Saturday, January 23, 2016

Potty Training Your Dog

Potty Training Your Dog

 Puppy Training Hamilton, ON

House breaking a dog is something many new dog owners are going to have to deal with. Many people have done it, but what we'll focus on in this post is how to tackle this aspect of dog training in the correct way.

How often does your puppy or adult dog need to be let outside?

The general rule is, for every month of your pup's life, he can "hold it" for around an hour while resting. After this, he cannot hold it any longer, and the result is involuntary. Now, if your puppy is playing, drinking water, or eating, this time frame changes. The time in which your pup can now "hold it" begins to drop rapidly.

For adult dogs, you shouldn't be making your dog "hold it" for any more than five hours, even though he may be able to. I understand that many people work long hours and have other commitments, but you need to make arrangements for your dog to be let outside.

With your dog, understand that accidents will happen

For any further questions, and if you need some more advice on house breaking your dog, or any other dog training inquiries, we encourage you to reach out to us. We never charge anything for advice, or consultations. We're committed to what's best for dogs, and their new families, so, if there's anything we can do to help, we're always happy. 

It's important that you don't go into training your dog to eliminate outside with the idea of punishing him when he has an accident. It's understandable that you may be frustrated, but verbal or physical reprimands will only make your situation worse. Yes, I know your uncle Tom, who’s had two dogs before, may have told you to rub your dog’s nose in his accident, but do us a favor and trust us on this one. Using any type of punishment will only cause hesitation and confusion in your dog, and will make your training much more difficult.

You'll need to be prepared to clean up the accidents, because they will certainly happen. Many cleaners cover the smells to us, but the smell will still be there as far as your dog is concerned. Cleaning blends that we recommend are vinegar and water at a 75/25 ratio, less vinegar for surfaces prone to acidic corrosion (marble…), or water with 10% bleach.

What about pee pads for my dog?

These mats, marketed to allow your dog to eliminate inside your home, in a certain area, are effective, but not optimal for the overall goal. What you might encounter if using this product, is that as you begin easing the dog away from the mats, and leaving a mat out less, your dog is liable to find an alternative mat to do his business on. That mat for your company at the front door doesn't look all that different to your dog than the pee pads you've been putting out for him.

During the house breaking training, it can be helpful to limit your dog’s movement. Because dogs are clean animals, if you limit his movement to a smaller area, he'll be more likely to keep that area clean. If you allow him to roam around your entire house, there's a higher chance that he'll leave his waste in one area, and move on to another to play, nap, etc...

You need to go outside with your dog

During the potty training stage, you're going to have to bring him outside, with his leash on, and have treats at the ready for when he eliminates. Sure, it's inconvenient to have to go out with your dog so often, but let's get this done right. Allowing your dog to go out on his own, then treating him when he comes back in, is too late for a positive reward. You need to be sure to treat your dog immediately after elimination, to positively reinforce that this is the behavior you want from him. You should be bringing your dog outside after meals, drinking water, naps, and playing. 

Although it's important to watch for cues that may signal your dog needs to go outside, such as stopping what he's doing abruptly, or sniffing the ground, it's important to note that taking your dog outside is your decision. Be sure not to form the habit of allowing your dog to signal to you that he wants to go outside. If your dog does develop signaling behaviours, such as scratching at the door, be sure to ignore it, which should resolve this behaviour.


Potty training your dog may not be your favorite thing to do, but it's part of the commitment you've taken on as a dog owner. Follow the tips and insight above to get the training done right the first time, then, before you know it, you'll forget it was ever an issue. 

Hamilton Dog Training
762 Upper James Street Suite 162
Hamilton, ON L9C 3A2
(905) 537-2624

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