Potty-training your pet takes time

Do the words "potty training" strike fear into your heart? Maybe they should.

Potty training isn’t easy. It takes time, work and a lot of doggie treats. That’s right, I’m talking about house-training your puppy. Even if you have an older dog, the same rules apply.

Give your dog what it wants

Most dogs want food, and lots of it. For those few dogs that don’t go gaga for treats, try harder to find something they like.

Besides the obvious no-no’s (chocolate, grapes, xylitol candy — all of which have proven toxic to pets), fatty foods are best avoided since they can cause pancreatitis and/or diarrhea.


Beyond this, let you imagination run wild. Use fancy dog treats, Cheerios or chunks of cooked meats (chicken, ham, hot dog). Make potty training worth it for your pet.

And give them a treat right when they potty, not 10 minutes later once they’re back in the house. If you wait until they come inside, then they will think they’re getting the treat for coming indoors. You need to make it obvious.

Take your time

Accept the fact that potty training is going to take forever. And I don’t mean years. I mean, it’s going to take forever — the morning when it’s freezing outside, and you have a bad cold.

Like this morning, my puppy spent 10 minutes examining every long strand of grass I missed with my trimmers. The next 12 minutes were spent roughhousing with my older dog. This got interrupted by a loud noise on the road. Then both of them stared down the evil big truck for the next five minutes.

After that, my pup wandered into a huge patch of burrs (I’m not joking) and finally went potty.

The moral of this story is that you have to take the time to wait past the puppy procrastination until the potty action commences. If you don’t wait (and I do mean wait), your puppy is guaranteed to potty once it gets back inside where there’s nothing around to distract it. This applies each and every time. Sorry about that.

The proof is in the pottying


Don’t let your pup fool you. Make sure you see them in position, doing their business to completion before you take them back inside.

If you’re not sure, you must stay outside longer. Otherwise, when you come inside, you might as well get out the carpet cleaner right away, because you know what’s going to happen next.

Mother knows best

Warning: This rule is both sexist and ageist. But I’m afraid it’s also true, most of the time. If your family is an exception, that’s great.

This rule is simply this: If you’re the mom of the household, you’re in charge of potty training. You may have great kids, and they may have the best intentions, but they’re most likely not going to take the puppy out as reliably as they should, leading to more accidents.

So, mom, I’m sorry to put another burden on your shoulders. I know you’ve got laundry, cleaning and the dishes to do. But, you know what they say: If you want a job done right, just go ahead and do it yourself.

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