There are several things that will help you housebreak your Poodle fairly quickly:
1) Establish a designated area.
Dogs that are simply brought 'outside' for bathroom needs rarely have a good, clear understanding of what is expected. If they are out there long enough, they may very well go to the bathroom. However, your goal should be going above this and instilling the full concept of having one area for urination and elimination needs.
Choose the area wisely; what may seem like a great spot in the summer
may not work well in the winter. The bathroom area should be close to the home, not a spot that is used for anything else (play area, gardening, etc.), and if possible, one without distractions (such as traffic, neighbors, etc.)
Within the chosen area, allow your Poodle to choose the exact spot that he prefers. Dogs that have a choice learn much faster and are more eager to follow the rules. It is best to stand in the middle of the area with your puppy on a 6 to 8 foot leash. Allow him to circle around and, sniff. Some will then need time for the bladder to relax or for the bowel muscles to push out stool.
2) Be ready at all times.
Since young puppies have weak bladder and bowel muscles, they can often pee or poo with very little warning. Whatever you need in order to bring your Poodle outside should be ready at the exit door.
This will include a pair of shoes, an appropriate coat or jacket depending on the weather, clothing for your Poodle
- should there be a need, an umbrella in case it is raining, a leash and even a book or magazine to thumb though while you wait.
3) Bring your Puppy outside often enough. For the times that you are home, you will want to bring your Poodle to the designated area at the following times:
- First thing in the morning
- Any time right after the puppy wakes up from a nap
- Every 2 hours for a 2 month old, every 3 hours for a 3 month old, every 4 hours for a 4 month old, etc.
- 20 minutes after a full meal
- 20 minutes before bedtime
4) Give reward for housebreaking success but do not scold for accidents.
It would certainly make things easier if dogs understood what we were saying when we spoke full sentences after they did something that we didn't approve of. However, puppies that are rewarded for good deeds and quietly forgiven for accidents
are able to pick up what the owner wishes for without any scolding.
Please remember that you want your Poodle to respect you, not fear you. And while it may feel good to release a bit of steam if you find a puddle of pee, yelling or acting frustrated will only confused and stress a puppy that really has no idea why you are upset.
5) Choose one dedicated phrase.
Dogs learn best when they can associate a word with an action. So, you'll want everyone in the house to be in agreement as to which word(s) will be used for housebreaking. It's best to keep it short, and have it be something that you do not feel uncomfortable saying in public.
'Pitty-potty', 'Pee-poo', 'Get busy', and 'Go potty' are all effective and commonly used phrases.
You will use this as you head outside 'Do you need to go potty?', while you're Poodle is going to the bathroom, 'Oh, you're going potty!', and immediately when your Poodle is done while palming over the reward, 'Good potty, good dog!'.
6) Give your Poodle enough time.
While some puppies
will instantly pee or poo, others need time. Owners that only give the pup only a few minutes may have trouble with the training.
Since 5 minutes can feel like 20 if you are bored, cold or otherwise uncomfortable or antsy, plan ahead. Have an outdoor chair located right in the middle of the bathroom area and plan ahead to check your mail (or email) during these times. It is recommended to give the puppy a good 15 minutes and if you just know that a bowel movement is due, give it 20.
While on this note, one of the biggest problems that owners encounter is when a puppy won't pee in his spot no matter how long there, but will pee as soon as being brought back inside. A good tip to fix this, should it happen often, is hold him after you come back inside (he won't pee on you); then head back out in about 10 minutes.