I feel kind of crazy writing a post about potty training your puppy, Pearl, but if I can help other doggy mommies out there, then I guess this post is worth it.
We got Pearl in February (she was 2 months old) and it’s taken us until July to potty train her. That’s 5 months. 5 months of accidents on our hard wood floors, on carpet, and on rugs. It was hard, but I was determined to teach her to be potty trained even before I got her.
Before we got Pearl we did lots of research. Apparently, the key is… CONSISTENCY!
You see- when I was a kid, I had two outdoor dogs. Naturally, because they were always outside we never had to potty train them. Then, after many, many years, my dogs passed away and after that, my parents got another dog, Molly. Molly is the cutest little dachshund but not exactly the smartest. I love her to pieces, but she never learned to potty train and my parents have spent so much money on potty pads (and lots of time mopping).
Just like kids, potty training a dog takes consistency. When Pearl came home with us, we decided that potty pads were the way to go (for a little while). We put a potty pad by the back door of our apartment and made sure that she always went on the pad. I’m not going to lie- she had a LOT of accidents at this point, and this lasted about 2 months. We invested in the adult pads (Petco brand) because they were thicker and larger, so she had more room to choose where to go. I think this helped a lot.
After using the pad, we tried using those fake grass patches on our back porch. We thought it might make the thought process a little bit easier on her to go from pad to real grass, so we tried these out. WARNING: don’t use these! I don’t care what brand you get…these things SMELL. At first the smell wasn’t bad, and I would clean her grass patch twice a week (her pee was still little by then) but then it got so bad that we were having to wash it every other day. The grass patches usually have 3 layers to them, and we would SCRUB them outside with soap and a broom but even after it was washed, it would still stink. I put a potty pad underneath the grass patch (in between the layers) so it wouldn’t be too big of a mess, but it was horrible.
We used the grass for about a month, and decided that it was time to take her outside only. What we decided to do was take Pearl out every time we took her out of her crate. Even if she was in her crate 20 minutes (like while I took a shower) or 2 hours, as soon as she was out of her crate, she was taken outside. Take note, we would do this throughout the months since we got her, but even more so now. We also made sure to take her out about 10 minutes or so after eating/drinking, and sometimes we’d even feel her little belly to see if it felt full or not. We also started crating her for short periods of time at first and slowly increased the length of time she was in her crate. Dogs don’t like to mess in their crates, so this was very helpful in having us teach her to hold her potty. AND, we invested in these babies:
These are doggy doorbells by Poochie Bells on Amazon.com and have been the best thing we’ve ever bought for Pearl. To potty train your puppy you hang the Poochie Bell ribbon on your doorknob, and remind your puppy to ring them when he/she wants to go out. It took us some time (mainly because Pearl wasn’t even tall enough to reach the bottom bell), but now she rings her bells every time she wants out! Pearl has not had ANY accidents in a while now, and I’m so proud to say that we’ve potty trained her.
Want the readers digest version of how to potty train your puppy?
1. Begin with a crate and potty pads.
2. Take puppy out 10 minutes after eating/drinking and let them “try”
3. Crate for short periods of time and move up in small increments (take away potty pad at this time)
4. Buy a doggy doorbell and tell your puppy “ring your bell!” every time you take him/her out.
5. Encourage your puppy after he/she goes potty by saying “good boy/girl!” or “good potty!” and never EVER EVER use negative reinforcement like putting the puppy’s face in it’s mess.
You are the only person who will know when your puppy is ready to move on to the next phase. Be patient with your dog and know that they want to be the best dog they can for you!