How to Train a Puppy on the Fast-Track System

by June Beck

    Training an 8- to 12-week puppy to urinate or defecate in the preferred area takes consistency and a calm, patient attitude. While too young to clearly communicate when she needs to eliminate, your puppy is not too young to respond quickly to positive reinforcement. Maximize the puppy's sincere desire to please you.

    Establish

    Step 1

    Establish the preferred potty area, and take your puppy there first.

    Establish

    Step 2

    Say, "Potty," or some other word you choose, when you can see that he's going potty, and he'll learn to eliminate on command.

    Establish

    Step 3

    Say, "Good potty," or insert the command word of your choice, after she completes her business. Be enthusiastic.

    Establish

    Step 4

    Take him often, establishing not only the place but routine. This will minimize mistakes.

    Control

    Step 1

    Take the puppy to the established potty area before putting her in her crate. Never put the puppy in the crate until after she has eliminated.

    Control

    Step 2

    Use the crate only for an hour or two. You want to allow for an accident, not encourage one.

    Control

    Step 3

    Use a safe baby gate or exercise pen when you're going to be gone for longer than the one or two hours acceptable for keeping the puppy in the crate. Cordon off a tiled area--the kitchen or laundry room. Put newspaper or potty pads down, and leave food and water available so your puppy's needs are met.
    As soon as you return, take the puppy to the preferred potty area, and as soon as possible, clean up any mess in your home with enzymatic cleaner. Your puppy will eliminate where she has gone before unless she cannot smell it, and this will avoid repeat mistakes in the same spot inside your home.

    Control

    Step 4

    Set an alarm at night if you won't be close enough to hear when he fusses in the crate. Expect him to have to go in the night and take him to the potty area, sending the right message.

    Anticipate

    Step 1

    Take her to the potty area after she finishes eating. Don't wait until she's sniffing the ground in your home for a place to eliminate.

    Anticipate

    Step 2

    Supervise playtime. Take him to the potty area when you notice him sniffing the ground instead of playing. Don't wait for him to squat. Err on the side of caution.

    Anticipate

    Step 3

    Note his schedule, and anticipate potty needs. In the first few days, it's best to visit the potty area frequently to avoid mistakes.

    Anticipate

    Step 4

    Clean up after mistakes inside the home with an enzymatic cleanser that will eliminate odor.

    Items You Will Need

    • Newspaper or potty pads
    • Crate
    • Safe baby gate or exercise pen
    • Enzymatic cleanser

    Tips

    • Never criticize a mistake.
    • Always praise elimination in the designated area.
    • Be consistent.

    Warnings

    • Too much time in the crate will defeat the purpose.
    • An unsupervised puppy will make a mistake.
    • A puppy that has learned bad habits will take longer to train.

    About the Author

    June Beck holds an M.A. in English studies and teaches English at a community college. In her spare time she's a writer for hire. She has been published in "Ascent Aspirations" and "The Women's Press;" she also writes for The Union Advocate, a quarterly newsletter, and has completed her first novel, "The Possibility of Justine."

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