House training your puppy or young dog to go to the toilet outside and be able to wait until they are given the chance to go is one of the most important elements of puppy training, but can also be one of the most challenging! While some dogs seem to understand instinctively that they need to do their business outside, this can be a harder concept to grasp for others, and the whole process can be a little bit hit and miss.
One stage of interim training that many puppy owners use to get their dogs used to appropriate toileting is using puppy pads within the house, to allow your pup an area to go to the toilet when you are not there, or they cannot hold it in! If you have successfully trained your pup to use their puppy pads, getting them through to the next stage of going outside and asking to go out shouldn’t be too hard, but many dog owners are a little unsure as to how to go about it.
In this article, we will look at how to wean your pup away from using puppy pads in favour of toileting outside. Read on to learn more!
Steps to outside toileting
If your pup has got used to going to the toilet in one particular spot of the home where you use your puppy pads, getting them used to a new routine of going out is the next logical step. Here’s how to go about it.
- Even if your pup is used to being taken outside and is learning all about the outside world, some will actually seem to resist doing their business until they come back inside to the puppy pads, as this is what they have learnt to do thus far! There is also an element of scent marking in some cases when it comes to using puppy pads, and some dogs will actively wait to use the pad, or not toilet fully when outside in order to keep something in reserve!
- Ensure that you have plenty of time to dedicate to trying to get your pup to toilet outside, as this may mean that you need to spend quite some time hanging around with them waiting for them to do their business!
- Try to suss out the times of the day when your pup usually goes to the toilet, and get into the routine of taking them outside just before these times, and waiting until they do their business. Remember that some pups may be deliberately holding it in until they get back inside, but if you wait long enough, nature will take over!
- Any time that your pup does do their business outside, praise them warmly and give them a treat.
- An interim stage in training is when your pup will go to the toilet outside, but also uses the training pads when this is convenient to them. At this stage, you will need to look at removing the convenience of the pads, and thoroughly eradicating the smell of previous toileting from the area in question.
- Take the pads up and use an enzymatic cleaner to remove any traces of the associated scent of toileting, and if possible, cover the area where the pads used to be with an item of furniture to keep the area off limits.
- If your pup is apt to head straight for the training pads when you bring them back inside from toileting, keep your pup on the lead, and when they make the move to use the pads, take them right back outside again. Keep repeating this process until your pup gets the hang of things!
- Remember that in order to get your pup comfortable with going outside and rejecting use of the pads, the whole experience must be a positive one for them. Always praise and reward when your dog does their business outside, and offer treats to encourage them to go.
- Ensure that your pup is not toileting inside because you are not making enough provision for them to go out, and even if you have gotten to grips with your pup’s regular toileting routine, give them plenty of extra opportunities to go out. Your dog’s feeding schedule will largely dictate how often and precisely when they will need to do their business, so bear in mind that any changes to their feeding times or amounts will have an effect on when they need to go!
- Always pay attention to the signs that your dog needs to go out, and never ignore them when they ask to go out. This can not only lead to accidents, but will also put back your training somewhat, as your pup will not reliably get their needs met by asking to go outside.