It’s that time of year when many people have received a puppy for Christmas and are now trying to housetrain the puppy. Being away from his mother, sisters and brothers isn’t easy for a new 2-month old puppy. The new surroundings of your home and all the new sights and smells that go along with it doesn’t make it any easier. Reduce your puppy’s stress and fear by spending a lot of time together. The more time you spend with your pup at a young age the stronger your lifelong bond will be.
The first few months of puppyhood are a physical and emotional rollercoaster for your baby. Puppies can sleep up to 18 hours a day, but don’t be surprised if your puppy is zipping around the house and bouncing off walls one minute, then fast asleep the next. This is totally normal, and as your puppy gets used to the new surroundings sleeping patterns will start to normalize.
Time to tackle tinkle! Pee, poop, and the occasional vomit, a nice introduction to parenthood indeed. Household accidents are inevitable, but potty training doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. With a few steps and consistency, you will be well on your way to potty training nirvana.
Step 1: Buy a Crate
Crate training is a housetraining God send. Choose a crate with a dividing wall so you can adjust the crate’s size according to your puppy’s growth. The crate area should be large enough for your 2-month puppy to stand up and walk comfortably in a full circle.
Step 2: Introduce the Puppy to the Crate
The crate should be a safe zone for your puppy; add a soft blanket or an old T-shirt with your scent to make it a cozy environment. You will need to bribe your pup at first by providing treats, toys, and even full meals when introducing your puppy to the crate.
Step 3: Keep the Gate Open
Leave the door ajar until your pup feels comfortable entering on his own. Once your furry companion has established his crate as a “safe zone” you can close the gate for short bits of time. Start with 5 min, then 10, then 30… you get the point.
Step 4: Crate Placement
Start with the crate close by as you hang out watching TV, reading, or doing computer work. Place the crate close to your bed at night as well. This will help cut down on your pup’s separation anxiety while in the crate.
Step 5: Designate a Potty Spot
Always bring your puppy to the same spot. Your puppy learns by doing, so the more opportunities he has to go in the same spot, the more likely your pup is to build a strong preference for that area.
Step 6: Praise and Treat Don’t Craze and Beat
Never get mad at your pup for having an accident inside. Punishment may make your puppy fear you and hide when he needs to go. Always bring some tasty treats on your walk and reward your puppy handsomely when he tinkles in the right spot.
Step 7: Prevent Daytime Accidents
The best offense is a good defense. Supervision and management is crucial in the early days. Keep your puppy on a light leash even when indoors, use a puppy play-pen to confine movement to a small area and use the crate anytime you leave the house. The more accidents you can avoid, the faster the housetraining process will go.
Step 8: Sleep is Overrated
Having a puppy is like having a newborn. The baby will cry at night in the crate, and most likely it will be because he needs to tinkle. If your baby wakes up and whines, go directly from the crate to the potty spot. This will happen several times a night at first, but it will get better in a couple of weeks as your baby will begin to sleep through the night. Don’t let your pup roam free at night or accidents will inevitably occur.
Step 9: Timing is Key
Keep an eye on the clock. You should take your puppy to the designated potty spot every time he exits the crate, 15 minutes after every meal, and after a long stint of playing.
Step 10: Quick Cleanup
Clean any accidents up right away so your pup doesn’t confuse the couch or closet for the designated potty area.
Step 11: Patience is a Virtue
Housetraining is a process and it takes a while. Most puppies aren’t fully housetrained until well past the 6-month mark. Your puppy will pick it up more and more each day, so stay positive and keep up the good work!