The Number One Tip That is Making Your Puppy Potty Training Fail
Okay, okay, as I write this, I am mentally preparing myself for the backlash.
There is one potty training tip that drives me crazy and ruins puppies’ success.
Now, if you know me, you know I hate potty pads; but I almost hate this tip more.
And, it is so commonly used that my distaste for it is going to shock you!
What is the #1 Tip That is Making Your Puppy Potty Training Fail?
What could it be? What is the most commonly used puppy potty training tip that is actually making it worse?
"Give Your Puppy a Treat for Going Potty Outside"
Sounds crazy, right?
I mean, I am definitely pro-treat.
And I certainly want my puppies to go potty outside.
But this is the ONE time I don’t use food rewards for good behavior.
I think it confuses puppies!
I also think it stops puppies from finishing their business.
Puppies have a hard enough time focusing! Sometimes, adding the excitement of a treat completely blows their concentration.
And, let’s face it, this is the ONE time you don’t want your puppy to be distracted.
I know, I have just blown your mind.
And, I realize there are people who successfully use that tip with their puppies.
So Let’s Talk About It
Let's talk more about why this number one tip is making your potty training fail for you and your puppy.
It is Confusing for Your Puppy
You know that you are rewarding your puppy for the very complicated act of “going potty OUTSIDE”, but is that how your puppy sees it?
I think some puppies think they are being rewarded for going potty in front of you.
I mean, how do we know they are associating the great “out of doors” with the equation?
I think this is why some owners are seeing their puppies drop and squat in front of them inside of their homes.
For the puppy, the easiest thing to associate is the act of “potty” being rewarded.
So then, it makes sense that the puppy comes back inside and squats in the hope that he will earn another treat.
It is Distracting for Your Puppy
He squats to take care of business, and you squeal and bombard him with treats because you are so happy that he is going potty outside.
It only makes sense that as soon as he becomes distracted, he stops what he was doing.
And, if you stop him mid-flow or mid-poop, chances are he is going to come back inside and need to finish his act.
I get this complaint ALL THE TIME.
“I took him outside, and he went potty, I rewarded him, and he came in and had an accident”.
The problem is that you didn’t wait for him to finish, or he thinks the more often he goes in front of you, the more treats he will get.
Either is a problem and ends with puppies having more accidents in front of their owners in the house.
The old ideal of rubbing your puppy’s nose in it is worse.
This only teaches your dog to sneak off and have accidents.
Plus, it is cruel.
What Should You Do?
I am fond of keeping my puppy on a leash and getting him out every 2 hours, and then QUIETLY PRAISING HIM FOR GOING POTTY OUTSIDE.
That's right; I don’t make a big deal out of it.
I don’t reward for it.
I quietly tell him he is a “good boy” when he relieves himself when we are outside.
I don’t want him to think that going potty in front of me is bad, but I also don’t want him to think going potty in front of me will bring him a tasty treat.
And, I don’t want to distract him from what he is doing.
I REALLY want him to finish!
So, I am super quiet, and calm.
After all, going potty is natural, and I want my dog to learn to actually “relieve” himself, fully.
This makes potty training easier!
If your puppy is distracted, he is more difficult to potty train.
It’s Up to You
But the truth is….
It is up to you!
It is your job to teach your puppy to go potty and totally relieve himself outside.
After a few days, I know how often my puppy poops and how much volume he pees.
If you think he is lacking, it is up to you to crate him and try again in a few minutes.
What people don’t realize is that potty training is about YOU and has little to do with the puppy at first.
You must take him outside, you must stay with him; you must then either crate him (because he didn’t go), or keep an eye on him.
Once we help him understand that going potty and relieving himself outside brings freedom, then he can learn.
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.