Potty Training Protocol

This is the system we've used since 1990 at Front Range K9 Academy, as well as raising our own pups
here at Horsetooth Whippets.  Remember - supervision is THE key to successful potty training!

This protocol was designed for a very small, young puppy.  If training an adult dog - make absolutely sure
there are no medical reasons the dog is having trouble.   

RULE #1:  Potty...praise...play!!!   (If you get in the habit of always throwing the pup back in a kennel
immediately after it potties, it will start holding it longer and refusing to go quickly outside.  However, if you
praise lavishly for a quick potty-job and then play with the pup for 5 to 10 minutes, and THEN kennel it
again if you must, it will not associate going to the bathroom with being throw
n right back into its crate.)

Questions to ask yourself if you are having problems...

  • Am I taking the dog out enough?
  • Do I know every time he goes?
  • Does he have too much freedom in the house?
  • Am I watching him carefully when he is free in the house?
  • Is there any physical reason (intestinal parasites, urinary tract infection, etc.)?
  • Am I trying to move things along faster than this dog is able to learn - therefore skipping steps so the
    entire picture is unclear to my dog?
  • Am I consistently praising for appropriate behavior so he gets the idea?
  • Am I taking him out each time after he wakes up, after he plays, and after he eats?

The BEST rule of thumb is to ANTICIPATE the need!
As a general rule, the length of time a puppy can be left confined in his create without going outside is
roughly equal to his age in months:

2 months old = 2 hours of confinement without a potty break
3 months old = 3 hours of confinement without a potty break
4 months old = 4 hours of confinement without a potty break
etc. - up to about 6 - 8 months of age.

Remember, if your puppy has already learned to ‘go’ in his crate, you may need to decrease the amount of
time between potty breaks.

What often works is attaching the puppy to you with a leash throughout a good part of the day.   Because
the puppy is tied to you, you are much more aware of it, and can watch closely for ‘pre-potty’ behavior such
as sniffing, circling, squatting, and even the ‘potty face.’  (Yes, they do indeed sometimes make a specific
face).

By attaching the puppy to you, you can not only be on the look-out for signs that he has to go, but you can
correct him appropriately and in a TIMELY manner if he starts to go in the house, wisk him outside, and
praise him appropriately and in a timely manner for going where he’s supposed to.   If using the tethering
technique, don't forget to give yourself and the puppy some breaks - and make sure the pup has
opportunities to drink water and eat throughout the day!

Keep in mind that potty training is just that…a training, teaching process.   The only way we can change
that is by giving him a roadmap to success…showing him BOTH when he’s doing it wrong, and when he’s
doing it right.

On to the schedule:
(Obviously, you can adjust this to meet your actual needs, by varying the times, but NOT the frequency!)

NOTE:  Through each and every trip outside,
you MUST go outside with him.

6 AM:  Puppy wakes up, and is immediately taken outside.  ‘The Potty Routine’:  You give him his cue words
(go potty, do your business, etc. etc.)  Repeat the words over and over, especially while he’s sniffing and
looking for a spot to go.  When he begins to go, repeat the words again, and praise warmly, but not so
enthusiastically that he gets excited and forgets what he’s out there for.  Give him 5 - 7 minutes to get it
done, and then come inside.  If he hasn’t gone, repeat every 10 to 15 minutes until he does go.  DO NOT
LET HIM OUT OF YOUR SIGHT in between trips outside until he goes.

6:10 – 6:15 AM:  measure 1/3 of puppy’s daily allowance of food for the day into bowl and just enough warm
water to let it begin to expand.  Be sure the food has time to sit on the counter & expand, instead of in the
puppy’s stomach, where it can cause gas, discomfort, bloating and even diarrhea.

6:30 AM:  Feed the puppy.  Put the bowl down and set your timer! (for ten minutes)

6:40 AM: Pick up the bowl…whether it’s empty or not!  And dump any remaining food.

6:55 AM:  Take the puppy outside and repeat the potty routine.  If he doesn’t go within 5 minutes, come
back inside, but watch him like a hawk.  Take him outside & repeat the potty routine every 10 to 15 minutes
until he goes!  Once you’ve gotten the first pee & poop of the day out of the way, you can relax some, but
remember, he’ll have to go about 10 minutes after any change in activity (after sleeping, after playing, and
after eating).

8:30 – 8:45:  Repeat the potty routine.  (Do this sooner rather than later if he’s been especially active, or
has just woken up from a nap.)  Remember, eating, sleeping and playing are your ‘cues.’  If he’s been doing
any of these activities, TAKE HIM OUTSIDE…whether it’s on the schedule or not.  Right now our goal is to
get him doing things right outside as often as possible.

11:00 AM:  Repeat the potty routine.  Remember, eating, sleeping and playing are your ‘cues.’  If he’s been
doing any of these activities, TAKE HIM OUTSIDE…whether it’s on the schedule or not.

11:15 AM:  measure another 1/3 of puppy’s daily allowance of food for the day into bowl and just enough
warm water to let it begin to expand.  Be sure the food has time to sit on the counter & expand, instead of in
the puppy’s stomach, where it can cause gas, discomfort, bloating and even diarrhea.

12:30 PM:  Feed the puppy.  Put the bowl down and set your timer!

12:40 PM:  Pick up the bowl…whether it’s empty or not!  And dump any remaining food.

12:50-1:00 PM:  you guessed it…it’s time for the Potty Routine again.

2:45 PM:  Repeat the potty routine.  Remember, eating, sleeping and playing are your ‘cues.’  If he’s been
doing any of these activities, TAKE HIM OUTSIDE…whether it’s on the schedule or not.

4:30 PM:  Repeat the potty routine.  Remember, eating, sleeping and playing are your ‘cues.’  If he’s been
doing any of these activities, TAKE HIM OUTSIDE…whether it’s on the schedule or not.

5:00 PM:  measure the last 1/3 of puppy’s daily allowance of food for the day into bowl and just enough
warm water to let it begin to expand.  Be sure the food has time to sit on the counter & expand, instead of in
the puppy’s stomach, where it can cause gas, discomfort, bloating and even diarrhea.

5:15 PM:  Feed the puppy.  Put the bowl down and set your timer!

5:25 PM:  Pick up the bowl…whether it’s empty or not!  And dump any remaining food.

5:35 – 5:40 PM: Potty Routine

7:15 PM:  Potty Routine.  After wards, encourage play and/or obedience routines to tire puppy out.

7:30 PM:  Pick up water for the night.

9:15 PM to morning:  You may or may not need to let your pup out throughout the night (I used to advise
waking them up to go in the middle of the night, but now I only take them out if they actually wake ME up,
instead of the other way around).  Even if your pup is waking you up in the night, this will pass as he or she
ages and bowel & bladder muscle control continues to develop.

6:00 AM:  set water back down and start all over again.

Last but not least, keep a journal of his routine, how well you were able to stick to it, AND record any
accidents.