Having a dog is one of the greatest joys in the world. There is almost nothing like the feeling the love of a dog can bring to a home. If your home happens to be an apartment, enjoying life with little Sam Dogg is going to be a little more interesting and exciting. Part of this excitement will be going through potty training with your new puppy.
Potty training a dog is never easy. Even when you have the convenience of a yard, teaching an animal how to go potty can be a long and tedious chore, but when you live in an apartment, that chore can seem like a fight to the death of wills and waste. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. While there is no quick and easy way to ensure a simple time potty training your new puppy, we have put together some tips from the top dogs in the potty training biz to help make things go a little smoother for you and little Sam Dogg.
How to Potty Train Your Puppy in an Apartment
There are a whole host of new challenges that come with potty training a puppy in an apartment. Logistically, it seems like the world is against you, but with a little work and patience from everyone involved (including little Sam Dogg), things can be a little less stressful and you can enjoy that awesome feeling that can only come from the love of a dog.
Have a Little Patience
This cannot be emphasized enough. The one thing both you and your new puppy will need is some patience. Potty training is not an easy task and it is definitely not an overnight one. There will be ups and downs during this new adventure in puppy parenting, and there will be accidents.
It doesn’t matter how well behaved your new dog is, during the course of his potty training, he will have an accident or two… or ten. No matter how many, the key is to show your puppy the love and support you’d show your own child. Go into this experience with a smile on your face, a sense of humor in your heart, and a willingness to just shrug off the mishaps, and you will more than likely come out alive and in one piece on the other side.
Welcome to the Internet Age of Potty Training
The internet has been the superhero for many people looking to perform nearly any task you could possibly think of. Potty training a new puppy is no different. The first thing you should do before you even look at puppies is research the potty training and caring for a new puppy and dog. Remember, this little Sam Dogg will one day grow up and be an actual dog who will still require your love and care.
As you have likely seen by now, there is no shortage of information out there on how to potty train your pets. Much of this information is just general info aimed at pet owners with homes, but there is a lot of info to help those pet owners living in smaller spaces. While it may seem like the more information you have, the better off you are, too much information can actually be a bad thing sometimes. Making something as straightforward as potty training overly complicated will just confuse you and your puppy.
Look at joining groups on Facebook or other social media platforms. There is no end to the amount of dog and pet groups you will find on social media sites. Find some active ones that you enjoy or are local and see what tips they may have. Knowing you are not alone during the stressful periods can really go a long way to saving your sanity the next time there is an accident in your apartment.
Develop a Routine
This is a very important part of potty training a puppy in any type of home. As a puppy, your new family member is unsure of what the world has in store for him and what you expect of him. Giving him a routine can give him stability and confidence in knowing what he is supposed to do and when he is supposed to do it. This will help him develop strong habits early on.
This routine should not only cover potty breaks, but it should encompass everything that you and your pet do on a daily basis. Begin by feeding him at the same time every day. No matter how many times you feed your new puppy, be sure it is done at the same times every single day. This will ensure that your dog knows when it is time to eat, but it will also help you both know when it is going to be time to avoid an accident in your home.
Next, make sure you are taking your puppy out at the same times every day. This also means in the middle of the night, if you choose to not crate train your puppy. Again, this will help nail down those good habits, but it will also help your new dog know that if they do have to go, a trip around the block is not too far off.
Take Your Puppy Out Early and Often
Just like little kids, puppies always seem to have to go to the bathroom. To make things worse, they always seem to have to go at the worst possible times. Believe it or not, this is not being done on purpose. The truth is, puppies just really have to go to the bathroom often.
At first, neither of you will know what to think about this. Without proper guidance, your puppy’s first instinct will be to find a spot to make his bathroom in your home. This is obviously not a good idea, so show your new dog where they should be going by taking them out often. Start this routine right away after you get home.
