Housebreaking a Puppy: 12 Tips for German Shepherd Puppy Potty Training
12 Tips for Potty Training a Puppy
Afraid to take an eye off your new puppy? Hoping that your carpets won't be ruined and your house won't stink? If you do your part, you can train your puppy quickly and successfully. I learned the hard way, but you can save your rugs by incorporating these methods:
- Designate a Location
- Create a Schedule
- Crate Train
- Help Them Succeed
- Note Distractions
- Understand Normal Behavior
- Choose a Command
- Read Body Language
- Reward Them
- Let Them Enjoy Being Outside
- Keep Track of the Treats
- Too Much Isn't a Thing
How Long Does It Take to Potty Train a Puppy?
Most puppies can learn to be fully potty trained by 4 months of age. If you want your dog to go to the bathroom indoors, paper train it—but that's not what this article is about. If you want your dog to be housebroken, follow these 12 tips for successful potty training.
The Hour-to-Month Rule
The rule of thumb is that a puppy can hold its bladder for 1 hour per month of age. So, a 2-month-old puppy, for example, can hold it for a maximum of 2 hours. This does not mean a 10-month-old can hold it for 10 hours!
Tip 1: Designate a Location
Decide where your puppy will go potty regularly. Yes, this is your choice. Pick an area and keep your puppy there. Once it goes in its corner of the yard, it can explore.
Tip 2: Create a Schedule
Always take your puppy outside after meals. I have fixed feeding times for my dogs, which is the only time food is available. Your puppy can adjust to eating on your schedule, and this lets you designate specific times when you will definitely be taking them out to potty. If your puppy is under 3 months of age, free-feeding them is still recommended. You should be offering 3 meals a day to puppies 3 to 6 months of age.
Tip 3: Crate Train
Crate train your puppy. Dogs don't like to potty in their living space. You can make expensive mistakes when buying a dog crate and a bed: Your puppy will go to the bathroom in its crate if it is too big.
The bottom of the crate needs to be a solid pan, and the bed should be machine washable and fast-drying. Big, thick pillows are the wrong choice and may simply get destroyed when boredom strikes.
Tip 4: Help Them Succeed
Always take your puppy outside when it wakes up or when you let it out of the crate to prevent accidents.
Video: How to Potty Train a Puppy
Tip 5: Note Distractions
Excitement distracts your puppy from giving signals that it has to go. When something unusual or distracting is occurring, take your puppy out more often.
Tip 6: Understand Normal Behavior
When your puppy whines, take it outside—unless it's in the crate. Whining in the crate usually means, "Let me out!" If your puppy has been crated for several hours, it likely is whining because it needs to potty.
Tip 7: Choose a Command
Teach your dog a command like "go potty." You will not regret it. It's tremendously helpful to use a command in the rain, at unfamiliar places, or when there is a lot of distractions.
Tip 8: Read Body Language
Learn your puppy's signals that it's about to go: sniffing, circling, or walking oddly are strong indications.
Tip 9: Reward Them
Reward your puppy with praise when it goes outside in the correct location. Never punish or scold—this will only lead to behavioral issues and more accidents, like poop-eating, anxious urination in the house, etc.
You should keep water down for your puppy overnight, especially for dogs that are 6 months and under. Young animals are more susceptible to dehydration.
Tip 10: Let Them Enjoy Being Outside
Let your puppy enjoy being outside for a little while after going potty. If you always take your puppy inside as soon as it goes, you'll teach it to delay going for as long as possible so it can stay outside.
Tip 11: Keep Track of the Treats
Remember that what goes into your puppy must eventually come out, so if it eats something between meals—including a lot of treats—adjust the potty schedule.
Tip 12: Too Much Isn't a Thing
You can't take a puppy outside too much. If in doubt, take it out!