Housetraining Is Easy!

Paper Training

When Mrs. Jackson called me, she told me in her sweet Southern drawl that she wanted to paper-train Sugar, her Toy Poodle. She traveled often between Palm Beach and Boston. Her apartment in Boston was across the street from a park, but during a storm she didn’t really want to have to go across the street to walk Sugar. I told her given Sugar’s age of ten weeks, it would be easy. Incidentally if you have an older toy dog that is still not house-trained, paper-training may be a good option for you.

We found a very small powder room that Mrs. Jackson didn’t use often. If you don’t have a separate room, you can simply block off a small area in your bathroom or kitchen. Instead of wall-to-wall carpet, Diva’s new apartment will be wall-to-wall newspaper. There will be a small spot for her bed and water dish. The only place that she will relieve herself will be on newspaper. After all, that is all that is on the floor. How can she go anywhere else? Over time, you will start making the paper area smaller, one small sheet at a time.

If Diva goes on a non-papered area, immediately go back to putting more paper down. Keep going until Diva only goes to the papered area. Give it time, persistence and patience. She will learn it well. However, don’t make the mistake of starting her on news[papers with the thought that once she is older you will then house-train her. Putting papers down will teach her that it is OK to do it in the house.

I remember doing that with Lucy, another Toy Poodle, and her mother was ecstatic.
“We took her to France and as soon as we put paper down for her in the bathroom, she went. She didn’t even care that it was all in French.


When Maxine called me about Deliah, she asked if we could train her Pomeranian to go to the bathroom on command. “I have an apartment in New York City, and it is a nuisance to take her across the street to the park during a blizzard for her to sniff around taking her time to go to the bathroom.”

There is nothing more convenient than teaching your dog to do her business on command. If you live in a city where you must walk your dog instead of letting her out in the yard, it can be difficult when it raining and snowing to have your dog sniff and sniff and sniff until she finds a suitable spot. The do your business command encourages her to go in an expeditious fashion. This also happens to be very easy to teach. Let’s take Diva outside:

1. Allow her to sniff.
2. As she sniffs and circles, say, “Do your business,” “Go make.” “Let’s potty,” or whatever else you would like to call it.
3. As soon as she starts to relieve herself, stop the verbal command.
4. It is not necessary to give her a treat. The reward is in the relief of having gone to the bathroom. Don’t you feel better once you go to the bathroom? Sure you do.

Nutrition and House-Training

Nutrition plays an important role in house-training. Make sure Diva is on a puppy food that is low in sodium. Puppies need to drink a lot of water, and many commercial pet foods have high sodium content, which will make Diva drink more water, increasing her need to urinate. Make sure that the food’s sodium level is not too high for your puppy. This is more common in the supermarket brand foods than the premium foods that use human grade ingredients. Moreover, dog foods that use animal by-products, which means the food consists of clean parts of the animal carcass (necks, feet, and intestines), may increase bowel movement size and frequency.

Whatever method you use for your dog – crate-training, outdoor training, belt-loop training, paper-training – as long as you are patient and persistent, you will successfully house-train your dog. If you have a toy breed, I can’t emphasize it enough: if she isn’t nearly perfect by four months, get professional help. One big mistake people will often make is that they try paper-training, then crate-training, and back to paper-training. That only confuses the issue and the dog. Pick what is easiest for your lifestyle and know you can both do it.

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