Dog Potty Training

Read our Top 5 Dog Potty Training tips that will help make dog potty training easier

Dog Potty Training Tips

With any new dog, house training is key, with dog potty training being a primary focus.

I have three miniature dachshunds, which are said to be notoriously difficult to potty train, and I feel after potty training the third that we (my wife and I) managed to avoid issues we faced when training the previous two.

Straight from the outset, I want to state that one of the most important rules of training your dog is consistency from you, the owner.

From this article, I’m hoping you will be able to learn from my mistakes and help make potty training your dog a little (a lot) less messy, less time-consuming, and less frustrating than it was for me.

I’ll cover the top 5 tips that made the biggest difference for me when dog potty training.

dog potty training

Top 5 tips when potty training your dog

Now, my stating there are 5 top tips could go one of two ways:

  1. “Only 5 dog potty training tips? Surely that’s not going to help me train my dog?!”
  2. “5 tips? that sounds like way too much effort!”

If you’re in camp #2, you might want to rethink having a dog.

But if you’re in camp #1, come along for the ride as I explain what worked for me.

Firstly, let’s go over each of the key aspects we’re going to cover, with each tip in priority order (tip #1 being the highest priority).

  1. Consistency
  2. Verbal Commands
  3. Social Queues
  4. Positive Reinforcement
  5. Treats

Tip #1: You need to be consistent

Regarding any aspect of training your dog, you, the owner, need to be consistent.

  • Consistent with the command.
  • Consistent with the body language.
  • Consistent with the verbal praise.
  • Consistent with the positive physical interaction.
  • Consistent with the treats.

Without this level of consistency, your dog is going to receive mixed messages.

Mixed messages are not good for learning new behaviors, and expectations. If you’re not consistent, why would you expect your dog to be?

So to be clear, for every tip you find in this article, you must follow it consistently. With that out of the way, let’s move on to tip #2 for dog potty training.

Cockapoo running on grass

Tip #2: Verbal Commands with Regular Prompts

Straight from the outset, decide what the command will be when it’s time to head to the designated area to go potty. A command such as “potty time” or “go potty” will be fine. Just be sure that whatever it is, ensure all members of the family who will partake in training should be consistent with the command.

For simplicity and clarity, for the rest of this article, our verbal command for going potty will be “potty time”.

Now we have the command nailed down, we also need to prompt it regularly.

How often does a dog need to potty?

A general rule of thumb regarding bladder control for puppies is approximately one hour for every month old they are. For dogs older than 3-4 months, you can expect a dog to need to potty once every three hours or so.

Remembering from tip #1, you need to be consistent. Use the same verbal command whenever dog potty training.

In my case: “Freddo, potty time!”

Jack Russell puppy looking up

Tip #3: Use Social Queues when Potty Training your Dog

As we stated earlier, your consistency is paramount to the success of your dog learning anything new. In this case, dog potty training.

When you become consistent in your body language and behaviors when it’s time to do something, there will come a time when you don’t even need to verbalize a command to your dog. They’ll know what is happening based on the social queues you exhibit.

Just like humans, dogs are creatures of habit, and they thrive on patterns and repetition. If you can introduce almost a regimental habit to everything you need your dog to do, then you will be amazed at just how quickly your dog will learn something.

For example, whenever you go to make yourself a drink, pick up your mug, look at your dog and use the defined command “potty time”.

White dog having belly rubs

Tip #4: Use Positive Reinforcement when Dog Potty Training

The love you receive from your dog is unconditional. With that in mind, use this to your advantage as much as possible.

What I mean by that is when your dog does a good thing, physically tell them and show them. make a fuss of them, play with them, scrubble their ears and rub their belly, all the while telling them, “good dog, you did your potty!”.

This will become trained behaviour, based on cause and reaction. Your dog will realise that when he potties in the designated area, he receives positive affection and interaction.

Showering your dog with love is a superpower that will eventually get your dog to do everything you need (within reason, of course), and the love between you both will strengthen the bond.

Black French Bulldog with treats

Tip #5: Using Treats when Dog Potty Training

Dog treats will be your best friend when you initially start training your dog. As such, you’ll want to find good quality treats that grab your dog’s attention and interest.

As we all know, dogs have a heightened sense of smell and, therefore, taste. This means that by using treats as part of training, your dog will likely learn new skills and expected behaviors quickly.

Check out our post on Puppy Treats to find out more about what you should look for when buying dog treats things to avoid (especially ingredients), and we also personally recommend a few puppy treats that worked for us and that our dogs found delicious.

I decided on treats being the least important aspect as part of dog potty training, mainly because, at some point, getting a treat for going potty will stop.

Yes, I’m aware this contradicts tip #1 for consistency, but only because you need consistency to trigger the habitual response of going to the designated potty area. Once that habitual response is there, positive verbal and physical interaction will suffice and often please the dog more.

References

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Me and my chocolate brown Miniature Dachshund, Pippin, biting my nose!

About Me

Hi, I'm Chris, the author, and owner of SmallDogOwner.com

When my three miniature dachshunds aren't running me ragged, I'm writing articles that answer the questions I've had since becoming a dog Dad.