In some situations and with different types of toy and small dogs it may not be possible to train the dog or puppy to go outdoors to toilet. In these situations it may be possible to potty train the puppy using an alternative method such as litter training, paper training or pad training the puppy. Many people that live in apartments or need to leave the dogs alone in the house during the day or night will train their dogs and puppies to use specific areas of the house as toilet areas.
Most toy dogs are also trained to use specific areas for a toilet area, especially in very cold climates where going outdoors in the winter may not be an option for certain breeds. This training is most easily accomplished when the puppy is very small, as once they get older and are fully housetrained it will be very difficult to get the older puppy or dog to use the toilet in the house.
If you are crate training the same method can be used, just the puppy will be taken to the designated toilet area rather than outdoors. For puppies that are being potty trained without a crate owners will need to carefully monitor the puppy and take them to the designated area at the first sign of circling, sniffing or seeking a place to relieve him or herself. Smaller dog breeds and toy puppies are often difficult to work with simply because it is so easy for them to slip behind or under furniture and go to the bathroom before the owner even notices what has happened. Keeping the puppy in sight at all times immediately following exercise, eating, drinking or when waking up from sleep is very important.
Paper training is often an easy task, especially if the breeder had the puppies on paper while they were in the kennel. Start by placing some type of plastic on an area of flooring. It is important to place the plastic under the paper and above the flooring to stop the smell of urine from permeating the flooring. The paper can either be shredded or placed down in sheets, with greater or lesser thickness depending on the size of the puppy. It is important to change the paper daily as most puppies will not want to walk across soiled paper. It may be necessary to leave a small piece of the paper that has been urinated on with the clean paper as a reminder to the puppy that this is where he or she is supposed to go. Since male dogs, when very small, do not lift their leg to urinate this early in their development this method works well for both males and females. Once the puppies mature it may be necessary to add a small pole or branch on the paper to encourage them to use this.
Remember that puppies using the paper may have fecal material and urine on their paws and they may track this through other areas of the house. One way to prevent this problem is to place towels or paper towel around the papered area. Do not use more newspaper or the same type of paper as the toilet area as the puppy will associate the feel and smell of the paper as the right place to relieve his or herself and it will confuse the situation.
Puppies, like kittens, can be trained to use a litter box. This is often preferable to many owners as there is less chance of soiled material being tracked through the house. A towel or paper can be used around the litter box to clean the puppy's feet after leaving the box.
The litter box will need to be cleaned every day. Typically shredded paper or litter pellets can be used in the litter box. Remember that dogs, unlike cats, will not cover their mess and will often track through materials in the box. Puppies will also occasionally have a tendency to engage in coprophagia or eating of fecal material. In this situation it is very important to have the fecal material cleaned up before the puppy has a chance to engage in this perfectly natural but equally disgusting behavior. Some automatically cleaning litter boxes may be ideal to prevent this problem, however they are more expensive and the puppy will need to become familiar with the sounds and mechanism of the self-cleaning box.
It is important to ensure that the puppy can easily get in and out of the litter box on his or her own. Many small and toy breeds will need a low edged litter box so their short little legs can step in and out of the box without difficulty.
Wee Wee Pads
Wee wee pads also known as potty pads, training pads and housebreaking pads are similar to disposable diapers. They are highly absorbent pads that typically have a waterproof bottom barrier to prevent any leaking or seepage of soiled material onto the floor surface. Training a puppy to use a training pad is similar to paper training although it also has definite advantages. Most housetraining pads have attractant added to the pad to draw the puppy to the pad when needing to go to the bathroom.
Potty pads can also be used without the need for additional plastic liners to protect the floor. They are great for traveling and for taking the dog to different places where he or she may not be able to get outside when needed. As with all other types of alternative potty training methods the pads will need to be disposed of daily. The pads to also have odor neutralizing compounds that can help minimize the scent of the waste material, although it will not be completely eliminated.
Puppies can learn to go outside plus use of the alternative forms of potty training, although it is easier on the puppy to focus on one or the other. Remember that puppies will learn to associate a flooring or particular area with potty training and will always assume this is a toilet area. It is important if paper training to not leave newspapers around the house, or to keep them up and off the floors and furniture to prevent the puppy from mistakenly believing this is a place to use the bathroom.
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