One thing I get asked about a lot is toilet training pug puppies and actually sometimes even fully grown dogs.
Pugs can be lazy, they hate going out in the rain that’s for sure, and I know from personal experience that if they don’t want to go out they won’t! I’ve had to go out and stand in the pouring rain to show Hugo and Holly that it’s ‘fine’ out there so that they’ll go out for a wee!
Hugo came to live with us at 6 months old so he was toilet trained but Holly was only a few weeks old and was only paper trained. When a puppy is paper trained it usually means they’ll scratch holy hell out of what ever bit of newspaper or puppy pad you put down for them and then wee where ever they want! At least that’s what Holly thought it meant anyway! We even tried taping the paper and puppy pads down! Didn’t work! We thought these indoor puppy training mats looked like a good idea for use before Holly could go outside but we never actually tried them. Let us know if you’ve tried them out and if you liked them or not!
As soon as Holly had her inoculations at 10 and 12 weeks, and we started letting her out in the garden, we started toilet training her properly. I think I’ve mentioned before that pugs are easily led where food is concerned and so long as you use it wisely you can use food to assist with your training! It definitely works with toilet training, 100%!
Now you’re going to need a lot of patience here, a lot, a very very lot!! Puppies have teeny tiny bladders so you’re going to have to get up about every 20 minutes to go outside to see if they want to wee, or pee or what ever you want to call it. By the way you need to decide that right now, decide what you want to call it, because you’ll be saying it a lot, for a long time, out in public too! We just say ‘do you need a wee’ and ‘do you need a poo’ (yes Holly knows the difference now!) but you might prefer ‘do you need the toilet’ or ‘toilet time’ or even something else. What ever you choose make sure everyone says the same thing, and says it every single time!
As Hugo’s gotten older we’ve thought about trying him with these toilet training door bells to stop him scratching at the door when he’s telling us he wants to go outside but we weren’t sure whether they’d drive us mad or not! Holly runs from us to the door and back to us and back to the door when she needs to go out but Hugo does scratch at the door so they would be great. If you think you might use something like this then when you start toilet training is probably the right time to start using them so take a look and see what you think. Let us know what you think if you try them too!
So back to actual toilet training then.
I’m not sure there’s a right or a wrong way but I’ll certainly share with you what worked for me with Holly.
As you probably know I’m a great believer in positive reinforcement, that’s rewarding good behaviour and ignoring bad behaviour, and making the connection in Holly’s head that going outside for a wee means she gets a chicken treat was a very quick and easy connection to make!
As I said earlier puppies have a very small bladder and they’ll be going to the toilet a lot so we started our toilet training with Holly on a Saturday morning, as everyone’s home all day and we knew we could dedicate the time needed to this first major step!
We started off by chopping some chicken into small pieces so we’d be ready to reward her and then we went outside. At first we just stood there for a few minutes saying ‘do you need a wee’, ‘Holly need a wee’, ‘good girl having a wee’ and various other wee based lines! The neighbours must have thought we were bonkers! And after all that nothing actually happened! She didn’t get a treat, remember no wee, no treat, and we returned inside. I left it about 10 minutes and went back outside with her. This time we didn’t come in until she’d had a wee. Once she’d had a wee I made a massive fuss of her, telling her she was a good girl having a wee, gave her the chicken treat and carried on praising her using ‘good girl’ and ‘wee’ a lot!
That sounds so easy doesn’t it! It wasn’t! I spent the rest of the day going outside every 20 minutes and loitering around asking if she needed a wee! It was an absolute pain! But in all honesty, no where near as much of a pain as cleaning little puddles up from the kitchen floor!! Over the weekend we ended up taking it in turns to go out with her and ‘it’s your turn’ became a common phrase in the house! Like anything though, the amount of time we put in reflected the result we got out and now we have no more puddles and she lets us know us when she needs to go out!
My top 5 tips for toilet training
- Decide the words you’ll use (wee/pee/toilet time) and make sure everyone says the same thing
- Have treats ready to reward a successful mission!
- Start on a day you know you can dedicate your entire time to toilet training
- Set your phone alarm for every 20-30 minutes (this will get less as your pup gets older!) and make sure you take them out and wait until they wee!
- Don’t give up!
Good luck! Let us know your success stories here in the comments or over on Instagram!