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How to Paper Train Your Puppy

Note: This is page 2 on how to paper train your dog. For page 1, go to: House Training Dogs and Puppies

House Training DogsTips on how to paper train your dog

First, choose a suitable area of the home for your dog to use as the elimination area. Since she is going to be urinating and pooping in this area, it is best if you're able to pick someplace without carpeting: many people select a corner of the kitchen or laundry (as these rooms will often have tiled or linoleum flooring, making hygiene a non-issue.)

Distribute newspaper thickly in a corner of this room. Initially, you should make the newspaper area fairly big, since your puppy has absolutely no idea that she is supposed to go on the paper at all.

To make certain that she is able to eliminate just on the paper, you will either have to limit her movements to the papered section of the floor (which you are able to do by erecting barriers to keep her in – if the area you have selected is large or busy, this is likely the most user-friendly option for you), or even paper the entire floor (which is a practical option if the paper-room is small and there is very little thoroughfare.)

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In the beginning, your puppy will relieve herself pretty much at random on the paper. It is very important to the paper-training process that she just gets to go on the paper – you will want her to form a strong association between the sensation of paper beneath her feet, and relieving herself.

After a week or two, you can start to reduce in size the papered section of the floor, permitting her more access to unpapered areas (keep the barriers where they are for the time being so she doesn’t get the opportunity to relieve herself anywhere else.)

Do this slowly, a few sheets at a time. If you have given her plenty of time to get accustomed to the paper, she should normally restrict her elimination areas as the papered area gets smaller.

NOTE: If at any time she starts to relieve herself off the paper, then increase the size of the papered floor area to the size it was when she was still eliminating just on the paper, and allow her additional time to get accustomed to it before starting to decrease the papered area once again.

There is no need to panic: this does not mean that the paper training is not working, it simply means that you are moving a bit too quickly for your puppy’s capabilities.

The majority of dogs take a couple of months (eight to twelve weeks) to get used to the paper training method. Until she is reliably going potty just on the papers, you need to limit her access to the remainder of the home unless of course you are actively supervising her - which means 100% of your attention is focused on the puppy.

In most cases, a good guideline is that your puppy is confined to the papered area unless she is sleeping, eating, being played with or actively supervised.

Things you should do are:

  • Praise her effusively when you observe her relieving herself on the paper. Wait until she is done (so you don’t distract her!) and praise her, pet her, and give her a treat.

  • Should you catch her in the act of eliminating off-paper, this is actually an excellent opportunity for training development. Interrupt her with a clap, loud verbalization ("Ah-ah-aaaah!"), or slap your open palm loudly on the wall. This will likely startle her – in most cases, she will actually stop mid-toilet and hunch down. Pick her up right away and place her on the paper. As soon as she finishes, praise her greatly and give her a treat.

  • If you discover an accident after the fact (a wet spot or pile on the unpapered floor), you have missed your window of opportunity to train her not to do this. You cannot tell her off in this instance, simply because she will not understand what she has done wrong; all that you can do is clean it up and monitor her more carefully. If this is occurring a great deal, you have given her too much freedom in the house and not enough supervision: limit her access to the unpapered floor, and step up the supervision.

  • Feed her at precise, scheduled times (for example, a meal at 8 am, 1 pm, and 7 pm) to encourage her to develop an "elimination timetable".

For additional information on house training dogs, including an in depth look at paper training and crate training, check out The Ultimate House Training Guide.

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