The Truth About Toilet Training

The favourite part of bringing a puppy home, especially as kids soon shy away from the cleaning up aspect of owning a dog. It’s probably the most important part to get right for everyones sanity, so here are my thoughts on some of the common misconceptions.

1. Your puppy will be fully house trained in 6 months

I wish this was true. Dogs are the equivalent of toddlers up to a year old, and this stage lasts longer in bigger dogs. They can’t be expected to be able to hold it all day, and shouldn’t have to if you provide the right care. Whether our methods were right or wrong I’ll never know, but Lupo was over a year old before he could be trusted not to claim the living room carpet. Then and only then should you consider buying new flooring.

2. Rubbing their nose in it teaches them a lesson

Suprise suprise, this is also a waste of time and unnecessarily cruel if you ask me. Once a dog has done its business in your kitchen when you are out, by the time you walk through the door it is so excited you are home and simply cannot make the connection to why you would be angry at it now. Cesar Millan’s favourite saying is ‘dogs live in the moment’, you’d do well to remember that. The only way to teach a dog to not soil your kitchen is to either be there to correct it before it does happen or adjust your training and routine before hand to make sure it never happens again.

3. Dogs do it on purpose

There are many reasons why your dog will opt to stain your carpet and not the grass outside but I can assure you no matter how many films portray dogs doing it to spite someone, those dogs are very well-trained to do it on cue by the way, your average family pet is doing it for other reasons. When they are young it can’t be helped until they gain better bladder control. As they get older I swear a little bit of laziness kicks in, especially, as we found, if it’s raining outside and they don’t fancy a trip out in the wet. Also, if they are continually going in the same spot on your rug, you will need to use more natural cleaning methods. The chemicals in some cleaners can mimic ammonia, I know nice huh, which gives the dog signals to mark the spot again and again.

4. My dog still isn’t house trained, he wees when he greets people

This has nothing to do with being house trained, it’s a common occurrence in young dogs who show submission to people and other dogs. They do grow out of it, if not seek advice from your vet. There is a very simple solution, make sure visitors to your home greet your dog outside the house. Voila! Clean carpets, happy owner.

5. Shouting at your dog gets the fastest results

All this does is raise your blood pressure and frighten your dog, probably into submission where it will do it again, see point 4. The is no quick fix. You need to take your young puppy out every hour or so when it’s awake and every few hours in the night when you first bring him home. To avoid the dog ever thinking its ok to do it in its crate or elsewhere in the house, just don’t give it opportunity. Your dog will need to be put outside after it has been playing, eaten something, drank water, woken up, and these are still rules we live by now. Lupo has developed a way of letting us know he needs to go out if we’ve found ourselves engrossed in a film after tea, by standing in front of the TV and staring at us.

I promise there will come a time when you aren’t stood in the garden in your dressing gown at the crack of dawn shouting your chosen cue word (ours is Toilet) but until then, you need patience and a lot of kitchen roll and cleaning spray. Oh and don’t bother with puppy pads, it makes the process twice as long as you are telling the dog its ok to do it inside.

How did you get on with toilet training, any tips to share?

3 comments

  1. We stopped using puppy pads after around a week – he just tore them up! The best advice we got was take him out every hour (you!) and if he starts sniffing the floor and walking in circles, get him outside, lots of praise for correct behaviour and totally ignore it if he gets it wrong, like you say, he won’t know what the telling off is for!

    Lucy x

    • Lupo was the same with newspaper. I’m glad I could be of some help! You’ll get there in the end. At the time I felt like I was going to be the only person in the world who wouldn’t be able to train my dog, but it just clicks with them. Usually to replace with another annoying habbit like stealing socks! x

  2. I was lucky and my wheaten terrier, Farley, learned very quickly that he should pee outside. The best command I ever learned, for both my wheaten and my lab, Chica, was to have them pee on command. When the dog is a pup, as soon as they start to lift their leg, or squat as the case may be, give them a common. I say, “Pee pee,” but pronounce it “pay pay” so I don’t’ sound weird out there.

    This is great when you are traveling and you need your dog to pee before getting on a plane, on a boat, or in a car. Even before going to bed a night – it avoids the 3am scratch at the door.

    Whatever you train your dog to do, be kind. They need time to learn too.

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