Potty training your new puppy can already be quite the challenge. Add living in a high-rise apartment and you have quite the challenge. Especially if you live 40+ floors up. This is just enough time to recognize your puppy has to go. Rush out to the elevator, only to get peed on. Or they pee in the elevator. Leaving you with a mess to clean up and your puppy relieved.
That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to potty train your puppy. Unfortunately, you can’t rely on all traditional potty-training methods. Sometimes you’ll need to get creative, especially if your schedule doesn’t allow for consistency. It’s important to have a few pet supplies handy. We’ll go over everything you’ll need to be successful.
What You Need to Succeed
It’s best to clicker train your puppy. By using a clicker, you start to teach them that when they hear the sound, they get a treat. This ties into training because once your dog understands the clicker, they will do whatever it takes to hear it click. Basic clicker training starts off by clicking the sound and give your puppy a treat.
You’re going to want to get an enzyme cleaner to clean up the messes. This will help block the odor left from the accident and clean it up. If you don’t use an enzyme cleaner, the smell will stay and linger. Your puppy will start to associate the smell to going potty there. It’s important to stay on top of this until they are potty trained.
Owning a crate is essential when you’re potty training your puppy. While you are away, your puppy will live in this crate. Dogs are clean animals and prefer not to go potty where they rest. It’s best to get a crate that can be adjusted. If you have a smaller dog and give them a large crate, they will go in the corner. Just remember, your dog will go in their crate if you’re gone for a while. Their bladder is only so big. However, sometimes a crate isn’t really feasible in a high-rise apartment. That is why we recommend the next item.
Baby Gate or Play Pen
If you can’t find or get a crate, you can use baby gates or a play pen to section off your apartment. It can be your bathroom or a place they can’t harm themselves. Then lay down pee pads for them to go on. This helps create a mock “crate” since it restricts their freedom in your apartment.
High Value Treats
When potty training, you should use high value treats. What are high value treats? Treats that you only give the dog when they are good. Don’t give them these treats outside of training. Make these treats a strong reward to incentivize them during training. They can be anything ranging from hotdogs, pieces of chicken, or treats you pick up at the store. If you find your dog isn’t interested in the treats you have, try a different treat. You will eventually find one your puppy likes.
Pee Pads for Puppies
The last item you’ll want are puppy pads. Living in a high-rise apartment means you won’t make it a good portion of the time. This means you’ll want to train your puppy to use the pads instead of the floor. Using pads will help make cleaning up messes a lot easier. It will also help your dog know where they should go when outside isn’t available.
Next Steps For Potty Training
Once you pick up the items above that fit you, you’ll need to start on the next steps. They consist of the following.
- Building their confinement space
- Getting them on a schedule
- How to praise and reward them
- How to handle potty accidents
- When to wean off puppy pads
Build Their Confinement Space
You’ll want to create their space so that they have an area for their bed, water, and puppy pads. You don’t want the pads close to where they will lay down. Throw in some toys or a Kong to keep them occupied while you’re gone. You can even use a litter box with pads in combination.
Great spaces to create confinement areas can be the kitchen, laundry room, spare bedroom, or bathroom. Setup your puppies play pen or seclude them off with a baby gate. Lay down some puppy pads for them and make sure their space is safe. You don’t want them getting out or into anything that can harm them.
It’s important to keep this space the same throughout their training period. If you change it often, it can confuse them and take longer for training to sink in.
Start Your Puppy On a Schedule
After getting everything, you’ll want to start getting your puppy used to a schedule. This means a feeding, napping, playtime/exercise, and potty time schedule.
Feeding Schedule: By putting your puppy on a feeding schedule, you can start to recognize their potty habits. They will need to go potty around the same time every day. This won’t help with their bladder, but will with their pooping ritual. It’s best to limit feeding to only a few times a day. An example would be once in the morning and once in the evening. Once you get into a routine, you’ll know when your puppy needs to go out.
Nap Schedule: This is the perfect time for you to be away. While your puppy is napping, they can’t get into trouble. Nor will they go potty on the floor. A great way to get your dog to get ready for a nap is exercise and playtime. If you have to get up early for work, set your alarm clock earlier. During this time, take your puppy outside, go for a walk, and play with them. The goal is to wear them out after feeding. Doing this will help them want to nap after you leave. It’s also beneficial to leave on some music for them.
