Getting a new puppy is exciting but can also be a bit more complicated if you live in an apartment. Space, distance, and proximity to your neighbors mean that teaching your puppy when and where it is appropriate to use the bathroom from the beginning is even more important.
Although this living arrangement can make training somewhat more logistically challenging, many small dogs can learn to be good four-footed neighbors and thrive in an apartment. Here are five helpful tips for potty training your puppy when you live in an apartment!
Prioritize Routine Bathroom Breaks
Puppies may not be able to tell time, but they have an innate sense of when they should expect to be fed, walked, or brought outside for a bathroom break. Once you create a routine that includes bringing your puppy outside at the same main times each day, they will develop a better ability to predict how soon they will be able to use the bathroom. Establishing a routine will help reassure them that they will be able to go where they are supposed to soon. This pattern will increase their confidence that they can wait until they get outside once they realize they are expected to.
Young puppies need to be taken outside more frequently than you might think because they are less capable of waiting. You should generally start by taking them out at least every hour or two and shortly after eating, drinking, and playing. You can gradually increase this time to every four or more hours as your puppy learns.
Choose One Consistent Location
Once your puppy figures out that they are supposed to use the bathroom outside, they will be more flexible about going in various outdoor locations, such as on walks. However, it is best to stick to one familiar location when getting them used to going outside. Their own scent will linger in this area and remind them what they are supposed to do.
Take Advantage of Crate Training
Crate training is helpful for avoiding accidents at night or when you need to leave your puppy alone for longer than an hour or two. Most puppies instinctively want to avoid using the bathroom where they sleep, so getting them comfortable with spending a reasonable amount of time in a crate until they are housebroken can help them learn to wait. However, leaving young puppies alone should be kept to a minimum, and even adult dogs should be let outside at least every eight hours whenever possible.
Have an Indoor Backup Option
Living in an apartment, especially a high rise makes getting your puppy outside quickly more complicated than simply opening the door. Older dogs will generally be more capable of handling spending a few minutes waiting for an elevator or walking down several flights of stairs once they are house-trained, but this is often too long for young puppies to wait. For this reason, an indoor alternative is a great option, especially early on. Synthetic or real grass patches, disposable and washable pee pads, and puppy litter boxes can all be useful options for attempting to prevent accidents.
However, it is also important to know that puppies can respond to these alternatives differently. Some puppies may become too dependent on indoor options, making outdoor potty training more difficult.
Watch for Signs
Puppies generally have several cues to show they need to use the bathroom, and noticing these signs earlier can give you a few extra minutes to get outside or to an indoor potty area. You might notice your puppy sniffing the floor, seeming unusually restless, whining, or moving in a circle or near a corner or door.
These signs indicate that your puppy is trying to decide where to use the bathroom or, as they start to catch on, to let you know that they need to go out. However, it is important to remember that these signs can vary, and different puppies can have different instinctive behaviors. Accidents can also happen without warning signs, especially when your puppy is younger.
Apartment Living with Pets at Anderson Communities
At Anderson Communities, we want your furry family members to feel as at home in your new apartment as you do. Contact us today to learn more about our pet policy or to schedule a tour of any of our pet-friendly apartments!