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How to teach your puppy to go to the bathroom

There is a new puppy at home and generally one of the biggest challenges that we all have as first time parents is How to teach my puppy to relieve himself in a specific place?


To start we must have basic understandings which will help us to understand better and have tools which will help us in this process.

The first step is patience and knowing that our puppu regulate up to 5 or 6 months their needs and up to this point they have full control over their impulses. Therefore they are doing nothing to anger us!

How far can we demand?

From 3 to 8 weeks of life is when dogs learn to leave the nest to relieve themselves.

Until then, they urinate and defecate inside and the mother ingests the waste as a cleaning method and to avoid leaving traces that can attract possible predators (this behavior is inherited from the wolf).

From 8 weeks is when puppies develop what is called "substrate preference" Developing a substrate preference means learning to urinate and defecate on a surface of a particular material. Thus:

Around 8 weeks is the ideal time to teach a dog to relieve itself in a specific place.

Teaching a puppy to relieve himself in a specific place: basic steps

1- SUPERVISION: We must accompany the puppy to the place where we want him to urinate or defecate with a frequency that suits his needs. In order not to be too demanding, we must apply the following principle:

It has been studied that a puppy is able to endure without urinating or defecating a number of hours equal to the months it has, plus one.

That means that, for a two-month-old dog, for example, we should do the following sum: 2 months + 1h = 3 hours For one of three: 3 months + 1h = 4 hours And so on. We cannot ask for full voluntary control until the dog is five to six months old!

2. ANTICIPATION: In addition to taking him to urinate and defecate every X hours, we must anticipate. The puppy will want to eliminate, especially: - After sleeping - After eating - After playing It will be necessary to accompany him to the right place after these three actions. The idea is to try to get the puppy to “make mistakes” and eliminate where it does not correspond as few times as possible. You have to almost always get it right, because when you do, you will receive a prize and that will reinforce behavior.

3. PRIZE: When the puppy removes in the appropriate place, we will reward it. You have to be effusive: congratulate him with caresses and verbally and, if we want, adding an edible prize indicated for puppies.

4. AT NIGHT: Probably, the puppy will not be able to last the whole night without eliminating, so it will be necessary to set up a restricted area with newspaper that can be accessed while we sleep.

What you never have to do!

It is very common for some first-time popes to bring their furry noses close to debris or dirty papers as punishment. Apart from the fact that it is not advisable to do this at all, doing it will not help your dog to understand more, on the contrary, your dog will be afraid and will inhibit his attitude, as well as his possible learning.

It may also happen that due to this method your puppy begins to resort to coprophagy, that is, eating his feces or licking his urine, mainly for fear that you will scold him again. Completely avoid the punishment of the life of the puppy and the adult dog, betting on positive methods and a teaching based on rewards, as studies show that it is the best way to make them learn and remember.

If you have punished your puppy and he fears you, try to regain his confidence by doing new exercises, games and activities, and rewarding him whenever you have the chance.

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