Can Your Puppy Learn To Use A Litter Box?
House training your puppy is one of the most important things you will teach him. There are several different ways you can go about teaching your puppy his house training. Some owners are interested in teaching their puppy to use a litter box. Is this possible? Absolutely!
Most puppies can be taught to use a litter box. It’s very similar to teaching a cat to use a litter box, although puppies don’t use them quite as instinctively as cats do. If you have a Toy dog, especially, it can be helpful to teach your puppy to use the litter box since your puppy will remain small throughout his life. This means that the litter box will remain a convenient size for him to use even when he’s an adult dog.
If you have a puppy who will grow to be a medium or large-sized dog then you can still teach your puppy to use a litter box but it may not be very comfortable for him to use the box when he gets older. However, by the time he gets old he should be able to wait longer to relieve himself. That should allow you plenty of time to come home from work, for example, so you can take him for a walk or let him outside.
To teach your puppy to use a litter box you will first need to get a large litter box. It’s usually best to get a large, plain, rectangular box. Plastic is fine. For obvious reasons you will not want to get one of the fancier cat litter boxes with a hood or other gadgets since your puppy may have trouble fitting inside or he may try to chew it.
You can use regular cat litter in the litter box for your puppy. Many dog breeders teach their puppies to use a litter box. They like to use a mixture of cat litter, such as Fresh Step, and alfalfa pellets or pine shavings.
Alfalfa pellets are used as both rabbit food and as bedding so your puppy may try to eat some of them but they won’t hurt him. He will probably leave them alone after he tries them a few times. Alfalfa pellets are good because they are very absorbent and they keep down odor. Pine shavings are good because they are fluffy and they also keep down odor. You should avoid using cedar shavings as a litter box filler since they have an oil which can hurt your puppy’s eyes.
You could also use puppy training pads inside the litter box if you prefer. This is a good way to house train an apartment dog that does not have access to a yard to relieve himself.
At first you should place the litter box in a place where your puppy is sure to find it. You can put it in a spot where your puppy has already had an accident, for instance. Be sure to place a bathroom rub or mat under the box to cut down on the amount of litter that your puppy kicks up or digs out of the box. It’s likely that your puppy will try to dig in the box at first. He’s a dog and dogs do like to dig, so you should expect this at first.
Watch your puppy carefully and when you see signs that your puppy needs to potty you should lead him (or pick him up) to the litter box. Place him back in the box if he tries to leave. With good timing your puppy should relieve himself in the box. Make sure you praise him and give him a treat. Tell him what a good puppy he is. Keep doing this each time you see that your puppy needs to potty.
If you are consistent about leading your puppy to the litter box each time he needs to potty then you will have him trained to use the box very quickly. Some puppies accept litter box training very quickly but some puppies will always prefer to go outside.
Keep the litter box clean. Pick up deposits quickly and change the litter often, especially the top layer. You can scrub out the whole litter box with soap and water, using a few drops of bleach to remove odors as necessary. Just be sure to rinse it well before use again.
I have trained many puppies to use puppy pads but oftentimes they catch just the edge which makes for a big clean up later. Puppy urine can get into hardwood floors leaving a distinctive unpleasant odor. I like to use puppy pads inside litter boxes these days as it catches the overflow as your dog gets bigger and holds more urine in his bladder. It also makes for a faster clean up. But cat litter or puppy pads both work well.
Puppies should adapt quickly to this new method of house training, it just takes perseverance and patience.