Depending on the breed and other factors, your new puppy may need to go out as often as every twenty minutes or so. If you want to avoid accidents, this is the walk/outside schedule you should be keeping with your new puppy. As they become better potty trained and a little older, this can be reduced a little, but you want to ensure you are giving your puppy more than enough chances to go outside like they are supposed to.
Give Your Puppy Their Own Space
Puppies will have accidents when you’re potty training them. Nobody wants puddles of doggy pee and piles of poo all over their apartment. The easiest way to prevent this is by stopping your new dog from going all over your home.
At first, you may want to find a place where you can give your new dog his own space. He doesn’t need his own master bedroom or anything, but a bathroom or kitchen area that can be blocked off is ideal for a new puppy. Always use a baby gate or something similar that allows your new puppy to see and interact with you and the rest of the family. Never lock them inside a room with a closed door, especially for long periods of time. Locking them up inside a room alone will only make them anxious and bring about more accidents and possibly even cause more serious issues for them.
Giving your new puppy a little space like this ensures they are not running all over the apartment leaving little surprises for you. Choosing a room that has a tile or other hard floor will also make cleaning up much easier.
Learn the Potty Signs
It’s amazing how predictable puppies can be, even during their most unpredictable years. When you first bring your new dog home, you two will still have to get to know each other. There are some things you can know about your new puppy before you even bring him home that will definitely help you potty train your puppy in an apartment.
Learning the signs that your puppy has to use the bathroom will help you make sure you get them out when the time is right. There are plenty of signs that your dog may need to use the restroom. While not every dog will act in the same ways, these are some of the more common signs that a dog will have to be taken out:
- Sniffing around the ground
- Circling a particular area
- Pacing back and forth
- Whining or crying
If you see any of these signs, the safest bet is to take your puppy out as soon as possible. Even if it is a false alarm, the extra time outside together will only help your bonding. Build trust with your pet early for a lifetime of loyalty.
Prepare for the Worst
It has been said before and will be said again because it is important to remember that all puppies will have accidents. Remain calm and train on. Knowing this does not make things any easier to deal with every day, but it does help to prepare for these accidents ahead of time. You have already done that by giving them their own space and doing a bit of research on pet ownership and potty training.
To prepare for the actual accidents, use puppy pads, pee pads, or wee pads in the corner of their space. These potty pads are meant to catch and absorb moisture and wetness the same way a baby’s diaper would. These flat pads can be laid out wherever your puppy likes to go when he has accidents. The top layer is absorbent to catch the waste and the bottom layer is waterproof to avoid leakage. It is highly recommended that you be sure to place puppy potty pads wherever they are likely to go first thing in the morning to stop them from getting used to going potty anywhere else but the pad.
Turn Your Balcony Into a Lawn
Just because you aren’t lucky enough to have a yard of your own does not mean your dog doesn’t deserve their own yard. If you have a balcony, you can easily turn that little drab slab into something green and amazing for your pooch to enjoy each day with a dog porch potty or just a simple dog grass pad.
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, it is now as easy as can be to have a doggy litter box on your balcony. This handy gadget can be purchased in stores or made at home. In a nutshell, it is a patch of fake grass for dogs that they can use to relieve themselves, and you can easily clean. The dog would do their business on the fake grass and the liquid waste would make its way through a drain for easy disposal. Cleaning is as simple as hosing it down or pouring some hot water over the grass.
You can also choose to simply provide a grass patch for dogs. While not as elegant as a doggie porch potty, providing a realistic and safe alternative to your apartment flooring will help teach your new puppy where they should be going.
Catch Them Red Pawed
You know the signs that something is going to happen. That doesn’t mean you will always make it in time. In the chance that you catch them in the act of actually doing their business, make sure they know that you have seen them. Either clap or make a loud noise to signal your displeasure. Then immediately take your dog outside or to their doggie porch potty to show them where they should be doing their business at.
