March 11, 2022 - By :

Puppy Potty Training Tips For Owners That Work All Day

How Long Does It Take to Potty Train a Puppy?

If you are wondering how to potty train your puppy if you work a regular 9 to 5, it’s important to realize that successful potty training takes time, close supervision, and lots of patience!   The housebreaking process, sometimes called housebreaking or potty training, can take between three to five months for some dogs. However, all dogs are different in their specific experience, ages, and temperaments, so the duration of the process may vary depending on the dog or puppy. In the case of rescue dogs and dogs with potential trauma, the housetraining process can take up to a year.  

Is Getting A Puppy Over A Dog The Better Choice?

If you are a busy person and do not have a puppy yet but are considering getting one, you will need to carefully evaluate whether a puppy is the better choice over an older dog. You may find that adopting an older dog that is already potty trained is the better option. There are countless potty-trained dogs in shelters and at dog rescues that are desperately in need of a home.   If you work full-time and have your heart set on getting a puppy or already have one, it is still possible to potty train your puppy, but it won’t be as easy as it will be for someone who stays at home or works part-time. Below are 2 tips for busy pet parents who work full-time.

How to Potty Train Your Puppy If You Work Long Hours during the day.

There are two different options for busy puppy owners, and there are pros and cons to each. 

  1. A short-term confinement option made of several outings.
  2. A long-term confinement option where the puppy has permission to eliminate indoors.
  Vets recommend letting dogs pee at least once every 6-8 hours (3-4 times per day), though some can last 10-12 hours. Dogs under 8 months old can usually hold their pee one hour for every month old they are. Many factors affect their bathroom schedules but there are ways to keep your dog regular.   The 6-8 hour rule is a minimum recommendation. Some dogs can easily hold it for 8 hours while others will be more comfortable going out to pee more often. So what can you do to help train your dog while you’re working those long hours?

Option 1: Get Help With Your Puppy While You’re at Work. 

This option will help puppy owners who wish to crate train their puppies and teach them to go to the bathroom outdoors. This option is also helpful considering that young puppies need to be fed a couple timed a day and will need to move and stretch their legs for proper development. Having someone else help will also help keep your puppy’s mind active. Gain a Day to Mid-Day Helper:
  • Your puppy should be taken out to potty first thing in the morning before you have to go to work.
  • Then feed your puppy breakfast and take him out again before being place in the crate. When placed in the crate, the pup should be provided with a safe chew toy stuffed with treats to keep him occupied.
  • Set up to have a friend, neighbor, relative, pet walker, or pet sitter swing by twice in the day, first during mid-morning to take the puppy out, then again in the early afternoon.
  • Have whoever is helping with your pup feed his meal when they come over in the afternoon. Make sure your helper knows to take your puppy out again after his meal (this will exercise and exhaust him and help him to relax when out back in his crate).
  • Have your helper stop by again in mid-afternoon for another potty break.
  You can install an in home camera system connected to Wi-Fi so you know when your puppy is being let out so you can be apart of the potty training process even when you’re not home.

A Good Late Afternoon to Evening Schedule:

To help further along the training process let your puppy outside often even if they don’t necessarily have to go. This trains them that outside is where they are Supposed to go. You or your helper should try to let the puppy outside every 30 minutes to an hour. If a helper is doing this you can set up a different time frame. If you’re home at this point, keep letting your puppy out until he or she realizes they need to be peeing outside Only! They will learn to hold their pee when they have to go longer and longer during the day when you’re not home.   

A good schedule for letting your puppy out during the late puppy out during the laTe afternoon into evening is:

  • When you first get home
  • Before his evening meal
  • After his evening meal
  • In the middle of the evening
  • Right before going to bed
  • A couple times throughout the evening.
  To help your puppy have less accidents between being let outside, you can also put up their water bowl when you’re not home (especially if you’re not crating). If you’re gone long periods of time you can still leave their water out, just not a huge bowl with it filled to the top. Also, make sure to clean up their accidents properly so you are completely eliminating their scent from where they “went”.  

What About Using A Doggy Daycare While You’re At Work?

Although it may turn out to be somewhat costly, an alternative option is taking the puppy to doggy daycare, a place where busy dog owners who work 9 to 5 jobs can take their puppies and dogs. Dogs can be dropped off on the way to work and picked up on the way back. Staff will take the puppy out frequently during the day and will feed him is midday meal.    What Are the Advantages? You’ll get constant updates on your dogs progression each day and you’ll have piece of mind that your puppy is being let out, trained and socialized.  Puppy owners who work all day may also be delighted to pick up a tired pup rather than a puppy who has loads of pent-up energy from being confined for hours on end.

Option 2: Potty Train Your Puppy Using a Long-Term Confinement Area

One of the most common ways to potty train your puppy if you work all day is through the use of what Ian Dunbar, veterinarian and founder of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, calls a “long-term confinement area.”   A long-term confinement area is a larger area than what is provided by a crate. It allows the pup to have space and works best for busy pet parents who have to leave their puppy home alone for more than a couple of hours. Some people will find a safe puppy-proof area inside the home that can be closed off such as a kitchen, bathroom, or utility room and close it off with a door or gate.    Some puppy apartments are suitable as long-term confinement areas for very small breeds.   A long-term confinement area is typically located on a washable surface for ease of cleaning. Tile and linoleum works great and is easy if cleanup is needed. The area should be lined with pee pads or newspaper. Initially, you may find it useful to cover a large percentage of the floor area with pee pads or newspaper to set your puppy up for success. Gradually, you can remove pads and paper until your puppy learns to potty on just a few and as they learn to hold their bathroom breaks longer and longer.    You can also consider (down the road) adding a doggy door that leads to a secure, fenced-in yard once your dog is older, trained and also micro-chipped.    Quick Tip: Keep your puppy’s food and water in one area. Also put out some interactive, safe toys and their bed at the farthest corner away from the potty area. By nature, puppies are reluctant to potty near where they eat, play, or sleep.  

The Advantages of Long-Term Confinement Areas

  • It helps prevent accidents around the house.
  • It will help the pup learn to use a designated indoor area to potty.
  • It provides more room for the pup to stretch and walk around.

The Disadvantages of Longer-Term Confinement Areas

Disadvantages include some setbacks in the potty training department, for example:
  • Because your puppy is getting used to going potty indoors, he may come to learn that it’s acceptable to do so.
  • Since the pup goes potty when he needs to, he won’t learn how to “hold it” in the same way that crate-training teaches.
  • You need to rush home right away when your shift is over (no happy hour with your co-workers).

For Best Results:

For best results you can combine a few tips that we talked about here. You can hire a ‘potty training helper’ for when you are gone during a good portion of the day. Even when having a helper your puppy can also be their long-term confinement area.    When you’re only gone a couple hours at a time you can use a crate to train your puppy further to hold it when they need to “Go”.

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