Potty training can be vexing. Sometimes it seems like you are taking your dog out every hour and still end up wringing your hands, thinking ‘my dog won’t poop outside. What am I doing wrong?’. In today’s article we are going to discuss your puppy’s bathroom habits and give you a few tips on stopping that unseemly habit so that you and your doggy can get back to living in peace. Let’s talk about what your puppy needs and what you can do to help to show them that pooping in the house is NOT the thing to do!
The potty training blues
While dogs don’t like to poo where they eat if you are reading this article then you have come to understand that there is still a lot of other spaces in the house where they are more than happy to make little ‘deposits’. Don’t fret, you are not alone. Some dogs are shy poopers at first and while they will pee outside it can take a little time to get them to do ALL of their business out there. So, what can you do? First you need to understand their schedule.
How often do dogs need to use the bathroom, anyways?
There is actually a ‘hard and fast’ rule that applies to most puppies. For every month of age your puppy has one hour that they can hold their pee. So, a 3 month old puppy can ‘hold it’ for 3 hours before they absolutely have to go. That said, once your puppy reaches 6 months it is recommended that you do not make them hold it for more than 5 – 6 hours until they reach at least a year of age. Adult dogs can sometimes keep their bladder in control for up to 8 hours but regular walking is always better. Have you ever been out in public and eaten something for lunch that maybe didn’t agree with you, requiring an IMMEDIATE bathroom break? Keep in mind that dogs have bad days like this too and the best defense is a reliable outside schedule.
Now, how often do they need to poop? Certainly less frequently then they need to pee. Quite a bit less, actually, as your dog will generally only need to poop once or twice a day with the occasional exceptions based on breed, which with some dogs can mean 3 -4 times a day is the target number. This is where a regular schedule comes in handy. As your dog learns that they will have certain times during the day that they are guaranteed a trip outside they will adjust and ‘do their business’ without panicking and resorting to using the house. Aside from your standard schedule, if your dog needs to poop often it is going to be within 10 – 30 minutes after a meal so you will want to add breakfast/lunch/dinner walks to the regular walking schedule. So, what can you do to keep them from pooping in the house at night?
Behold the power of crate training!
A huge problem with puppies is getting them to stop going to the potty at night in the house when you are sleeping. They also want to be close to you and door scratching may result. It’s a good idea to break this habit early. So, how do you do it? First, you will need a few things:
- A large crate, box, or baby-barrier fencing to create a puppy den
- A small water and food bowl
- Toy for your little
- Cozy place to sleep
- Pee pad or a faux-grass pad for ‘accidents’
First we should note for the food and water bowl you want to keep snacks and water to a minimum to avoid accidents. Your puppy has already had dinner so you can even just put a small amount of water in there and it will be fine. What you do next when you have arranged their little den is place the puppy inside every night after their last walk and before you go to bed. Your puppy may whine but it is
“Repeat the process until your puppy learns to hold it overnight”
important that you do not demonstrate that you will come running when they call. Let them whine and eventually they will stop (yes, it can sometimes take awhile but you MUST be patient). Keep the peepad clean and eventually when your pup is not using it at night then you can try letting them roam the house at night as they may well be ready. If not, just repeat the process until your puppy learns to hold it overnight.
What if my dog waits until we get back inside to poop?
If your puppy still insists on pooping inside when you have them on a regular schedule and have employed the crate training there is a trick that you can do to help to resolve this. Make a smaller crate that is just big enough for your dog to lay down in. You don’t want it to be bigger because then your dog may just poop in the corner. Place them in the crate after the walk and after a few minutes take them out and immediately outside. If you like, toss a small snack inside after placing them in the crate to make sure that they are good and ready when you take them out again. After awhile your puppy will simply HAVE to go and you can get them to go outside. After a few times of this they will get into the habit of using the outdoors instead of the house and you will both be much happier!
In today’s article we have discussed your puppy’s bathroom habits so that you can better understand and craft a schedule that will fit their needs. Keep in mind that some breeds may require a more aggressive schedule than others but with a little patience and understanding of your dogs needs (as well as the mini-crate trick) your dog will pick up those good habits you are trying to teach in no time!