Now that you know how to house train your puppy to go outside, I’m going to show you how to paper-train them inside. This is not an option that everyone wants to pursue, but a necessity to many pet-owners; especially those who work or are gone for long hours.
Paper-training is simply training a puppy to go to the bathroom in a specific area of the house, on a paper or absorbent disposable mat. Many pet owners select the bathroom as the room of choice. Most bathrooms are tiled, which makes for an easier clean-up should any urine leak off of the paper or mat. Of course the hope would be for the urine to remain in the designated area, but accidents do happen.
If you do chose to paper-train your puppy, you must be committed to the training process. This can be very confusing to your dog to be praised for going to the bathroom inside and outside. Therefore you should be very consistent in the location of their “indoor potty.”
Step-by-step Instructions for Paper-Training
- Select a small room or area in the house that is accessible to your puppy. Ideally it will have a linoleum or tile floor for easy cleaning. A bathroom, hallway corner, or laundry room are excellent choices.
- Place newspaper or an absorbable disposable mat on the floor. It should be a large enough area that the dog can circle the area (similar to how he/she does outside). Test the absorbency of your paper by pouring several ounces or water as a test run. You can shrink the size of the papered area as your puppy becomes more familiar with this new way to eliminate.
- Keep the “indoor potty” area clear of doggie toys and food and water bowls. Dogs do not like to eliminate near their food and water, so you have a much better chance that they will pick the newspaper over another area closer to their bowls and toys.
- When you are ready to begin training, bring your puppy over to the designated area. Ideally you want to do this shortly after your puppy has had a meal. They are most likely to feel the need to go to the bathroom 15 minutes after consuming food.
Keep in mind, when you are at home with the puppy, in another area of the house, to return him to the paper train area about every half hour.
- To start, begin using your command words/cue that you selected for your outside potty training. Try and keep them on the newspaper or mat. Repeat the command over and over again until they begin to go.
- If you pup does begin to go, and they are off of the paper, try to slide the paper under them. You want to train your puppy that the paper is associated with eliminating. Make sure not to scold your puppy if they miss the paper. This is a training exercise and you don’t want them to have negative feelings towards paper-training.
- If your puppy hits the target and goes right on the paper, make sure to praise them with great enthusiasm. You really want your puppy to know what a good job they did. You can give them a treat or a favorite chew toy.
- If your puppy will not go at all, whether on the paper or off, you will need to sit down and get comfortable. Try and keep them in the area until they go. Again, after a meal this shouldn’t take too long.
- You will need to reinforce this process several times a day for several weeks. As a dog-owner you will need to decide whether your paper indoor potty is out all of the time, or only when your pup will be alone for long periods of time. Some owners only put it out at night and during work hours, while others leave it out all of the time.
Another option is to paper a section of your yard. This way the puppy knows that the paper is meant for elimination.
Once your puppy becomes paper-trained, don’t be surprised if one Sunday morning you are looking for the sale sheets and they are soaking wet. Most puppies don’t know the difference between one paper and another. While keeping your paper potty in the same area of the house may help, it is not a guarantee that your puppy will only think of that paper as a potty.