1. Keep a schedule. Feed at the same times every day. Keep your dog’s bedtime and wake up routines to consistent times every day. We even suggest giving your dog a nap time in the middle of the day, at the same times every day. Small dogs need access to relieve themselves on the hour!
2. Supervise, supervise, supervise!!!! Initially, keep your dog on a leash whenever inside the home. You may use a pet tether (short leash) tied to a heavy piece of furniture, table, etc to keep your dog confined to small space. Do this for at least 2 weeks. Other options: Crate you dog, or keep your dog on a leash –while you are holding the leash. If your dog has successfully not gone potty in the home for 2 weeks you may move to the next step.
Weeks 2-4, start letting your dog stay in a small, non-carpeted area, i.e. bathrooms, laundry rooms, hallways, etc. Use baby gates to close off the area. .If your dog has successfully not gone potty in the home – you may move to the next step.
Weeks 4-6, allow your dog to freely be in the main areas of the home with close supervision and for short periods of time. (You may need to use a baby gate to keep the dog confined to the area for ease of supervision.)
Week by week, increase the amount of free time by 30 minute intervals.
Eventually, as you develop trust and a consistent pattern with your dog, you may start to leave your dog in the main areas of the home – unsupervised.
3. Know the signs! Dogs will typically pace, sniff fervently, or walk in circles to look for a spot to potty. If you see these pre-elimination signals – take your dog out immediately!
4. Caught in the act! If you catch your dog in the act of eliminating, quickly take your dog outside. If you don’t catch your dog in the act of eliminating (which shouldn’t happen under all the supervision that you are giving your dog!), simply remove your dog from the area and clean up the mess. Use a good neutralizer to thoroughly clean the area and do not allow your dog to have access to that spot again for 2 weeks (they tend to re-mark a fading scent).
5. Potty Time! Dogs typically have to go potty approximately 15 minutes after exercise, excitement, sleeping/napping, eating/drinking. This is why it is a good idea to feed at specific times and only allow your dog 15 minutes to finish the food. What is not finished can be saved for the next feeding. Don’t worry….your dog will not starve to death! Dogs learn to adapt and eat when the food is presented to them. By following a strict eating routine, you will have predictable times that your dog will need to eliminate. And, just to make it completely clear… Do Not Free Feed!
Follow this guideline and you will have a potty trained dog for life! If you still need help, contact us for a private lesson with one of our Certified Dog Trainers in you home.