to the pee pad a few minutes before he normally goes, and encourage him. This will help him get used to going in the right spot, and help you establish repetition in your training. Choose a Command Word Dogs have keen senses – they respond to sight, smell, and sound. When you begin pee pad training, choose a command word and use it every time you take your dog to the pad. Just about any word will work. The tone of your voice is more important than the actual word. Try phrases like “go on” or “go potty” in a slightly elevated, encouraging tone. Make sure to repeat this same command, in the same tone, every time you take your dog to the pee pad. Avoid Punishment When your dog has an accident, it’s just that – an accident. When you punish your dog during potty training, he will become confused and scared. He doesn’t know what he’s done wrong, and can’t understand why the person he loves most is mad at him. Most importantly, it will not help his potty training. Positive Reinforcement Both human and dog behavior is largely based on incentives. Dogs’ incentives are very simple – they want to eat when they are hungry, play when they are excited, and sleep when they are tired. But the most important thing your dog wants in life is to please you. Use this to your advantage. Whenever your dog goes on his potty training pad, shower him with lots of praise. If he sees that he gets praise for doing his business on the pad, he will be incentivized to keep going on the pad – and he’ll be excited to do it! Potty training – whether it’s a pee pad or going outside – will take time, but if you do it right, can take less time. Many dogs are potty trained in less than two weeks. Just remember that you and your dog are partners. Do everything you can to help him learn the proper etiquette, and you will enjoy a long, quality relationship together. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Thank you for writing in.

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