What Is the Best Age to Potty Train a Puppy?

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Welcoming a new puppy into your home is one of the most exciting experiences. Your new little pup is absolutely adorable and you’re all about the unconditional love and cuddles. Yet, being a puppy parent isn’t all kisses and belly rubs.

Untrained puppies become untrained dogs and it’s one of the primary reasons why so many of them end up in shelters. It’s crucial that you find the best dog breed for your lifestyle and family so that everyone is happy and safe.

One of the toughest parts about acclimating a new puppy to your home is potty training. As much as it can be a hassle, it’s even worse to come home to a mess all over your floor. Fortunately, there are some potty training techniques that experts always recommend and that any new dog owner can try.

When Is it Time to Start Potty Training?

A good place to start is to determine when you should be potty training your new pup. There are varying views on this but a general consensus is that at eight weeks old, your puppy can start learning how to go potty outside. Why eight weeks?

Well, this is when most puppies can be taken away from their mothers and placed in new homes. The first eight weeks of their lives are typically spent learning how to communicate with other dogs, how to use their teeth, how puppy plays look, and much more.

Those first couple of months of a dog’s life are a huge learning curve and some puppies won’t even be ready for potty training at the eight-week mark. That’s totally okay though! Not all breeds — or dogs for that matter — are the same and your dog might need some extra time to develop its cognitive faculties a bit more.

Puppy See, Puppy Do

You should also consider that the younger your doggy is, the more it will look to you for direction and guidance on how the world works. Your little guy will look up to you as an older, bigger dog so pay attention to when you praise it. Sure, it’s cute when the dog runs off with your shoe the first time but you don’t want it to think that behavior is praise-worthy.

You can take advantage of your dog’s fondness for you by setting up routines and schedules, which will be a great help in your potty training adventure. At eight weeks old, your pup can hold its bladder for only a couple of hours, so keep that in mind when scheduling walks and outdoor time.

Helpful Potty Training Tools

Furthermore, you can use a crate when housebreaking your new puppy. Crates are also great for setting ground rules and developing good habits. They don’t have to be seen in a negative light, especially considering that dogs favor having a den-like environment of their own.

The way that a crate helps with potty training is that it teaches your puppy to keep its space clean. Just as you don’t want pee sitting in your living room, it doesn’t want a mess filling up its crate. Over time, it’ll associate doing its business with the outdoors.

Positive reinforcement is another tool that you can use to encourage your puppy to relieve itself outside. If you notice that it is pawing at the door or whining, take it outside and let it go potty. Then, praise it right away so that it associates the experience with reward.

Some dog owners also find clicker training to be helpful for potty training and behavioral problems as well. Finally, remember to be patient! Puppies are one of the joys of life but they’re also a whole lot of work.

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