There are as many books and chapters on housetraining as there are puppy piddles on the floors of homes
across the world. Okay, maybe not so many but it sure feels that way when you are the one doing the
housetraining. You are not alone; in fact I am surprised there is not a housetraining blog out there somewhere.
Would someone please start one? If I could sell puppies that are guaranteed to be house-trained, I could quit
my day job! Which, by the way, is another excellent reason for purchasing your puppy from a quality breeder;
they will likely have your puppy well on the way to success. The extra money you spend on a good puppy
could easily be made up for in saved carpeting.
First off, let me tell you, I am not the Caesar Milan of housetraining. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I
have my own opinions of the process. My only recommendation comes from the fact that I have potty trained
numerous Cotons, so much so that I feel like potty training is just a normal part of my life. I even bought a full
length down coat to keep by the door for wintertime training.
My day begin when I get up, get coffee, get puppies outside; take a shower, get dressed, pack my lunch clean
up after the one puppy that didn't’t go both one and two outside, , (so, now you know, I have broken one of the
sacred rules of potty-training; never let your puppy have free reign of the house). Do as I say, not as I do.
How the process works is that first you are trained to take the puppy out whenever you think they need to go
potty. Your puppy will train you in this important step. Key times to take you puppy outside are first thing in the
morning, after he eats, after he naps, after he has played hard, after it’s been 4 hours or so and as far as you
know he hasn’t gone potty, and any other time you notice that he starts sniffing around in circles nose to the
floor. Some people like to train their dog to go in a certain spot in the yard; in this case you will likely have to
put him on a leash and stand there with him until he goes in that particular spot. Many people say to put them
on a leash regardless so the don’t filly fart around and get the job done. I let my dogs sniff around and find their
own spot, but that’s because I am usually training in numbers. By the time I got leashes on them all I’d be
cleaning up piddles. Do what works for you. The key element is to praise them effusively and give them a treat.
They have just made your day, they are one piddle closer to being trained; let them know how happy you are.
During your training period, I recommend to my puppy buyers that they put out a puppy pad in front of the door
in which you will be taking them out. This is another controversy in potty training so do whatever your breeder
recommends. The reason I do this is because I am still not perfectly housetrained so I give myself some slack
and try to save my flooring. If your puppy has been trained to a puppy pad at your breeders, he will know to go
on the pad (that’s the concept anyway). Even though it is indoors, it is still a “right place”, sort of like a free
zone. Eventually you pick the pad up or you can choose to always have one down depending upon your life
style. I can assure you if I lived in a high-rise apartment building in Minnesota and it was winter, my puppy
would be going on the puppy pad on a regular basis. Whatever works for you. However, if you want to totally
eliminate the pad you can just pick it up when you and your puppy feel confident about where big dogs go
At some point in the process, something hopefully clicks in that little brain that tells your puppy that if he goes
potty outside, good things happen and he wants those good things to happen more. Hmmmm. “I got it he says
to himself, I will make it so she will take me outside then I can get a treat whenever I want instead of having to
wait around for her. It’s sheer genius!” Alajuela! Alajuela! “But wait, how do I do that he says to himself?”
Well, she pays attention to me when I bark, maybe I could do that. Or, hmmmm, every time the door opened,
that little bell on the door rang and every time I tried to lick the peanut butter out of the bell, she opened the
door. Hmmm, I am going to see if I just go ring the bell if she will let me out.” In excelsios dio!
What I have found is that the more effort you put in right up front, the more successful you will be. It would not
be out of the question to have him trained to tell you when he needs to go outside within two weeks. However,
don't expect perfection. They could occasionally have an accident for several months. There are times when
you could swear he is going in the house just to spite you but it's not the case. Things can be going along
swimmingly for days or weeks and then out of nowhere, he squats and pees right in front of you right after you
took him outside. Go figure! Don't get discouraged, sometimes their little brain short circuits as they go through
early puppy hood.
One of the peculiar habits of Cotons is that they don't like to poop in public so don't be surprised to find little
tootsie rolls behind your chairs once in awhile. At least those are easy to pick up. And fortunately their pees
Again, I stress, be diligent up front and it will pay off. I have had a couple new puppy owners say that their
puppy never had an accident in the house. Now that is diligent!
If you should catch your little fluffy angel in the act of defecating on your heirloom Asian Carpet, resist your
natural impulse. This is very tricky because you want to communicate that this isn’t the right place to potty but
not scold your little dear. A harsh correction translates to “ooohhh, my boss doesn’t like it when I potty so I
better not do it in front of her”. A better approach when caught in the act is to act as though the poor thing just
made a mistake. A mild startle like a light clap of your hands or saying, “uh, oh”, just to get his attention usually
tightens their little sphincters and you can take them outside. However, they usually don’t finish their job once
you get out there. You just hope that maybe they made some connection; doubtful but it’s worth a try.
You may or may not have noticed that I did not go into crate training or any of the other methods for
housetraining. Instead I tried to focus on general principles. I recommend you read as much as you can and
use what works best for you and your new puppy.
Good Luck to you. This too will pass.