Dog potty training is one of the most challenging pieces of training for any dog owner. From scent marking to submissive urination, and to adult dog training, there are different types of potty problems that dog owners have to deal with.
If you notice that your adult dog is having toileting problems, it’s advisable to take her for a medical check-up. This check-up will help to establish if any medical issues are contributing to his potty problems. If not, then your dog has behavioral problems that can be prevented and managed through training.
How Can I Potty Train My Dog?
To potty train your dog, you’ll need to use the following training techniques:
- Paper training
- Submissive or excitable urination training
- Housetraining for adult dogs
- Scent marking training
- Paper training is one of the best ways to housetrain puppies. This training helps to teach your pup proper toileting manners. To paper train your puppy:
- Create a puppy-proofed room ‘safe zone,’ where your puppy can stay when unsupervised. Make sure that there is a bed, food, and water bowl in the room.
- Line the room with training pads so that when the puppy poops all over the place, he does so on removable pads. Take out the soiled pads regularly.
- After a few days, begin removing one pad every few days. Note that pups do not like toileting near where they eat or sleep, so remove the pads close to those areas first.
- Removing pads will leave small areas uncovered. Because your pup has learned to toilet on the pads, he should naturally go on the areas that have pads and leave those without clean.
- Gradually reduce the areas covered with pads over the next few weeks until only one pad is left. Make sure that this pad is the furthest from where the puppy sleeps or eats. Also, change the soiled pad regularly.
- When you catch your dog in the act of toileting on a pod, use the cue word ‘go potty,’ so he learns to associate it with the action. When he’s done, give him a treat or praise him gently.
- Repeat this process over time so that he can build a connection between the cue and the action of toileting. In doing so, you can begin to use the word to encourage him to toilet.
- To make the transition from toileting inside to outside, place a partially soiled pad in the area that you want him to go outside. This will encourage him to go outside while still giving him the comfort of feeling a pad under his paws. When he is toileting outside confidently, remove the indoor pad completely.
- If you’d prefer your puppy to toilet in a designated area inside your house, leave a pad in this area. Make sure that the area you choose is a quiet one.
- Encourage him to toilet in the area by taking him to this area at hourly intervals. When he begins going to the area confidently, lead him there less frequently to teach him to hold himself for longer intervals.
- Your puppy should begin going to the toilet on his own at this stage.
Submissive or Excitable Urination Training
Even if your puppy is potty trained, you might notice that he loses control of his bladder when he is really excited or nervous. These behaviors are known as excited and submissive urination, respectively. They are also normal behaviors for puppies, which they ought to outgrow.
If excited and submissive urination continues into adulthood, you ought to ask for help from a qualified dog training professional. You can also use these tips to prevent and manage this behavior:
- Keep your home environment as predictable and consistent as is possible.
- Expose your puppy to new situations around the home.
- When greeting your dog, go down to his level but do not hug him as this could make him feel dominated.
- If your dog acts excited, do not give him any attention until he calms down, to help stop the need to urinate.
- Ask anyone who comes into your home to give the dog or pup little attention, until he’s willing to socialize. Also, leave the decision of whether to greet a person or not to the puppy. This will reduce anxiety and give control of the situation to the dog.
- When guests come over, praise his behavior whenever he displays confidence.
- Take all high energy play outside if it tends to overstimulate your dog.
- Ask for professional from a vet help if none of these tips work on your pup or dog. He might prescribe some meds to help control the behavior.
House Training for Adult Dogs
Housetraining teaches adult dogs to toilet properly. If your dog comes from a good home, this training will be pretty easy. However, it might prove a little problematic for dogs who come from puppy mills.
Before beginning this training, take your dog for a medical check-up to ensure that the problem is not linked to a medical condition. To house potty train your adult dog:
- Create a toileting schedule that allows your dog to go outside every hour.
- Use the verbal cue ‘go potty’ to encourage your dog to go relieve himself. Praise him gently after he is done toileting.
- Make sure that you decrease the number of times that he goes outside with time, to teach him to hold himself.
- Have a feeding schedule to make it easier to predict when your dog needs to go potty. Also, keep an eye on the times that your dog toilets. Is it after a meal or when he wakes up from a nap?
- Encourage him to go in various environments outside, but make sure he feels confident enough. Dogs do not like toileting outside because they feel vulnerable.
- If you catch your dog toileting where he shouldn’t, interrupt him with a gentle verbal cue, then take him outside and encourage him to finish there. Do not punish your dog, as this encourages him to go even more.
Scent Marking Training
Scent marking is a big problem, especially if your dog does it in the house. This problem is more common in households where there are many dogs, and they have to compete for human attention. To control this behavior:
- Get rid of high-value items that might encourage competitive marking.
- Prevent dogs that are engaged in this behavior from roaming around the house by setting up a dog-proof room. This will help to prevent access to various marking spots.
- Take all competitive or vigorous play outside as it encourages urination.
- Interrupt any marking behavior with a verbal cue and immediately take the dog outside or call him for more positive activities.
- Encourage your dog to take this behavior outside by exposing him to different environments during walks.
- Enrich and exercise your dog to keep him occupied and happier.
- You can take your dog for neutering surgery. Note that this surgery will be ineffective if your dog is a serial marker.
Be patient with your dog when potty training him. Avoid punishing your dog when he accidentally goes in your home. Also, do not rub your dog’s nose in the area as this will make him fear you and create a negative experience for him.