When it comes to getting a new puppy, potty training is almost always at the very top of the list of “owner worries.” We get lots of questions about where to start, how long it will take, etc. This article provides a simple, succinct guide to getting started on housebreaking your new puppy.
Keep in mind most puppies will not be fully potty trained until at least 12-16 weeks. We start our young pups on puppy pad training so puppy pads can be a helpful stepping stone to outdoor potty training when you first bring your doodle home.
Many owners find it is an easy transition to slowly move the puppy pads to the designated outdoor area (closer to the door, then right outside the door, etc.). Other owners prefer to jump straight into outdoor potty training. Here are a few basic tips:
Frequent potty breaks. When your doodle is awake and playing, taking him out as frequently as every 30 minutes is important when they are young. Also make sure to take him outside during every transition. This means, as soon as he wakes up from a nap, or right after he finishes eating, etc. Any time your pup is switching activities is a good time to take him out. Watch for his cues, too. If he suddenly stops playing and starts sniffing around, you can grab him and head for the door. The more you set him up for success with frequent breaks, the more quickly he will catch on.
Establish a command/reward system. When you bring your pup out to his designated potty area, choose a command to say: “Go potty!” “Do your business!” or whatever line you can come up with. When pup does potty, immediately praise and reward him with a treat. Learning to go potty on command is very helpful when you want to make sure your pup empties his bladder before having to be put in the crate overnight, before a long car ride, etc.
Keep your eyes on him at all times! Scolding your pup for an accident after the fact is generally ineffective as he will not connect the discipline to the moment of the accident. So keeping a close eye on your pup is very important so that you can “catch” them as soon as they start to squat or have an accident indoors. A quick “no” and then carrying them outside for a potty break will aid the potty training process.
Keep his play area small. The smaller the area, the more likely your pup will be to alert you that he needs to potty rather than sneaking off to a corner where you can’t see him. In fact, confining them to just a room or two of your house at first is often a good idea in general to make things less overwhelming for them. We strongly recommend setting up your puppy’s designated potty area before you bring him home. Consider picking a spot that’s small and easy to manage (for you and for pup – pups can get easily overwhelmed in the confines of a new house). Having an area that is within direct eyeline to the outside door will really help your pup connect the dots on where to go when he needs to potty.
Finally, remember to be patient. 8-week-old puppies are still so young and just learning to control their bladders so mistakes will happen. But with time and consistency, your efforts will pay off and your doodle will soon become reliable in the house.
Jenna and the JLDD Team