The word “puppy” has no clear origin yet likely to have come from the French word poupee meaning “doll” or “toy.” Poupee is pronounced “poo-pay.” And there’s hidden meaning there! Most puppy owners are poo-payed at the end of the day, chasing their young charges around constantly, especially during early house-training months.
House training a puppy takes determination and vigilance. Most puppies will achieve consistent outdoor performance by 6 months, yet some may take up to a year.
First and foremost is to keep the puppy confined. A crate, playpen, or divided area (preferably with tiled floors) is easier for housekeeping because accidents will happen. Lean into that and do NOT punish the pup! If you have missed the classic signs of circling and sniffing the carpet, gasp loudly and exhale with an “ah ah ah”! which may cause a muscle contraction in your puppy long enough to get them outside quickly.
Young puppies have no control over their bladder muscles. A good rule of thumb for the time a puppy can hold their water is their age +1. So, a 2-month-old puppy = 2 + 1 or 3 hours. In the early months, every 1-2 hours is best. Getting out 10-15 minutes after each meal is necessary.
Maintaining consistency with lots of praise and treats will help both of you as the puppy matures and you catch a few more Z’s in the ensuing months. Using the same area for potty breaks helps. You can also use a soiled piece of cloth (anything with its urine smell on it) to show your pup where to mark his spot. Be sure to throw a party after every potty, employing lots of praise with clapping hands and a happy voice.
If your puppy is food motivated, high-value treats dispensed immediately after elimination is another way to reward a successful potty moment.
Decide what your “cue” word is going to be every time you take your puppy out. “Go potty” is the most common. It is hard to find a cute, sexy way to describe it, yet anything goes provided it is used every time and is different from other commands you will be teaching your young dog.
If you live in a high-rise community or challenged by inclement weather, you may consider pee pad training. This is often tricky, as you are providing two different options for your pup. Ideally, you want them to hold it until you can get them outside.
If you follow strict and consistent potty protocols, you will find that your time and dedication will pay off quickly and with big dividends!
Tori and Nannies