- Use all positive reinforcement—rewards—like your happy voice and occasional treats.
Hint: Be ready to be outside EVERY time with your puppy! Your new puppy relies on you to provide this positive reinforcement. If you are in the house when your puppy is going to the bathroom outside, he/she won’t know how pleased you are!
- NEVER use any form of punishment, like scolding, rubbing the puppy’s nose in the mess in the house or hitting your puppy.
Hint: Puppies crave any form of attention, even negative attention. If they get this attention for going to the bathroom in the house, THIS will become an unintentional reinforcement of the wrong behavior, resulting in the pup continuing to go to the bathroom in the house.
- Give your puppy the opportunity to do the right thing.
Hint: Take your puppy outside IMMEDIATELY after feeding. A handy little reflex tells the colon to empty when the stomach is full.
Hint: Always take your puppy outside first thing in the morning, before bed, and likely many more times during the day until a routine is established.
Hint: Try to use the same door each time. Ultimately, your puppy may learn to signal you at that door.
- DON’T give your puppy the opportunity to do the wrong thing!
Hint: If you can’t give your puppy your full attention, like if you’re reading, cooking, taking a shower or sleeping, then make sure your puppy is confined in small area, like a crate.
Hint: This small area should be large enough for the puppy to stand up and turn around, but not large enough to be able to walk from one end to the other. You want this to simulate a wolf’s den, not a condominium.