You brought your furry bundle of joy home! Congratulations, now the potty training begins. This can be one of the roughest points of your relationship with your puppy. A dog that isn't housebroken will usually end up in a shelter; so this is critical to a puppy's training!
First things first, put your puppy on a schedule, and stick to it.
1.5 to 2 hours is a safe time to start with. Set an alarm and take your puppy outside on leash and wander until she goes, then praise her! Remember she is a baby. You know where human babies go #2? In diapers, that are super expensive and you have to be way more involved in clean up. Give your puppy some treats and let her know that you are so happy with what she did! Tip: puppies will have to go potty right after waking up from a nap, and after eating a meal. Plan accordingly.
Second thing, manage your puppy's area.
Don't give your puppy full run of the house; I like to keep young puppies limited to one room, contained in an ex-pen (exercise pen). This way she can play with her toys and if she does have an accident I can clean it up quickly. Keep a hot eye on your puppy at all times. If you can't, then she must go into a crate. There will be an entire post about crate training, but for now, make sure your puppy is tired and/or has something good to chew on while in the crate. Keep the crate sessions short, like if you have to take a shower or cook dinner, so she doesn't soil her crate. Tip: crate overnight. You will have to get up a couple times in the middle of the night, but the training will be worth it. (more on crate training later)
Third, accidents happen.
Watch for signs that your puppy has to go, sniffing, circling, etc, if you see these signs, run your puppy outside quick! Then praise if she goes outside. If you see your puppy start to go in the house, clap your hands or make a loud interrupting, high pitched noise. The goal is to startle the puppy enough that she stops in the middle of the act. You don't want to scare the puppy, because this could cause her to release her bowls! You don't want her to associate relieving herself in your presence to be a negative experience. She might start hiding to relieve herself, behind the couch is a great spot! Tip: stock up on carpet cleaner.
DO: keep things positive, and change the formula if necessary. Potty training can be frustrating, but try to keep positive. If your puppy regresses, take a step back for a couple of days. Cut back the time between potty breaks or crate time until you see success.
Don't: expect too much or rub their nose in it. Younger puppies, under 12 weeks, don't have full control of their bladders. They could be running around having a good time and then suddenly realize they gotta go, right now! Be aware of your puppies development and don't push them beyond their physical abilities. Rubbing their nose in poop will teach them nothing. They don't associate the punishment with the act of soiling the house, the only way to teach them is to praise them for going outside and interrupting her if she goes inside.
See you next week!