Potty Problems

Potty training can be difficult for a puppy in winter, especially one from the warm south. It still needs to be done though. Einstein is doing better but he began to regress as the temp dropped below zero. He had a few accidents in the house. One trick I used to help keep these areas from becoming his new bathroom is by first using enzymatic cleaner. Once cleaned and dried I made sure to spend time with Einstein in that spot. Laying our scent down in the area to help it smell more like us and make it a living space verse a bathroom. Then, I fed Einstein his next meal on top of the area where he had an accident. No bowl, just kibble on the floor. This did the trick. His next accident was on the kitchen rug. I followed the same steps and voila! This is very effective, but it isn’t enough. We also need to be taking the dog potty frequently and especially after behaviors that indicate the dog is likely to have to go. These behaviors include suddenly stopping playing, smelling around, just waking up, and after meals and big drinks. Letting the dog out to go potty by themselves just doesn’t cut it, and actually makes the process take longer. Even if its winter!!! I had to accompany Einstein outside and be next to him when he actually went to the bathroom that way, I could reinforce that behavior. Many people stand by the door and when the dog comes inside, he gets a treat. This reinforces the recall, NOT the potty outside. It’s also important that we are not punishing the dog for going inside. If we catch the dog in the act, we need to quickly interrupt the accident and take them to the correct spot to finish. The myth of rubbing a dog’s nose in their potty accident doesn’t teach them that potty in the house is bad. It teaches them that the human is bad, and that they shouldn’t go to the bathroom around them. This is problematic because if your dog won’t potty around you, they will sneak off and potty in a low frequency area. This is commonly the case when you take your dog outside and they hold it, but then as soon as you’re inside they release. They need to know where to go, not just where not to go. We need to reward the dog for the potty outside, with good timing of reinforcement so we are rewarding the correct behavior. If dogs could talk, we would want them to say, “My owner is weird, she always follows me around when I have to go to the bathroom, but she gives me treats when I’m done! I always want to potty outside, in front of my owners.” Another way to help the process is by keeping track of the dog’s bathroom habits. By marking down when the dog uses the bathroom every time you can learn their potty patterns. U=Urine, D=Defecate, and A/_ implies and accident. Not only will it teach you of your dog’s habits but, even of yours. If you sleep in on Saturdays and every Saturday morning they have an accident, it’s likely because of the schedule change. The change in your behavior is the cause of the accident.  I’ve included a behavior chart to keep track of your dog’s potty progress!! Never hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.