Toilet training and basic commands – what your puppy needs to know
September 7, 2023
All Creatures’ veterinary nurses know only too well that puppy toilet training is a challenging process. That’s why our nursing team have pulled together their tried and tested advice for you to follow, to ensure that your puppy grows into a well-mannered, toilet trained adult! It will take patience and consistency so don’t be afraid to ask the team at All Creatures for help.
4 Steps to a toilet-trained pup
1. Establishing a routine & choosing a toilet area
Establishing a routine early on in your puppy’s life will help them to thrive from an early age. This routine should include a feeding, bathroom and bedtime schedule, all of which will help them to understand what you are asking them to do. Plan to take your puppy outside to a designated toilet area first thing in the morning, after meals and before bed.
Our vet nurses recommend that you should decide on a specific spot outside where you want your puppy to go to the toilet. Using this spot consistently at the times mentioned above will help to reinforce the association.
You can also use puppy training pads to avoid indoor accidents. Place them in your puppy’s crate and by the back door, but still encourage your pup to toilet outdoors.
2. Verbal cues & rewards
Choosing a verbal cue such as “toilet” or “wee-wees” to consistently use every time you take your puppy to your chosen outside toilet area, will help them understand what is expected of them. Once they have been to the toilet, you should reward them. Using praise, affection or treats will positively reinforce what it is that you are asking them to do.
3. You need patience & consistency
Toilet training can often take several months to get right. Accidents do happen but there is no need to scold your puppy as they are still learning, plus, creating a negative association with toilet time will hinder your puppy’s progress. It is wise to invest in a good quality, pet safe, carpet cleaning solution though!
4. Constant supervision
Our veterinary nurses want new or potential new owners to understand how much work is needed to keep your puppy safe and successfully toilet trained. It can be difficult but similarly to a baby, they need constant supervision in the beginning and restricted access to areas where they could hurt themselves. Why not try using a playpen to restrict access to areas of your house where they may go to the toilet; it also allows you to keep them safe at the same time.
What else should you teach your puppy?
Alongside toilet training, there are a number of other basic commands that you should teach your puppy:
- “Sit” – useful to keep your puppy calm in new situations.
- “Come” – this is important to teach them for their safety when walking off-lead.
- “Stay” – another command to help keep them safe. Such as if they need to remain in one place or if the door is open to let a visitor in.
- “Leave it” – this can help your puppy avoid ingesting harmful objects or ruining your possessions!
- Walking on a loose lead is another useful technique to establish early. It allows for calm, more enjoyable walks without the fear they could run into traffic.
Toilet training, once it is established, makes a huge difference to your lifestyle moving forward. It allows your puppy to visit new houses, friends, go on dog-friendly holidays – the opportunities are endless. Investing the time early on with your puppy will ensure success in the future.
Get the above tips in an easy-to-use downloadable PDF that you can print & stick on your fridge to remind your whole family what’s needed for success.