If you are running late or it’s wet and cold outside, you want your dog to hurry when it goes to the bathroom. However, most dogs simply want to go in their own sweet time. If you have a dog that is slow to go to the bathroom, there are certain things that you can do to encourage it to do its business more quickly. You need to begin with some basic preparation, set a reliable schedule for taking the dog out, teach the dog your command for going to the bathroom, and then reinforce good behavior.
EditSetting Up for Success
- Choose a trigger word or phrase to use. When teaching a dog a command you need to come up with a verbal trigger. This should be a word or sound that indicates to the dog what you would like it to do. For going to the bathroom, you can use a phrase like “go pee,” “go potty,” “do your business,” or anything else that you can count on using reliably. You could also just make up a specific sound that the dog will associate with going to the bathroom.
- If you want to teach your dog to both urinate and defecate on command, you will need different trigger words for each body process.
- Establish a designated potty spot. When training your dog to urinate on command, it’s a good idea to pick a spot in the yard where you will always have the dog go to the bathroom. When you take your dog there it will be yet another signal to the dog that it is time to go pee.
- You can pick any space you like, but in general dogs like to go to the bathroom on grass. Just pick a corner of your yard or a section of grass in front of your home that suits your needs.
- Determine the times when your dog naturally needs to go to the bathroom. In order to make training easier, you want to take your dog out when it actually has to go to the bathroom. A dog may need to go at a variety of different times, such as:
- First thing in the morning
- Right after eating
- After it has been up a couple of hours
- Right after playing
- After drinking water
- Before bedtime
EditTaking Your Dog Out
- Take your dog outside on a set schedule. Part of training your dog to go to the bathroom on command is communicating with it that it is time to go to the bathroom. When you take your dog out at the same time every day, it begins to learn when it needs to go to the bathroom.
- Set your schedule around when your dog naturally has to go to the bathroom. For instance, if your dog usually goes to the bathroom easily after it eats, always take it out after it eats.
- Wait for your dog to pee. This can be the hard part of training your dog to pee on command, because you have to spend a lot of time waiting around for your dog to go to the bathroom. However, waiting for your dog to go to the bathroom is important. It is the only time that you can communicate that your trigger word is associated with going to the bathroom.
- Pay no attention to the dog while waiting. If you give your dog attention, it is less likely to go to the bathroom quickly.
- Say the trigger word. As your dog is in the middle of going to the bathroom, say your chosen trigger word. Say it in a positive, excited tone, so that your dog knows it’s a good thing.
- Saying your phrase while the dog it actively peeing will connect the phrase to the action.
- Provide a marker when the dog is done urinating. Once the dog has finished its business you should say a word or phrase that marks the end of the action. This can be as simple as “good boy” or “good dog.” By marking the end of the action you are signaling to the dog that it has completed what you wanted it to do.
EditReinforcing Good Behavior
- Give your dog lots of praise once it goes to the bathroom. Pat or scratch your dog in its favorite spot and maybe give it a treat. This will show the dog that you are happy with its behavior.
- Giving praise and a treat will create motivation to repeat the actions that lead to these positive rewards.
- Be sure that you don’t go right back into the house after your dog has peed when first training your dog. Part of the dog’s reward will be the time it gets to spend with you playing and exploring outside.
- Adjust the timing of your trigger word. After a couple of weeks of saying your trigger word as the dog urinates, change the timing of it to just before your dog starts going. It is key that your dog has internalized the connection between the word and it going to the bathroom, so be sure to wait a few weeks.
- However, wait until your dog has finished going to the bathroom to provide the marker, like before. This simply signals that the action is finished.
- Begin requiring a quicker response to your trigger word. Once your dog has begun to respond to you using the trigger word before peeing, only treat when it pees right away. Requiring that it pees right away in order to get a treat or praise is key to making sure the dog can eventually pee on command.
- If your dog doesn’t pee right away, revert back in the training and make sure the dog has the fundamentals before continuing on.
- Keep up with consistent training. If you keep up training and consistency you can increase the speed and reliability of your dog’s response to your directions. You can eventually phase out the treat, but keep giving your dog physical praise when it follows your command.
- Avoid giving punishment. Do not use punishment at a training tool or as a response to poor performance. Punishment creates fear, not trust. It will make the dog suspicious of you instead of creating a relationship built on trust and understanding.
- There is a difference between withholding a treat or praise and punishing your dog. Punishment, in the form of yelling, harsh words, or physical assault, will only make your dog hesitant to go to the bathroom at all. Withholding treats will make the dog want to do better.