Think of your baby as a real baby. Human children are not yet ready to potty train until they are "ready". This is when they reach a certain age - about a year and a half, give or take (of course, a Pom baby is ready WAAAY before then... LOL).
Puppies are similar to human babies in the fact that potty training is a factor of developmental readiness. They have baby bladders that do not hold very much. Their muscles are still developing, and they are learning to control them - you can see this demonstrated by their coordination with running, jumping, etc.
When can I start training my puppy?
You can start training your baby as early as eight weeks. They are (somewhat) protected against Parvo until they have four Parvo shots (be SURE to keep them vaccinated.) Also, keep them off of high-dog trafficked areas such as grass in a gas station, dog park, or airport. The puppies are receptive to love, guidance, and gentle care, and with encouragement, will be eager to please.
Our babies have doggie doors and begin training themselves by following their mama around (about six weeks or so). They will still have accidents inside, but they learn very quickly to go outside like mama. They are not, however, in grass. We have gravel runs.
How do I begin?
Begin by taking your baby outside very frequently. I suggest every 30 to 60 minutes, depending on your baby. Take him out immediately after he wakes up, after eating, and after drinking. If your baby start "looking for a place", take him out. At first, he will want to play instead of "go", and often will relieve himself once back inside. Yes, this is very frustrating, but be patient. Patients brings success. :) When your puppy does go make this a very big deal. Lots of praise and pets. You can also use treats as a reward. Try to take them to the same spot to go potty. They will likely smell where they went last time. It will help remind them where to go.
I also recommend using potty pads as a safe alternative. Yes, most will need to be shown this "ok" place as well. Just remember, you are training a baby.
When should my puppy be trained fully?
This will depend on your specific dog. It depends on how often you're home, how often you take them out, your expectations, and their receptiveness to you. Usually, the puppy is trained fully around five to six months. Some may be earlier and some may be later. If I am home and can take them out, they train sooner than if I am not home as much...(usually six to seven months). Again, make sure they have potty pads available and never punish them for using them. It is the best alternative to carpet, etc.
Should I crate train mypuppy?
This depends on you. Ask yourself how often can you take out your puppy? Puppies that do not have a crate to train with will have more accidents unless you are VERY vigilant. Many people do prefer to crate train because usually, dogs don't like to mess in their "area". Little ones still don't have the bladder control to hold it for long periods of time, so accidents will still happen. Puppies should never be kept in a crate for long periods of time except through the night. Kennels should also never be used as a punishment. It is a safe place where the dog sleeps; it is a space to call her own. However, if you cannot keep an eye on your puppy (or you need a little break), you can put them in the crate for a little while so that they are safe while you do what you need to do. (Puppies left unattended can tear up many things... electric chords, carpet, etc.)
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