1. Don’t get a dog if you don’t have time to potty train the dog… 
This is especially important to consider when you are thinking of buying a dog as a gift especially around the holidays! Dogs are a serious investment of time and responsibility… After all, we have enough dogs in shelters right now. We don’t want to add another once you decide potty training is too much work!
2. Use a crate….
No one ever thought using a play-pen on your kids was cruel… If you cannot actively watch them or pay attention to them they belong in their crate. Dogs do not and will not (unless they physically cannot hold it) poop or pee where they sleep. Crate training is the first and most important step in potty training your new furry four legged friend!
3. Don’t rub a dog’s nose in an accident….
Most current research suggests that dogs have a similar intelligence level as that of a pre verbal toddler… In other words a two to three year old. So if you think it is Ok to rub a dogs nose in their accident, ask yourself if you would pull a dirty diaper off a three year old and rub the diaper in the child’s face saying “See what you did, you bad child”???
4. Use Potty/Poochie Bells….
These are simply bells that you hang on your back door to train Fido to ring when he needs to go outside and “relieve” himself! One of the most common mistakes in potty training is to miss or simply ignore Fido’s signals that he has to go outside. All dogs give signals, period! Unfortunately some dogs don’t send us very clear signals, so why not teach him to ring an obnoxious bell to let you know (while you are watching American Idol and not paying attention) that he has to go to the bathroom???
5. Don’t give your dog freedom in the house until he earns it….
Another common mistake is giving Fido too much freedom too soon! After a week or so we decide to let Fido roam the house with all the freedom of a 2-3 year old dog because we are tired of training and managing Fido’s potty training habits. Human learning theory says we have to do something 21 times before we can consider ourselves having a new habit. Why on earth would we think after 10-12 days Fido is done with his “potty training”? I tell people that it will take at least 30 days of Fido going in the right spot without a mistake before correct potty training can be considered done… While you might think 30 days sounds like a long time the average dog lives about 10-11 years, so ask yourself which sounds better 30 days of training on the front end or 10 years of potty training mistakes on back end…
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