The unconditional, slobbery love dogs bring into our lives is scientifically proven to reduce stress, improve mental health, and keep us fit (keeping them active keeps us active, too!). But training your new furry friend can be a challenge, especially when it comes to the potty. Teaching your dog where and how to go to the bathroom is a process that requires plenty of time and even more patience. Done right, it will keep your space cleaner and you and your dog happier! Here are some tips on how to make it a little easier.

 

Routine is key. 

 

Having regular potty breaks every day will go the longest way in potty training your friend over time. A routine helps them know that they’ll have an opportunity to go and will condition them to wait for that time. It’ll also help you keep up with when your pup last went out and know when they will probably need to go next. Set a routine that works for your schedule (and your pup’s) and stick to it best you can.

 

Reward, reward, reward. 

 

Let Fido know when X marks the spot. He wants to make you happy. Bring treats with you when you take him outside and give him one when he does it. This kind of positive reinforcement will go a long way in helping your dog understand what you want him to do. Not to mention, it’ll help you bond with your new friend and establish yourself as the authority in this new relationship. All Cowgill properties are dog-friendly, providing green spaces and doggy bags to make potty time (and clean up) easier. Check out our property pages for more information about our green spaces. 

 

Listen to your puppy. 

 

When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go. Same goes for your pup. Does he start sniffing? Whining? What other signs have you noticed he gives you when he needs to go? Paying attention to these things will help keep him on track. Trying to potty train him by making him hold it is not a recipe for success. 

If you want to take your training up a level, try bell training your pup. Hang a bell on your door and help him associate that sound with potty time by ringing it every time (every! single! time!) you take him out to go. Soon, he’ll start ringing the bell himself to let you know he’s got to go.

When all of that fails (because it will)

It’s important to recognize that, especially with younger puppies, accidents happen as they are learning. This can be frustrating, but keep f

rom punishing them to let them know what they did wrong. Negative reinforcement can instill fear around the process, which only makes it more difficult. Punishment can also undermine your relationship with your furry pal. 

When this happens, what you can do is make sure to clean it the right way. Use enzymatic cleaners right away to clean the mess – and all traces of the mess. This is important for keeping your apartment clean, of course, but it’s also important for the training process. Dogs’ sense of smell is 1000x that of a human. A lingering smell, even one that you can’t detect, might give them the idea that it’s their new potty spot. 

But with some patience, a few treats, and a little bit of cleaner, you and your pup will be well on your way to potty-trained bliss. Now for defending your shoes from becoming victims of playtime…