Potty Training and Other Tips

pbd-potty-TrainingGetting a puppy is a very exciting, joyful time!  However, it is important to have real expectations as you move forward.  Puppies bring so much joy to those who are ready and committed!  However, puppies can become a burden if you are not ready or prepared.  You’re essentially the parent of a newborn/toddler as of this moment!  How exciting and fun!  This is a huge blessing! But, there is going to be some work ahead.   We hope the following information helps you experience as smooth of a transition as possible with your new fur baby!  Please keep us updated and thank you again for giving our puppy a loving home! 


  There is an overwhelming amount of information on the internet.  When it comes to potty training;  common sense seems to always work best. Ask yourself, “If I was Fido, what would work best for me in this situation? 

We really like the “1, 2, 3 rule”.

The first week, take Fido out to potty every hour during the day.   Use lingo like “outside” or “potty” or whatever word you choose, but use it a lot!  If he goes; reward him with so much praise that your neighbors hear it (and maybe think you’re a little crazy)!  Give a treat (small and soft) immediately and take him to the exact same spot next time. 

Our puppies are not used to being alone so never leave him alone in the crate for more than an hour this first week.  We do recommend they spend some time in the crate and that you do not give in to crying and barking if they complain about being there. Please take him with you everywhere you go when in the crate and awake (plastic travel crates work excellent for this). The perfect size crate would be comparable to you in a queen size bed with walls. 

Be a helicopter parent! Watch Fido with 100% attention when not in the crate.  If you see a potty mess in the carpet, you weren’t watching close enough.


The second week is the same, but 2 hours.  Just remember, you wouldn’t leave a 2 year old child at home all day and expect him/her to be ok, not have an accident, and develop correctly:  its not fair to expect it from your puppy, either.

You guessed it, outside every 3 hours (or shorter if potty training isn’t going quite as well as you had hoped) and no more than 3 hours alone in the crate.  The goal is to gradually increase trust and bladder capacity until you feel you can leave Fido home alone with run of the house (for 4-6 hours)!  When leaving Fido at home:  a light, fan, and soft music/TV is a great idea. 


You don’t have to wake up every hour, whew!   Put the crate on your nightstand, facing you (unless you would like to hear howling all night long). Eventually, you can move the crate.  Take Fido out right before bed and first thing when you wake up.  I would plan to wake up once (maybe 2/3am) and check to make sure Fido is sound asleep and not whimpering, in which case, you will need to CARRY him to his potty spot.    


  When not in use, leave the crate in the same area of the house with the door open.  Fido needs a safe haven to get away once in awhile, especially if you have kids. 

– Going outside on the grass seems to always be a dog’s preference; so if your location or weather makes that impossible, try using indoor doggie turf instead of pee pads. 

-3/4 accidents per week the first few weeks is actually good!  Celebrate because you are doing great!  If having 3/4 a day; you need to re group, and fast.

-These breeds are really smart.  If you’re having issues; figure out what YOU need to change to be more effective and in sync with your puppy’s needs, and bladder. 


Everyone who has done a “puppy class” has said it was well worth it!


We have our puppies on “graze feeding”  meaning they can eat as much as they want, whenever.   These breeds usually are not food motivated so you could probably keep “graze feeding” for life.  We do highly recommend keeping this schedule for the first couple weeks as your puppy adjust to his new home. These puppies are at risk of Hypoglycemia, and it can take their life.  Hypoglycemia is easy to prevent by simply monitoring food intake and behavior.  On average, our puppies leave here eating 1/3 – 2/3 cup of food a day (more is great) and need to be resting at least 50% of the day.  Just use common sense and refrain from showing Fido off to the neighborhood the first week.  Slow adjustments are best!

If you must have scheduled feeding, start with 5-6 sessions a day and very slowly graduate down from there.  I would never do less than 2 feedings per day as an adult.

We are sending puppy food home and we will not guarantee our puppies if you switch brands without our consent prior to 2 months from adoption date. Switching foods can lead to many GI problems, causing lack of appetite, hypoglycemia, and in extreme cases, death. You should not have to supplement with anything if you stay our food.  Closer to 6 months of age, if tear staining is an issue, there is a probiotic and eye wash I would recommend instead of using an antibiotic.   


Before you go buy expensive treats, be aware the tasty ones are packed with sugar, salt, and preservatives.  Much like breakfast cereal, the tastiest treat wins.  I recommend fresh deli turkey or chicken cut into small cubes.  It’s healthier, and actually cheaper.  I recommend not offering Fido a piece off your sandwich though:  as that would lead to begging for table scraps

There is some science behind using a harness as compared to a collar for these small breeds.  Whatever your choice; keep it light and please do not “bedazzle” it with silver bones, bells, and all that jazz.   Even the little things cause dangerous extra weight and become a strangulation hazard.  Keep the leashes light as well. 


Anything that squeaks/crunches!   Don’t forget Fido is teething so get him some teethers!   Hard plastics, rawhides, hoofs, antlers, and the like; are a hazard for breaking teeth, or even foreign bodies, in these small breeds.   


Typically Fido will need a haircut every 8 weeks or so, depending on your preference of hair length and style.  There is some in – between maintenance I do recommend:

-Trimming eyes, rectum (potty patch) and genitalia.  (A blunt ended small trimming scissors would be best).

-A soft pin hair brush for weekly/daily brushing is a good idea. 

-Also, pulling ear canal hair (just one pull a day) will be really beneficial so your puppy does not get a yeast/mite infection and wont hate your groomer for pulling them all at once.  (Get just the hair in the ear canal, not around the ear.) 

-A bath no more often than every two weeks. We use “Fresh ‘N’ Clean puppy shampoo. Fido will get a bath here, the day of pick up!


Our vet and many others recommend waiting until 4-6 months to spay/nueter.  This is also a good time for the Rabies vaccine. Also, be sure to talk to your vet about when to start flea/tick and heartworm prevention plans (usually 16 – 18 weeks of age).


                        Dental care is critical and dental chews do not work as advertised.  Brushing 60 seconds (4-5x per week) on the outside of the teeth alone will be sufficient.  We use Virbac CET Enzymatic toothpaste (get vanilla mint flavor; you will thank me).  *HINT*  – You can start with beef/chicken broth on your finger to get him used to, and loving, the brushing process.  For those of you that know brushing won’t happen, we have found 1 dental spray (ASSURE mouth spray for dogs) that seems to work well. We do sell it here.


Blanket and Toy with our scent on it.

Pet Key microchip registry information. The chip is inserted for free, you just need to register it to your name. If you like, we can register it for an additional $30.

Nutrical – If you are afraid your puppy is hypoglycemic, give a dose.  You can give 1 dose every 3-4 hours if your puppy is not eating.

Puppy Food (should be enough for at least a week)

Medical Records. Please refer to medical records to see “TO DO”.  There will be at least one or two boosters left that we highly recommend. We will not guarantee your puppy if you let your vet completely re-vaccinate.

Thank you and enjoy your new addition!   Puppies By Design Online