Training to Use a Potty Spot

Teach your puppy to eliminate on command. This lesson is handy both when he is too distracted and won't potty or when he's on a surface that he's inclined not to potty on — for example, a kennel run, wet grass, or where other puppies have been. Others will go potty only if they're in a particular area or taken for a walk. By teaching your puppy to eliminate on command, you can get him to go where you want, when you want, and simplify the housetraining process. Here's how to do it.

Sticking to your schedule of getting your puppy out for regular walks will help immensely in your housetraining efforts.

Leash your puppy and take him to the potty spot. When he begins the sniffing and circling ritual that immediately precedes elimination, start chanting a phrase like Potty, hurry up. What you say is unimportant, but it should sound melodic and should always be the same phrase. Use the same words for defecation and urination. When your puppy starts to go, praise him profusely (What a good puppy dog!) and give him a special treat, like a sliver of hot dog or cheese. After a week of chanting while your puppy is relieving himself, begin the chant as soon as you enter the potty area. Always praise when he does what you want and give him an extra-special reward of playtime in the yard or a stroll around the block.

If you take your puppy to his potty spot and he doesn't eliminate right away, take him back inside for a few more minutes until you're certain he needs to. Don't take your puppy outside, ask him to do his business, and take him for a walk whether he does or not. Teach him that going potty right away means getting a walk. If you dash back inside after puppy's gone potty, he'll learn that the only way to get a walk out of you is to hold it — and the only way for you to take him out is to go in the house. Remember, reward him for doing the correct thing: pottying in his spot when you ask him. Then and only then should he be rewarded.

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