Oops! I had another accident!

Whether you’ve just gotten a new puppy or you’ve adopted a dog from a shelter, you’re going to need to potty train your new furry friend.

Especially with young puppies, potty training can be a frustrating process, but we’ve got a few tips for you that should make it easier.

It is most important for you to realize that potty training your new family member is about consistency, a fair amount of patience and lots of positive reinforcement. Remember that it can take 4-6 months for a pup to be fully housetrained and in some cases up to a year. Smaller breeds tend to have smaller bladders and need more frequent potty breaks to avoid mistakes.

Most experts will recommend you begin actively potty training your pup when he is around 12 weeks old as he should have enough bladder control by that time to learn to hold it.

Take your pup to the same spot each tie to do his business. This will help him learn more quickly what’s expected of him. His scent, already in the area, will prompt him to go.

Positive reinforcement is sure to help him get the hang of this more quickly.

When you do start housetraining following these steps will make the process easier

1. Keep your pup on a regular feeding schedule and don’t free feed him. Knowing when he ate will make it easier for you to predict when he will need to be taken outside to do his business.

2. Take the puppy outside first thing in the morning and then every 30 minutes to an hour after that. Also, take him out anytime he wakes up from a nap or has eaten a meal. Last, sure he gets a potty break just before you put him in bed for the night as well.

3. Take your pup to the same spot each time to do his business. His scent will already be there and will prompt him to go. It will also cut down on the time you have to take cleaning up after him since all his potty business is being done in the same area.

4. Stay with him when you take him out so that you are able to reward him for a job well done. Its very important to reward immediately until he is fully housetrained. Positive reinforcement is sure to help him get the hang of this more quickly.

5. A crate can also be a useful tool for housetraining. Puppies do not want to eliminate where they sleep so keeping your pup in his crate when you can’t be with him will cut down on accidents in the house. If you don’t like the idea of keeping your pup crated, perhaps tether him to your belt loop so that he is near enough you can catch him if he starts to make a mistake.

With all these tips in hand you should be off to a good start with potty training however, its important to know that accidents and set backs are common when housetraining a pup. Some other things to keep in mind are these:

First, punishing your pup for having an accident is a big NO NO. You’ll only be scaring him and making it more confusing and more likely that he will have future accidents. If you find evidence of an accident but didn’t see it happen you cannot react angrily or rub his nose in it. Puppies aren’t capable of connecting your angry reaction to their accident and your reaction can cause your pup to fear you.

Next, IF you catch him in the act, make a loud noise to distract him. Then take him immediately out to his designated potty spot and then praise him lavishly when he finishes the job.

Last, be sure to clean up any accidents with an enzyme based cleaner. This will get rid of the lingering odor and make a repeat accident less likely.

Like anything you want your puppy to learn, it’s important to remember learning takes time and training takes patience (sometimes a LOT of patience) and consistency. Your pup won’t be housetrained overnight but with consistent effort on your part and positive reinforcement, you’ll be on the road to an accident free house and a well trained pup!