House training a dog can be a stressful experience for both puppy and owner, pooping in the house is obviously an undesirable behaviour which owners are always keen to resolve as quickly as possible.
Natural body excretions are not repulsive to dogs in the same way they are to humans. However, dogs are naturally clean animals and will prefer not to foul their sleeping or eating areas, which makes house training a puppy easy with a little patience and understanding.
It is important to remember that puppies won’t immediately differentiate between indoors and outdoors, so if your puppy’s normal place to sleep and eat is in the kitchen, your puppy may think it’s just as convenient to toilet in the front room as it is in the garden. This is especially true if the weather outside is cold and wet.
Similarly, once a puppy has learnt the place to go is the garden, they don’t necessarily understand that they are also allowed to use other outside areas. It is common for young puppies to hold on for a whole walk and quickly rush to the garden on their return in order to relieve themselves!
When working out a regime for house training a puppy you need to look at both practicality and effectiveness. Ask yourself, which puppy training method will work in our house? What would work best with our family routine?
Here are two popular methods of house training a puppy and the advantages and disadvantages. It is up to you to choose the regime that is going to work best for you and your individual situation.
Puppy pad training
The puppy pad method uses paper or “puppy pads” which are gradually made smaller and moved closer towards the door before being moved outside. Puppy pad training is much easier to do in summer months when you can leave doors open for easy access.
- A user friendly style of training and your puppy has a defined place to go even if you’re not present.
- Popular for owners who live in flats or where free access to the garden is not easily achieved.
- Fairly easy to follow and you don’t have to be watching puppy the whole time.
- Sometimes this is confusing for the puppy if not done carefully as you are essentially teaching your puppy that it’s initially fine to toilet in the house and then expecting them to learn not to. It is not uncommon for the puppy to continue to use the same spot even after the paper has been lifted.
- Can be a bit messy, especially in the early days when using a lot of paper. As well as toileting, puppies usually also enjoy chewing and shredding the paper.
Crate training a puppy is a popular method of toilet training and this can be really helpful when it comes to house training a puppy in more ways than one. It simply means making sure that during short periods, when you cannot monitor your puppy, you can prevent them from toileting in the house by restricting them to their crate.
As we know, dogs naturally don’t like to foul in their sleeping and eating areas, so they are less likely to use their crate as a toilet. Of course, your puppy must be given regular opportunities to go out and relieve themselves too.
Advantages of crate training:
- Utilises a puppy’s natural behaviour so it’s likely to be easy for the puppy to learn.
- Keeps the house clean, tidy and puppy-accident free.
- As well as house training, will help to reduce chewing, stealing and other undesirable behaviours.
Disadvantages of crate training:
- Some crates take up quite a bit of space in small rooms.
For this method of toilet training to work effectively, you must have the time to let your puppy out regularly, therefore it should not be used if you have to leave your puppy for longer periods of time. It may be necessary overnight to provide an area in the crate for your puppy to toilet, particularly whilst it is very young. A puppy pad is preferable. If you are doing this then you should always remove the pad or paper during the daytime to ensure that it does not become the norm for them to use the crate or the puppy pad as their toilet.
Some families manage to work out a puppy toilet training routine whereby your pup is never left for long periods of time without one member of the family giving them the opportunity to go outside. If you can achieve this then it really is the best way of house training your puppy because they always get into the habit of toileting outside; as they get older and gain more control of their bladder and bowels, it will be possible to gradually leave them for longer periods.
In reality, most owners probably use a combination of crate and pad training, however it must be emphasised that consistency is likely to be the single most important factor influencing the puppy’s ability to learn.
You can also check out some of the basic do’s and don’ts of house training on our do’s and don’ts blog.