There are many methods to potty train your dog. All methods have advantages and disadvantes but most of them are very effective.
The crating method is a simple method based on the theory that dogs won't soil in their eating and sleeping area. This method requires that you acquire a crate that is sized appropriately for your dog. You will want to choose a crate that is just big enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down. It is important to remember that a crate that is too big will not be effective for potty training because it will allow your dog to establish an area for relieving himself that is separate from where he spends the rest of his time. Crates can be purchased in most pet supply stores. They come in many different types including ones made of nylon, plastic, or metal. Crates come in several sizes and can accommodate dogs of just about any size. You can also purchase a divider for your crate which is useful if you are potty training a puppy because you won't have to buy a smaller crate. Once you have a crate, you can begin potty training your dog. The keys to using a crate for potty training are to anticipate when your dog will need to go out to relieve himself and to keep the dog crated when you are not able to supervise him.
To begin the potty training process, take your dog outside to the designated potty area and use a phrase such as, "Go potty" or "Hurry up". If your dog relieves himself, praise by saying, "Good potty" or "Good hurry up" and give him a treat. It is important that you praise and reward your dog immediately after he relieves himself so that he will associate the praise and positive reinforcement with going to the bathroom outside. If your dog does not relieve himself, bring him back inside and confine him in the crate. Keep him crated for 2-3 hours and then take him outside to the designated potty area ask him to go potty. If he relieves himself, reward him with verbal praise and offer him a tangible reward, such as a treat. If your dog does not relieve himself, return him to his crate and repeat the entire process until your dog does relieve himself. It is crucial that you remember to praise and reward your dog each time he relieves himself in the designated potty area.
Once you have had your dog relieve himself in the designated potty area, you can start to give your dog more room to play. You can do this gradually by first moving your dog into a larger fenced in area such as an exercise pen. Continue the same process of taking your dog outside frequently and praising and rewarding him if he relieves himself outside. After your dog does this successfully a few times you can increase the area in which the dog is confined again. Continue to increase the area your dog is allowed to roam as well as the amount of time between trips outside until your dog is given free reign of the house and is able to refrain from soiling in the house for several hours.
The crate training method has both its advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that it is a method that works very quickly and takes very little effort on the part of the dog owner. A dog's natural instinct is to not soil in their eating and sleeping area so it is not difficult to keep them from doing so in their crate. Another advantage is that it is a method that works very quickly. A disadvantage to this method is that crates can be rather expensive. If you plan on using a crate throughout the dog's life, then they are a good investment but if you only plan to use it for potty training, it is a pricey option.
Using a clicker is another other way to potty train your dog. A clicker is a small device that emits a clicking noise when you press a button. They are very inexpensive and can be purchased and most pet supply stores. The theory behind clicker training is that a dog will perform a desired behavior for the reward of hearing the clicking sound. It may sound unusual but clicker training is used by many dog trainers to teach behaviors. Dogs are not automatically excited by the sound of the clicker but that behavior is taught through a process called "loading the clicker". Before you can begin any type of clicker training, it is important that you teach your dog to enjoy the sound of the clicker. This is known as loading the clicker and is done by pressing the button to make the clicking sound and when your dog responds to the sound, reward him with praise and a treat. Repeat this 15-20 times in a row for several days. By this time your dog will be responding to the clicker and you can use the clicker to begin potty training.
To potty train using the clicker method, take your dog outside to the designated potty area. Just like with the crating method, use a phrase such as, "Go potty" to encourage the dog to relieve himself. If he does so, reward him by clicking and giving him a treat. Again, it is important to click and treat immediately after the dog relieves himself so that he knows that he is being rewarded for relieving himself. If the dog doesn't relieve himself, bring him back inside and wait an hour or two and then try taking him outside again. Unlike the crating method, you will need to keep a close eye on your dog when he is in the house. Watch for signs that he has to go out such as sniffing around on the ground. If you notice your dog doing this, take him outside immediately and see if he needs to relieve himself. If he does so, reward him by clicking and giving him a treat. After awhile your dog will realize that he is being rewarded for relieving himself outside and you will be on your way to having a potty trained dog.
There are also advantages and disadvantages to using a clicker to potty train your dog. One advantage is that you don't need to purchase any expensive equipment for this method. A disadvantage is that you have to watch your dog very closely in between trips outside to ensure that they don't relieve themselves in the house. Another disadvantage is that you need to teach the dog to respond to the clicker before you can begin potty training.
Paper training is a two step process for potty training your dog. Dogs are first trained to relieve themselves inside the house in a designated area such as on a newspaper. This behavior is trained the same way as with crate training and clicker training. You take the dog to a designated area and as them to "Go potty" or "Hurry up" and if they relieve themselves you praise and reward them and if they don't you wait and hour or two and try again. Once you train the dog to relieve himself on the newspaper, you make the area of newspaper smaller and move it closer to the door. You continue to do this until you are outside and there is no more newspaper. Once this is achieved you have successfully potty trained your dog.
The advantage of paper training is that you don't have to purchase any equipment for this method. You can use old newspapers or other old papers that you have around the house as the designated potty area. One disadvantage to this method is that it is a two step process so you will need to teach one behavior and then modify it until you have the desired behavior. Another disadvantage is that the first step teaches the dog to relieve himself inside the house and there is the risk that the dog may never learn the second part of the process.
There are a few general rules that apply to any method that you choose. You should watch your dog closely while potty training and do not give them an opportunity to fail. Watch for signs that your dog needs to go out and take them out quickly so that they don't have a chance to soil in the house. If your dog does have an accident in the house, do not scold them. Clean the mess up quietly and don't allow the dog to see that you are upset. They will not understand what they are being scolded for so it will not help the potty training process. Make sure you are giving your dog ample opportunity to relieve himself outside. Also, when your dog does relieve himself outside, be very generous with the praise and rewards. Make sure your dog knows that you are very happy with what he has just done.
Crating, clicker training and paper training are all effective methods for potty training your dog. All of them work relatively quickly and easily and, in most cases, will lead to having a potty trained dog in just a few weeks. All methods have there advantages and disadvantages and it is up to the owner to decide which method they think will work best for them and their dog. Whichever method you choose, it is important to be consistent and praise your dog when they relieve themselves outside.