By Cinthia | May 31st, 2012

Clicker training is a positive and effective way of teaching your dog.  It can be very useful when potty training a new puppy. The best way to potty train a puppy is to set it up for success at the very start.  Positive reinforcement, consistency, and the following pointers will start you and  your puppy on your way to a positive and successful potty training experience.

Set up the best environment for your puppy.  Since you can’t be with your puppy every minute of the day, set up a puppy playpen.  X-pens work great for this.  Put newspapers or puppy pads on the floor (so accidents don’t matter), a crate with soft bedding for sleeping, and a shallow box lined with puppy pads for relieving himself.  When puppy is very young, help him to find the puppy pads by gently placing him there.  soon he will find it on his own.  When you take your puppy outside, put some soiled puppy pads on the grass where you want him to go.  This should be the same place every time.  The smell of urine and feces will encourage him to go.

Keep track of your puppy’s schedule.  Puppies need to go out the instant they wake up, after every meal, and after play.  Immediately take them outside to their designated potty area or put them in their playpen.  Sometimes they can’t tell if they are going until it happens.  Don’t punish your puppy for mistakes.  It will make him distrust you and hide elimination from you.  Keep your puppy in their puppy playpen at night.  They will use the potty box if they have to go during the night.  As they get older they will be able to hold it during the night.

Don’t expect too much too soon.  The first few months are like infancy, when things are pretty hit or miss.  Up to six months is like toddler-hood for some breeds.  Remember to have patience, set your puppy up for success and be consistent.  Don’t expect too much too soon.

Click and treat for using the right places.  When you take your puppy outside WATCH HIM!  Click just as they are beginning to finish.  Give them a treat and a lot of praise and petting.  The click tells your puppy exactly what he did to make you so pleased.  Your puppy will remember that and will try it again to gain a reward.

Develop a cue for eliminating.  When your puppy is going in the right places, come up with a verbal cue like “Go Potty” or “Do Your Duty”.  Watch your puppy.  When he looks as if he is about to go, say the cue word, let them go, then click and treat.  With time and consistency, the cue word will “remind” them to go even without a click or treat.