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Raising and training a puppy is not so different than raising one of your own children. Of course, if you have never had a child, never babysat for nieces and nephews, neighbors or your best friends baby, you don’t have that experience. What it boils down to is being consistent, using the same language (commands), and not bullying the puppy when mistakes happen.
Referring back to an infant, when you go through potty training with a baby, it can be a long process over many months, or even years until that child gets to wear his big boy underpants. Some kids take to the potty with a snap of the fingers. Others, not so much. Some of that may be due to the parents training skills. I lucked out with my two boys. Son #1 did not like wet, dirty diapers. He self-trained himself when he was approximately nine months old. I’m not kidding. Son #2 not so soon, but he was still under 18 months old when he was potty trained.
As soon as your puppy enters your home for the first time, repeatedly show him where he is supposed to relieve himself. Whether this is on newspaper, potty pads, out in the yard—just show him over and over—and often. Dogs will not relieve themselves where they eat or sleep, so make sure you do not lay papers or pads in those areas. Never, ever rub your puppy’s nose in his mess if he makes a mistake. That does not teach him anything positive and falls into the bullying category. When he makes a mistake, show him his mistake then bring him to where he is supposed to relieve himself. There is a caveat here that must be considered. If you were away from home for long hours and no one else was available to take the puppy outside, or you don’t use newspaper or pads on the floor, you can only be angry with yourself.
Expecting a young puppy to hold his bladder, or not poop on the floor for long hours is just not feasible. As an adult, think about how long you can hold your bladder before you think you will burst, and then think about how long an infant or young child can hold his. Then associate that with your puppy. Don’t rant like a lunatic while cleaning up his mistake.
When the puppy goes potty where he is directed to go, praise him with smiles, kind words and pats on the head and scratches under the chin or behind his ears. He will get all wiggly, waggy-tailed and smiley. That is positive behavior and your reaction to it is what he will look forward to. He wants to make you happy to get that wonderful
Be sure to document your puppy potty training in your The Puppy Baby Book!