Tips to train a puppy to urinate and defecate outside

dog peeing on a green lawn

Every one to two hours, take the puppy outside. Puppies have high metabolisms—meaning they make a lot of urine quickly—and they have small bladders, which means they can’t store all of that urine for long. A Labrador retriever puppy’s full bladder is about the size of a lemon; a Yorkshire terrier puppy’s bladder is the size of a small apricot or large grape.

When the puppy is out, let it sniff a bit. Don’t just pull it away from what it’s sniffing and keep walking. Sniffing is an important part of the elimination sequence in dogs.

If the puppy is just rampantly plowing ahead sniffing, consider stopping and walking quickly back and forth. This movement simulates normal dog elimination precursor behavior. The dog eventually will squat. Pay attention and praise it.

Use a fixed-length short lead so you can quickly encourage your puppy and respond to its cues. You can give the dog a small treat as it squats on a substrate you both like (e.g., grass). A reward may help encourage the association between squatting on that substrate and good experiences. Urinating or defecating is physiologically self-rewarding; you’re rewarding the behavior exhibited in the location chosen.

Regardless of the frequency of your other walks, take the dog out 15 to 45 minutes after each time it eats. This is the time range for eating to stimulate intestines to move feces. Do this after all meals, as well as biscuits and rawhides, both of which will stimulate elimination.

Watch for behaviors (e.g., pacing, whining, circling, sudden stopping of another behavior) that tell you the dog may be ready to eliminate, and intercept the dog. If you pick up the puppy and it starts to leak, or the act of picking up the dog starts the leak, get a cloth and clamp it to the puppy’s

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