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Trying to potty train a stubborn puppy can be extremely discouraging. House training is already tricky, and adding an obstinate personality to the mix doesn’t help.
Potty training a stubborn puppy requires a good routine for success. Young puppies aren’t fully in-tune with their own needs and your expectations yet, so they’re prone to making mistakes. But as long as you provide predictable rules and rewards, you’ll find that your puppy quickly acclimates to going potty outside.
In this article, I’ll explain some of the best methods to get your puppy fully potty trained. I’ll also clarify pet owners’ most common questions, such as how long potty training takes and the most common mistakes that lead to training failures.
How Long Does it Take to Potty Train a Puppy?
While it takes two to four months to potty train most puppies, the duration of the training tends to depend on your puppy’s personality and the level of guidance you’re able to provide. Particularly stubborn puppies or a lack of time to potty train may make it take longer for a puppy to get with the program. Potty training your dog is always possible with the right level of commitment and patience, regardless of how long it takes.
Why Your Puppy Isn’t Responding to Potty Training
Like toddlers, potty training is one of the most significant milestones for a puppy. The process can be long and difficult, but ultimately, it’s rewarding to see your puppy grow and learn. If your puppy isn’t responding to potty training, it’s essential to start by ensuring that your expectations are realistic.
A realistic range for potty training is between two and four months, but puppies can be much quicker or slower to learn in many cases. It’s essential to remember that potty training isn’t a race. Whether your puppy takes one month or six months, becoming fully potty trained is an incredible accomplishment.
If you’re noticing that your puppy is taking a long time to potty train, it’s also worth addressing potential mistakes that may impact the process. Using ammonia-based cleaners is a common mistake, as is failing to crate-train your puppy. You should also be dedicated to providing your puppy with a consistent potty routine.
How to Potty Train Your Stubborn Puppy
1. Develop A Reliable Routine
There’s no doubt that going potty frequently is necessary, especially for young puppies. If your puppy can’t reliably predict when they’ll next be taken outside, they will be less incentivized to hold it in. You should offer your puppy the opportunity to go potty every one to two hours. Eventually, your puppy will develop a predictable routine that you can stick with. And as they age and their bodies change, their need for potty breaks will become significantly less frequent.
2. Rule Out Potential Anxiety or Health Issues
If your puppy hasn’t responded to potty training at all, it’s essential to rule out the possibility that they might be experiencing anxiety or a health issue. Many medical problems can appear at a young age and cause potty issues, including:
- Bladder or kidney stones
- Liver disease
- Urinary Tract Infection
3. Teach Your Puppy the ‘Go Potty’ Cue
Many owners with a stubborn dog find that teaching a ‘go potty’ command simplifies the process. And luckily, this is easy to do! Every time your puppy pees in the correct spot, you should say the cue. It would be best if you said this in a neutral and calm tone of voice to ensure that it doesn’t interrupt them, and you can repeatedly say the cue to reinforce it. After your puppy goes potty, you should offer praise and treats to help solidify their learning.
4. Use Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is generally accepted as the best way to firmly establish potty training in puppies. You should offer a treat and praise immediately after your puppy finishes going potty to ensure that the association is strongest. It’s essential to keep the treats discreet until you’re immediately offering them to ensure that your puppy associates the potty training with relief and not with treats!
5. Crate Train Your Puppy
One essential step to potty training your puppy is limiting their access to the home. You should ensure they have access to solid flooring only with no carpet or rugs and place their crate in this area. Their crate should be large enough that they can comfortably sit, stand, lie down, and stretch out. You can leave your puppy in the crate for one hour every month until they’ve aged up to four months old (or four hours maximum in the crate). Since your puppy won’t want to soil their comfortable rest area, they will learn to control their potty needs.
6. Spay or Neuter Your Dog
If you’ve noticed your puppy has a bad habit of urinating in your home, it might be time to get them spayed or neutered. The uncontrolled hormones in a dog that hasn’t been spayed or neutered can cause issues like anxiety and a compulsion to “mark” the house as their territory. Luckily, if this is the cause of their marking, it’s very easy to resolve with a simple vet visit.
7. Use Pet-Friendly Cleaners
One of the most common mistakes leading to potty training failures is using ammonia-based cleaners. While the odor of ammonia is essentially undetectable to humans, it causes puppies to think that the entire house is a toilet. Luckily, enzymatic cleaners have been formulated for every purpose you can imagine — and using these cleaners will make potty training a lot simpler for yourself and your dog.
8. Do Not Use a Puppy Pad
Although a puppy pad can be a handy tool if you’re in a pinch, it is not recommended to use them for potty training. Although pee pads can help ensure that your puppy concentrates any accidents in one area of the house, they will not help a young puppy learn to go to the potty outside. Keep a pee pad on hand for emergency use only, and stick with a reliable routine to help your stubborn pup know that peeing is for outdoors only!
The Best Way to Potty Train a Stubborn Puppy
No matter how stubborn your puppy is, with the right amount of patience and consistency, it’s possible to get them potty trained. Since the puppy is so young, you’ll need to prioritize providing a predictable routine and clear positive reinforcement throughout dog training. And while it might feel challenging to maintain the routine at first, you’ll thank yourself once your stubborn puppy grows into a well-behaved dog!
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Welcome to Spike’s Dog Blog by Acme Canine. Throughout the site, you will find a variety of helpful dog training articles, insightful dog behavior tips, and truthful product reviews from nationally-recognized canine trainers and professionals.