Dogs have two natural instincts that you can use to your advantage when potty training them. One is that they prefer not to pee or poop where they sleep. They will move to another area if given the chance. Two is that they will pee or poop where there is already the residual smell of a previous pee or poop.
When potty training a dog there are basically two options to use - Indoors or outdoors.
To train your dog to go indoors, you will need to set up an area in your home where you want him to learn to do his business and give him free access to that area. Make sure it is not the area where he sleeps.
Put some newspaper down on the floor of the area where you want him to go. Carefully observe your dog and the moment you see him starting to urinate or defecate, immediately take him to the papered area. You may leave a trail in the way but get him to the right area.
Praise your dog once he is in the correct area. As you are cleaning up, leave a small trace of the pee or poop on the paper in the area you want him to use. Remember your dog has much keener sense of smell than you do. Just a trace is all he needs to find his way back to the spot.
Now you must carefully and completely clean up any material that may have been deposited elsewhere. You must leave no smell trace that your dog can find on any other part of the house or your dog may return there and think he is doing just what he is supposed to do. Remember again that your dog’s nose is much more powerful than yours is. Many pet supply stores have cleaning sprays that help to mask the odor for dogs.
The idea is to use your dog’s natural instinct to return to his previous safe spot for each subsequent deposit. Also, to make sure that one and only one spot is made so inviting.
After a couple of weeks, your dog should get the hang of where you want him to go and you will no longer have to save a portion of each deposit to carry the smell over.
To train your dog to go outdoors, you will have to develop a communication method so that you and your dog know when it is time to go outside. The frequency is highly variable among breeds and dog size and is also affected by diet.
Just like indoor training you will need to establish a safe spot outside where you want your dog to go. Take him there often so he gets used to the place. Make it as far from his sleep or play area as possible.
If you catch him in the act of going in the house, immediately scoop him up and take him to the outdoor spot. It does not matter if you leave a trail, just get him to the spot. Praise him once he uses the spot.
Leave a small amount of the fecal matter in his safe spot as a scent trace for him to find later. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any indoor traces so that there is not scent trace left.
If your dog is trained to go outdoors, you must be consistent. Make sure that you are available often enough so that he can hold it between trips outside.
You can also hang a bell on a string at the door and ring it each time you take the dog out to potty. Teach the dog to nudge the bell when he needs to go out. This makes a simple and effective communication tool that won’t be confused with other behavior. Don’t teach him to scratch on the door unless you wanted to buy a new door anyway.
Whichever method you choose be consistent. Don’t try to mix indoor and outdoor training, as you will only confuse your dog.
Work with your dogs natural instincts to make this training go much smoother.
To learn more dog training tips and tricks see Mike's blog my-dog-smash.blogspot.com
Mike Strawbridge is a contributor to the Potty Training Site where he shares information on potty training human toddlers. www.pottytrainingsite.com