When you find a mess after the fact, do not punish them for it or rub their noses in it. Dogs do not understand why you are so upset as they cannot make the connection minutes or hours after they have gone to the bathroom. Pick up any poop that your dog has left for you and take it outside or to their porch potty. This can help them make the connection that this is where their poop is supposed to go.
Praise and Rewards Go a Long Way
Your dog can be looked at as a sort of sponge. They are eager to soak up everything that you want to teach them. You can use this to help reinforce the behaviors and habits that want to see more of. Whenever you see your dog go outside or on the grass pad, make sure you shower them with praise. This will reinforce the good behavior and make your puppy one happy camper.
This also goes for the times when you catch your puppy in the act. After they are brought out where they are meant to go potty and they actually do, praise them and offer them a reward. No matter if they just went inside your kitchen a few seconds ago, show them that going outside or on their pad is the right thing to do and make you very happy. They will remember this and want to see you happy again.
Plan for Those Long Work Days
Let’s face facts. There is no way you will be able to be home with your new puppy every minute of every day to ensure they are being taken out. Leaving them alone in a room can end up causing even more trouble for you and your dog. If you are going to be gone for a long time, think about investing in a training crate.
A training crate is a dog crate that you can keep your dog in for the time you are gone. Dogs do not like to go potty where they sleep, so leaving them in a crate for short times will help promote less bathroom activity. Over long periods of time, they will obviously go wherever they have to, which is why it is not recommended to keep your dog in a crate for too long. If you are going to be at work or out of the house longer than expected, have someone you can call to let your puppy out and clean up any mess.
Familiarity Is Always Helpful
When you do take your new dog outside, it can be helpful to find a spot you can always walk him. This is just another way to help little Sam Dogg remember when and where he is supposed to do his thing. Apartment life means you may not always have the chance to find a nice, spacious park for your dog to relax and go to the bathroom. You can look for a patch of grass nearby or set up a doggy porch potty on your balcony. Your dog doesn’t need much to be able to do his thing, but he does need someplace to do it. You could also add in a command gesture that will signal to your dog that this is where they are supposed to go to the bathroom.
It is good to remember that dog urine does not typically help plants and flowers grow. Make sure you are using a patch of grass or land that won’t land you and your pooch in hot water with neighbors or the city. Always check with local ordinances and pick up after your dog. Not only is it nasty and illegal, but it can also be harmful to the local plant life.
Extra Tools and Resources to Help Train Your Puppy
Nobody can do this alone. You and Sam Dogg are going to need some help from a few very useful tools and resources during this trying time.
Puppy Potty Pads
The most important item you will need to keep stocked while potty training a puppy or dog is puppy potty pads. These potty pads can go be a number of different names (pee pads, wee pads, puppy pads, etc), but they are the most useful tool in your potty training toolbelt. Using these pads will not only save you countless hours of frustration, but it will make cleaning up after the inevitable accident easier on you.
Find it here: Pet Training Potty Pee Pads
While it is not necessary that you rush out and buy treats specifically for training, training treats are designed to be small and easy for a quick reward. You can use any type of treat to reward your puppy after they go potty outside or on their doggie porch potty. You should not use full-size treats as rewards as they are too large and too many are not good for their health.
Pet Urine Cleaner
You will also need to make sure you have a cleaner that is specially formulated to handle pet urine. There are a number of products available that can clean well enough, but for the most bang for your buck, you will want to invest in some enzymatic cleaner. An enzymatic cleaner has special enzymes in it that can bond with biological molecules like those in urine, making the urine easier to clean and less likely to cause smells or stains.
Find it here: Rocco & Roxie Stain and Odor Eliminator
A training crate may not be necessary for everyone, but if you are going to be working or gone for long hours, it is definitely an important tool. These crates are only to be used while potty training your new puppy and only while you are gone or at work. While you’re home, your puppy should feel like a part of the family and not locked away from everyone else whenever possible.
Find it here: MidWest iCrate Dog Crate