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Bluegrass Bernedoodle Blog

Potty Training Your New Puppy

Effectively house training your puppy makes a huge difference in the success of you and your dog living harmoniously together. This is a big deal and we want to help you do it right.

Your First Night Together

Depending on your bedtime schedule, remove food 4-5 hours and water 2-3 hours before bedtime to allow the puppy a greater chance of holding it all night. At bedtime tonight, we suggest taking puppy out to potty then put puppy in the crate and cover top and all 4 sides. Turn on a fan for sound or even a playlist of soothing sounds/music. Most of our pups sleep through the night, but if for some reason they alert you that they need to go out in the middle of the night, make sure they know it's not play time. Be matter of fact (as little talking as possible) and get down to business. Simply take them out of the crate, carry them outside to their designated potty area, tell them "go potty". The moment you see them go, mark it with "yes" as soon as he goes and you can reward with a treat. Then carry puppy inside and put back in the crate, cover it, turn on fan or music.

Your First Day Together

As soon as puppy wakes up in the morning, repeat the same process. Take them out of the crate, carry them for the first 2 weeks to their designated potty area, tell them "go potty" and the moment you see them go, mark it with "yes" right there in the moment. It's important not to reward after they come into the house, because this will associate the reward for coming inside. They need praise and the reward, the moment they finish going potty. A common mistake is mixing the positive reinforcement with the mark by being overly excited when saying "YES!". Simply, mark it with a distinct "Yes!", "Yes, puppy!" wait until they finish going potty and then insert the excitement. Treats, touch, praise is the second part of the positive reinforcement. This helps them associate going potty in their designated spot with the reward.

Keep in mind that, while in a crate a 2 month old puppy can hold their bladder for approximately 2 hours during the day. A 3 month old puppy can hold it for 3 hours, etc. If you need to be gone longer than your puppy can hold it, set up a pen with a water bowl and potty area inside. Young puppies may need to potty every 15-20 minutes while out playing so watch them closely while in your home! The main goal for the first few days of crating is just long enough that they are holding their potty and learning to get familiar with pressure on their bladder. This also gives you the opportunity to potty train! You can crate them for too long at this age, but you can't give them too many small interval opportunities in their crate.

Suggested Daily Schedule

From Baxter and Bella Online Puppy School

6am Wake Up + Potty

Potty Break Protocol:

  • Did your puppy go to the bathroom?

  • NO = Crate time OR watch them 100% for 5-10 minutes and try again

  • YES = Playtime inside the house... remember to watch your puppy closely!

  • Take your puppy to potty approximately every 30-60 minutes while awake

7am Potty Break Protocol + Breakfast + Training/Play

9am - 11am Crate Time

Give your puppy a safe chew item, cover the crate, turn on a fan or music/relaxing sounds.

11am Potty Break Protocol + Lunch + Training/Play

1pm - 3pm Crate Time

Give your puppy a safe chew item, cover the crate, turn on a fan or music/relaxing sounds.

3pm Potty Break Protocol + Training

5pm - 7pm Crate Time

Give your puppy a safe chew item, cover the crate, turn on a fan or music/relaxing sounds.

7pm Potty Break Protocol + Dinner + Training

After dinner take up any remaining food/water. This increases the chances that they sleep through the night without needing to go out.

10pm Bedtime

Place in the crate for the night. You can give them a safe chew, cover the crate, turn on a fan or music/relaxing sounds.

General Breakdown:

6-9 Wake Up/Train/Eat Play

9-11 Crate Time

11-1 Train/Eat/Play/Housetrain

1-3 Crate Time

3-5 Train/Play/Housetrain

5-7 Crate Time

7-10 Train/Eat/Play

10pm Bedtime – In Crate

Puppy Training Q+A

Puppy is going potty in the house A LOT, what can we do?!

A: Start house training your new pup one room at a time. In the beginning it's best to keep them in one smaller area of your home with no carpets or rugs. The idea is to keep their living space small enough to set them up for success. We use crates/pens and baby gates to limit your puppy's access to the rest of the home. Once your puppy keeps their current space consistently clean without accidents for at least a week, you can add another living space.

We take puppy out to potty, giving plenty of time and they never go. As soon as we come in the house, puppy goes potty inside. What are we doing wrong?

A: You have to designate a specific potty area, taking them to the same spot each time. Once you get puppy out of the crate, pick him up and carry him all the way to the potty area every time for at least the first 2 weeks. Then hang around as long as it takes. Start using the exact same language each time "go potty, go potty..." Immediately when he starts to potty use a distinct "Yes!, Yes!" This is the teaching moment. "Yes!" is your mark word for every positive interaction. Try making it a habit of using that, then pay him for it, treats/touch/praise. You have to stick around to mark the behavior. Eventually puppy figures out why you've taken him outside. If you don't mark it and they have to figure it out on their own this can take 6-8 months. You have to teach potty just like anything else. Consistency is key. Everyone in the house has to be doing it the same way.

Should I scold them for going potty in the house?

A: Negative never works when training a puppy. When your puppy has an accident, simply clean it up and move on. Only clap hands and scold vocally IF you catch your puppy going potty. Rubbing their nose in it, etc. is not acceptable and is a complete waste of time. In your pup's brain, they're wondering why you are making them smell their own urine or feces. They know what it smells like!

Potty Training Your Puppy to Your Entire House

Baxter & Bella Online Puppy School says, "We start house training a puppy one room at a time. The idea is to keep their living space small enough to set them up for success. We use crates/pens and baby gates to limit your puppy's access to the rest of the home. Once your puppy keeps their current space consistently clean without accidents for at least a week, is ringing the bell in the area consistently to go out, then add another room to their current living space. If they were in the kitchen, add the living room, etc."

Quick Tip: Playpens can be easier than putting up gates. Facebook Marketplace can be a great place to snag one quick. If you can't find one on Facebook click here to find it on Amazon.

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Before allowing them in a new area of the house, take them to potty beforehand. Then immediately come inside and have a play session in the new space. Try to spend enough time there until your puppy needs to potty again. This gives you the opportunity to continue helping them build good habits, by finding the bell to tell you to go potty. The first few times you include the upstairs as an added space they're allowed in, you may need to use a leash to walk your puppy to the bell from upstairs until they learn that, "Yep, I must ring the bell no matter where I am in oder to go outside and yes potty must be done outside." (Need to order the bells? Click here.)

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Dogs do not generalize like we do so each new environment means behavior must be retaught there. They pick up on the behaviors in the new space more quickly so we repeat this process until our entire house is included. Once they generalize a few new rooms it goes faster. We may introduce the entire basement at once, but we usually wouldn't recommend this until your puppy is at least six months old before we even get to that point. As a timeframe, we wait until after 1 year to completely trust a puppy in our home. Also note, every puppy is unique and we work with each puppy on their level. If they are not ready by one year we keep helping them by limiting their living space until they are ready.

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(We love these crates pictured above! They're pretty enough to use as end tables! Click here to find them on Amazon!)

Be the TRAINER and not the TRAINEE. There's training happening, either you're training your pup or they're training you to get what serves them best.

Baxter and Bella, has built an entire online doggy school with over 75 lessons planned and field trips to help you teach your dog a variety of behaviors. Need help in this area? Give their online puppy school a try and gain access to personalized advice from their trainers any time you want! Happy training!

All our families that have used it, absolutely love it! If you have any questions or want to learn more about it click here.

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bluegrass bernedoodles potty training


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