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The Potty Game- How to Train Your Puppy in an Apartment
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The Potty Game: How to Train Your Puppy in an Apartment

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Apr 24th, 2015

Deciding to bring a new puppy into your home is a huge decision that requires a substantial commitment. The challenges of training your new pup to fit your lifestyle are made even more difficult when you live in a city apartment. It can be a frustrating process so make sure your decision to bring a puppy into your life is well thought out.

Never obtain a pet on a whim.

Have a plan from the very start.

Training a puppy takes a good deal of time. Make sure you can devote several hours a day to this process. If you have a full-time job and no one at home during the day, you’ll need to consider a pet sitter, doggy day care, or rethink the decision to get a puppy at this time. You’ll need to purchase a crate, training pads, or doggy litter box. Toys and training treats can also be helpful in the potty training process. Designate enough space in your apartment for your pup’s crate, bed, potty area, and food bowls.

Create a schedule.

Feed your puppy her meals at the same time every day. This will help to establish a potty routine. Puppies usually need to relieve themselves within an hour after eating or drinking, after waking from a nap, and after vigorous play. Ideally, your puppy should be carried outside to her designated potty spot once an hour during the time you are awake and after any of the above activities. As your pup develops her bladder will strengthen and you can slowly reduce the number of daily potty breaks.  Be consistent in where you bring your pup to eliminate. This will help her understand she is there to potty, not to play. Choose a grassy area as close to your apartment as possible.

Designate an indoor area for emergencies.

Understand there are going to be accidents. The best way to minimize the damage to your carpet is to anticipate mistakes and plan for them. Puppy training pads have a plastic bottom that prevents urine and feces from leaking through to your floors.  You can also choose to invest in a “doggy litter box.” Several companies offer products that consist of a patch of Astroturf that drains into a waste collection area. Your puppy has a natural instinct to eliminate in grass so these products can be very effective. Just be wary of depending too heavily on indoor solutions. You want your puppy to learn that eliminating outdoors is the ideal outcome.

Use a crate overnight and when you can’t be at home.

You never want your puppy to see her crate as a punishment. Leave the door open at all times with comfy blankets and a favorite toy or treat inside. She should feel comfortable enough to go in and out of her crate throughout the day. Choose a crate that is large enough for your pup to stand up straight and turn around easily, but not so big that she can potty at one end and sleep comfortably at the other. Train her to be calm when inside the crate with the door closed. This can be achieved by starting out with short sessions where your puppy is closed inside the crate, but you’re at home. Never let her out of the crate when she is crying, barking, or pawing at the door. Ignore this behavior.  It may seem cruel, but your puppy will quickly learn she is only released from the crate when she is calm. Slowly increase the time your puppy remains crated, but never exceed three to four hours. If you can’t be home, ask a friend or pet sitter to look in on your pup for you.

Celebrate every victory.

With the added challenge of getting your puppy outside of your apartment before she goes potty, it’s all the more important to celebrate each victory. Dogs respond amazingly well to positive reinforcement.  Just the sound of your joyous voice can do more to aid in potty training than treats could ever do. Never punish or yell at your pup for having an accident indoors. Punishments will only train your puppy you cannot be trusted and can lead to anxiety related behavior problems.

Bringing home a puppy is an exciting step, and if you are willing to put in the work, you will enjoy a wonderful life together in your apartment!

Have you had experience potty training a puppy in an apartment?  Share your success stories, advice and funny moments with us!

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