Welcoming a new puppy, young or old, into your household is an exciting experience. Each pup has his own way of asking to go potty; it's up to you to discover his signal and watch for it, or to teach him a signal for going out, such as ringing a bell. Use positive reinforcement when he potties outside and never punish him for accidents inside.
Catch Him When He's Ready
Almost all puppies use their noses when searching for the perfect potty spot. After finding it, they usually rotate in a circle before squatting. When you see your pup sniffing as if he's searching, take him outdoors. If he goes potty outside, give him a reward and praise him immediately. Other times your puppy often needs to go potty are when he wakes up, soon after eating and when he's excited.
He Sits and Stares
Your puppy may not know how to tell you he has to go potty, even if he wants to. He might pace in front of the door, or simply sit and stare at it, as if he's willing it to open. He may ignore the door, but sit and stare at you intently. Some puppies are not very vocal about their needs, and you must pay attention to avoid missing their silent signals.
He Barks, Whines or Scratches
Your puppy can be determined to get your attention when he needs to go potty. He may bark or whine at the door, or scratch on it. He might bark or whine at you, letting you know he wants something. Some pups will paw at you to get your attention. If your puppy wants your attention, he may be telling you he needs to go potty.
He Can Learn to Ring a Bell
Ringing a bell is an easy trick for your puppy to learn, and it may save your door from scratches. You can hear the bell and know he needs to go potty, even when you're in a different room. Hang one or more bells from the doorknob, within nose reach for your puppy. Use bells that are large enough to prevent choking and have no openings that your puppy's nails can get caught on.
Karen Mihaylo has been a writer since 2009. She has been a professional dog groomer since 1982 and is certified in canine massage therapy. Mihaylo holds an associate degree in human services from Delaware Technical and Community College.