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The best way to potty train a puppy without a crate

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For many new puppy owners one of the biggest challenges that they face is the matter of house training, or as some people put it ‘potty training’.

There are some people that recommend the use of a crate to ‘train’ the puppy, but this is not necessary and is actually not a good idea – which we’ll come onto shortly.

We always advise house training properly – ie. without a crate

The best way to potty train a puppy is without using a crate and it is a very simple task. All you need to do is to be consistent. Take the puppy out when he wakes up as, just like you do, he will need the toilet. Let me out after eating, waking and at regular times of the day. Pay attention to him, as he starts to sniff around or circle, let him out. You will soon see success. Crates are not needed.

the best way to house train a puppy without a crate

When to start house training a puppy

You should begin house training a puppy as soon as he comes to live with you. If you have a safe and secure back yard or garden or similar space then this can be used for your dog.

It is a simple matter to take your puppy outside regularly, to let him scamper around and relieve himself. As soon as he does use some simple words such as ‘be quick’ and praise him before taking him back indoors.

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Repeat this at regular intervals and always after your puppy has woken up, after meals and whenever he appears restless or starts to ‘sniff’ around.

Be patient and give him the chance to find a spot to go to the toilet.

Crates are not needed for house training puppies

There are many people who recommend the use of a crate for housetraining, but the reality is that they are not needed.

They work on the thinking that the puppy will not go to the toilet in his sleeping area and that by keeping him locked in a box they can control his bladder and bowels.

There may be some truths is this but is it really a good way to house train a dog? And, more importantly does it really work?

We’ve seen ‘crate trained’ dogs who certainly don’t use the crate as a toilet but the rest of the house is fair game because he won’t pee in his crate but has no idea that he cannot use the rest of the home as a toilet.

By locking a puppy in a crate you teach him nothing and he learns little. A crate is useful as a bed, safe place or to provide some security for your dog but should never by used as a method of ‘control’ to stop him using the toilet.

the best way to potty train a puppy without a crate

Things to remember when potty training a puppy

The first thing to remember is that if the puppy has an ‘accident’ in the house then that is your fault and not the puppy’s.

  • You are housetraining the puppy because you do not want him making a mess in the home, but, to the puppy it makes no difference at all where he goes to the toilet.
  • You are seeking to show him where you would like him to go. Remember he is a dog, a baby, and you are the human – he doesn’t think like you do.
  • So, if he makes a mistake then it is your fault – not his.
  • Get yourself prepared with some cleaning products as this process will not happen overnight and it will take some time for your puppy to get the idea.
  • Ignore the experts and all of the ‘old wives’ tales’ – anyone who tells you to smack, discipline or rub the puppy’s nose in it is an idiot and knows nothing about dogs.

The best way to house train a puppy

It is not difficult but it will not happen overnight, remember that your puppy is a baby.

  • Be consistent – dogs learn best when their routines are the same daily
  • Take your puppy out as soon as he wakes up – in the morning and during the day after he has woken up. This is important, do not neglect this
  • Puppies only have small bladders – you need to take him out regularly preferably every hour. The longest amount of time should never be more than two hours.
  • After he has eaten – food will press down onto his bowel and he’ll probably need to go – so take him out
  • Use the same spot – take your puppy to the same place when you take him out. The familiar scent will encourage him to use the toilet
  • Be patient – don’t try to rush him, you will need to wait until he does something, and, with some puppies, this could take a while
  • Praise him when he goes outside – use kind words, encourage him, maybe give him a small treat – be positive
  • Never, ever punish him when he makes a mistake or mess inside – if he makes a mess in the house then guess whose fault that is – yours
  • Ignore the old wives‘ and experts that talk of rubbing his nose in it and other rubbish – they do not know what they are talking about

To recap

Remember puppies are baby dogs and if it all goes wrong then it is either your fault ( as the intelligent human ) or he simply has not understood what is needed – this is true in all things when teaching dogs new things.

  • Be consistent
  • Be patient
  • Don’t get frustrated
  • Be prepared for the occasional mess inside
  • Pay attention to the puppy
  • Don’t be lazy with puppy potty training
  • Never punish the puppy

If you are consistent and patient then you will find that most puppies will get the idea quite quickly. 

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