A lot of people have emailed in asking how to potty train a puppy in the winter. According to statistics, the number one cause of death in newborn puppies is catching a draft (which is why it’s so important to keep them warm), but even with older dogs, warmth is important.
Looking at how to potty train a puppy in the winter generally means not potty training outdoors in the garden or otherwise. Instead, you should learn how to paper train or how to litter train a puppy. These things can be taught indoors so when the seasons change you can retrain them. On the bright side, your puppy hasn’t spent the last few months making a mess of your carpet at least.
In the long run, I usually suggest people potty train puppies immediately outdoors although for some people that’s not feasible (see the article on how to potty train a puppy in an apartment) or this case when you can’t potty train a puppy because of the cold outside.
Housebreaking A Puppy In Winter
So, for training indoors it’s either paper training or litter training. To be honest, the two methods are pretty much the same thing. You teach your puppy to do their business on piles of newspaper or set out a litter tray or pad. These are much easier to clean up rather than a couch or rug, and it keeps the mess in one place.
As I already mentioned, the difference between paper training a puppy and litter training is minimal, and the two training methods work out pretty much the same way. You need to place the litter, pad or paper out of the way of the puppies sleeping, eating or play area. It’s hard to train a puppy not to urinate in the kitchen when that’s what it smells like. I like using a spare, fairly unused, room with a lino floor.
Every hour and before and after sleeping, playing, sleeping or meeting new people you should take your puppy and place him or her on the set spot and repeat a consistent command word such as ‘potty’ or ‘do it’ and you need to use this same command every time. Also, try to keep your tone the same as well. If your puppy does their business on the right spot, you reward them before moving back to the main part of the house or replacing the paper or litter. Try not to let your puppy stand in it and walk the mess through the house.
There will be an odd accident here and there, and there really isn’t anything you, or the puppy, can do about that. But any time you catch your puppy in the act (and only in the act) of doing their business in the wrong area, repeat a firm ‘no’ and move them to the correct area.
Here you go – basics of training a puppy in the winter. When it comes to potty training a puppy outdoors, just follow the same principles again. If training twice sounds like too much work then perhaps avoid getting a puppy until a warmer season so you won’t need to learn how to potty train a puppy in the winter.