Potty Training Tips – Part Two

puppy training

Wendi, training her puppy, Kilo

Welcome to Part Two – Potty Training Tips

Our favorite receptionist and dog training guru, Wendi (seen here on the left training her puppy, Kilo), has put together a few more tips for successfully potty training your new (or new to you) puppy.  If you missed the first 4 tips, see our previous blog post – Potty Training tips – Part 1.  If you’re all caught up, let’s go!

5. Use CUE words to teach your dog to go:

Can your dog learn to go on command? Of course they can!
Over time, your friends and family, if they are as impressed as easily as mine, will be astounded if you take your dog outside, tell them to “go potty” and they do so on demand! AND, it is easy to do! Of course, we don’t demand our dogs to go, we ask for the behavior, and if they go, they are rewarded.
You will learn your dog’s behavior when they have to go – a certain circle, sniff, even a different way they hold their back. When they enter into this “about to go” stance, give a cue word. It doesn’t matter what you pick, just be consistent. I’m not sure if it is just my luck or what, but most of my dogs get potty trained over the winter. As a result,  their cue is “hurry” but it can really be anything. Once they go, they get rewarded, eventually they will start going as soon as possible to get that praise or reward for going.
This is a handy training tool to have at your disposal. This can be the difference between a five minute potty break at a rest area while traveling and a half an hour adventure hike at a rest area. The choice is yours. I’d prefer my pets go when I ask them to go.

6. TREAT/REWARD timing

With real estate, it is common to hear location is everything. With potty training, TIMING is everything!
A treat and/or rewards/praise are to be given IMMEDIATELY, even to the point where you are rewarding them while they are still going. Some people wait until they come inside to give the dog a treat. By then it is too late. You are rewarding your dog for coming inside, not for eliminating outside. Reward immediately when they eliminate outside since THAT is the behavior you want them to repeat. Otherwise, you are going to have a dog that wants to go outside, do nothing, come inside, and expect a treat.

dog pooping

Time to give a treat/praise/a toy for a job well done!

You have to discover what your dog likes as a reward. Some dogs may love verbal praise and others may be totally indifferent to you verbally praising them or it may interrupt them from going. Some dogs love treats the most. I have a dog who is not crazy about treats, nor is she responsive to verbal rewards. For her potty training, I always let her play with a squeaker ball for a few moments after she went potty. Those few moments of play were the reward she got immediately for going. I always gave the cue “hurry,” and when she went, I gave her a verbal short “YAY” followed quickly with her squeaker ball. Whatever it takes. Find your dog’s loves, then use them to your advantage.

7. THE OTHER DOOR
It is common for dogs to be confused as to where to go to relieve themselves, especially if they go on walks for exercise.  For this reason, choose ONE door that leads to where they are to relieve themselves and use that consistently for potty training and use ANOTHER DOOR to exit for exercise. 

While potty training, always go to the ONE door that leads to the potty break area first.
After potties, come inside for a few minutes. Then, go out the OTHER DOOR for a walk!

“Why not use the same door and walks for potties?”
If their mind stimulating walk is utilized for them to relieve themselves then a couple things could happen:

too many dogs

It’s time for a fun walk Mom!

    They will be too distracted to go to the bathroom (the walk is so much fun!)
There will be too many distracting sights and sounds and smells that going to the bathroom will be the last thing on their “to do” list.
    They will HOLD IT on their walks to get longer walks. Dogs are smart. They learn that if they “go” then they get taken back inside. They don’t want to go  inside, they want to walk!!! A super smart dog will eventually learn to hold it longer and longer because they want longer and longer walks.

If you only have one door, no worries – here’s how to make it work for you:
Simply make sure the dog is taken outside to void in a designated spot in the yard, rewarded immediately, and come inside for a few moments.
That way they don’t associate the to go potty trip with the outside to get exercise trip.
Always make sure they void before you set off on your adventures; Going potty before setting off on a walk is another incentive to go fast on a potty break because the adventurous exercise walk is a reward for doing so well!

I don’t wanna go inside yet…

Using the Two Door method will avoid what I call “walk let down” as well. What is “walk let down”? This is when you take your dog outside, and they get let down because they think it is going to be a fun trip or walk about the neighborhood. By taking them out the POTTY DOOR first, they know NO walks will occur until they eliminate, so, it could be good encouragement to go, and go fast, to try to earn a fun walk.


We covered a LOT of tips for successful potty training. Some are intertwined and related, as there is no cut and dry formula for potty training. All dogs are different, but all dogs respond to a lot of the great tips presented.  If you’re a client of Blue Door Veterinary Services and you’d like a little help with potty training, feel free to request a chat with Wendi after you’ve had a visit with to doctor to make sure there are no behavioral or medical health problems factoring in to the troubles.  

If you’re not a client with us yet, feel free to give us a call at 503-819-8040 or request an appointment online to get your pet(s) on our schedule!  We love puppy kisses!

Our last segment on potty training will wrap up the loose ends of training, including a sample schedule to help get your pup on the right track to perfect potty training. 
If you missed our initial potty training segment, check it out at “Potty Training Pitfalls. 

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