Playtime/Exercise Schedule: Make time to play and exercising your puppy at the same time. This helps them get rid of pent up energy and builds a strong bond. This also means your puppy isn’t in their crate and should be supervised. By observing your puppy’s behavior, you’ll start to pick up on when they have to go. An example is they start to sniff and circle an area. Get them onto a pad or if you have time, outside.
Potty Schedule: If you do all of the above, you’ll be able to start to build your puppies potty schedule. You’ll know that after they get up, they’ll need to go. An hour or so after meals they’ll need to go. During play times they may get over excited and need to go outside. All of these help you and your puppy succeed in becoming potty trained.
How to Praise and Reward Them
You want your puppy to learn that their potty behavior is good. This means when they go outside or on a pad. When they start to do the behavior you want, you should immediately start to praise them. Catch them going potty on a pad? Tell them how good they are and give them a high value treat. Did they go into their space willingly? Give them lots of praise and a treat.
If you don’t have any treats readily available, giving lots of praise is a good substitute. This means raising the pitch of your voice and getting excited. Rub them and pet them. However, don’t pat them during praise. Most dogs don’t like to be patted and only tolerate it. You can hurt the dog without realizing it. Just scratch their chest, neck, and massage their bellies or back.
How to Properly Handle Potty Accidents
The best way to handle an accident is right as it’s happening. Tell them “No” and move them to either a puppy pad or take them outside if possible. When they finish on the pad or outside, praise them and give them a treat. We get that it’s frustrating when your puppy has an accident. Just remember not to be too harsh. You don’t want to instill fear of you in them. Once they are done, use your cleaner to remove the mess.
You never want to punish the puppy. Especially if the accident happened out of sight or before you got home. If you punish your puppy, you can start to instill bad behaviors in them. Behaviors such as aggression and/or fear. Remember, they are like a child. They can’t speak our language and don’t know any better. Just have lots of patience and stay committed to the training.
It’s best to use positive reinforcement rather than aggressive or dominate methods.
When to Wean Your Puppy Off Pee Pads
As your puppy grows, they’ll start to understand the concept of house training. They will also start to develop a larger bladder. This helps you out greatly. This means your dog can start to hold it long enough for you to get home. Then it’ll just be a quick dash downstairs and outside.
You don’t have to get rid of puppy pads though. If you have a smaller dog, they may not be able to hold it as long. Puppy pads are great in this scenario. Your dog doesn’t have to be small either if you prefer to use pads.
If you want to get rid of puppy pads all together, it’s a pretty straight forward process. Just remove them from their space and be consistent with their potty schedule. They will learn to hold it until you can take them out.
There are times where this can be a difficult task. If you haven’t been taking them outside to go potty, they won’t understand to hold it. If this is the case, start moving the pads closer to the door. Reward them every time they use the pad. Once they make it to the door, take the pad outside with you. Get them to go on the pad outside.
Now you can slowly start to take the pads away and praise them when the go outside.
Common Reasons You Might Fail
If you’ve never potty trained a dog before, you may fall into some of the traps. A great example is trying to rush through the training process. Make it a slow and enjoyable ride. You don’t need to move the pad 10 feet each time. Move it a few inches or a foot each time.
Don’t change their confinement area or feeding schedule. This can throw a monkey wrench into the equation. They’ll need to go potty at different times or will become confused on where to go.
You should never trust your puppy unsupervised outside their space. They should be kept on a leash or being watched by you. Otherwise you’ll miss key learning times and have more messes to clean up.
As we said above, don’t punish your puppy. This will set you back more than you think. This can start to instill the behavior of avoiding peeing in front of you. They will start to go hide and pee in corners instead. Don’t be afraid to use pee pads liberally.
Beyond Potty Training
It’s best to train your puppy other commands outside of just potty. They should know how to sit, lay down, be quiet, and more. We’ve put together a short list on the best commands your puppy should know.
If you’re still having trouble training your puppy, we’ve also put together Most Useful 10 Tips You Need to Know Training Your Dog and 10 Reasons Why You’re Having Trouble Training Your Dog.