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How to toilet train your puppy: common errors

Unfortunately there are many reasons why ‘toilet training’ might not go as smoothly as it could, so make sure you do not make any of the following mistakes:

* Over-feeding.

* Feeding an unsuitable diet or giving a variety of foods.

* Not feeding at regular times.

* Feeding at the wrong times (which could cause overnight defecation).

* Punishing the puppy for its indoor accidents (which can make it scared of toileting in front of you – even outside).

* Feeding salty foods (e.g. stock from cubes) which makes them drink more.

* Using ammonia based cleaning compounds (which smell similar to urine).

* Expecting the puppy to tell you when it needs to go out; this is unrealistic, so it is better to take them out at regular intervals.

* Leaving the back door open for the puppy to come and go as it pleases (a puppy will think that the garden is an adventure playground, rather than a toilet area. Also, what is a puppy meant to do when the weather gets cold, and it is faced with a closed back door?).

* Leaving the puppy on its own too long, so that it is forced to go indoors (which sets a bad precedent, or even a habit of going indoors).

* Mistakenly associating the words ‘good girl’ or ‘good boy’ when they toilet, as opposed to the specific cue words. Guess what could happen the next time you praise your dog?

* Access to rugs or carpet (which are nice and absorbent – just like grass).

* Laziness on your part, resulting in more wees indoors than outdoors.

* Leaving the puppy alone in the garden, so you are not there to reward it for going outdoors… how is it meant to learn that it is more popular and advantageous going outdoors, if you are not there to show your approval?

* Submissive or excited urination on greeting (if this occurs, take your puppy outside before you greet it and tone down your greeting so it is less exciting or overwhelming).

* It is unfair to expect your puppy to go right through the night when it is very young.

* Sleeping the puppy in a crate or puppy pen can help with house training but you should let it out in the garden to relieve itself during the night.