What’s paper training?
Paper training is a specific form of house training for your dog: you’re teaching her where in the house is appropriate for her to eliminate (pee or poop). When you paper train your dog, you teach her to only eliminate on newspapers (chosen for their absorbency, ready availability, and cheap cost) which you gather up and throw away after each use.
What options other than paper training do I have for my dog’s house training?
There are two ways of effectively, efficiently, and rapidly house training your dog. Paper training is one; the other is something called crate training.
We will be covering the paper training method here
How to paper train your dog…
First, pick a convenient area of the house for your dog to use as the elimination area. Because she’s going to be peeing and pooping in this area, it’s best if you can choose somewhere without carpet: most people choose a corner of the kitchen or laundry (since these rooms usually have tiled or linoleum floors, hygiene a non-issue.)
Spread newspaper thickly in a corner of this room. At first, you’ll need to make the newspaper area pretty big, since your pup has no idea that she’s meant to go on the paper at all.
To make sure that she’s able to eliminate only on the paper, you’ll either need to restrict her movements to the papered area of the floor, or paper the whole floor.
At first, your puppy will eliminate pretty much at random on the paper. It’s important for the paper-training process that she only gets to go on the paper – you need her to form a strong association between the feeling of paper under her toes, and relieving herself.
After a week or two, you can begin to shrink the papered area of the floor, allowing her more access to unpapered surfaces.
Do this gradually, a couple of sheets at a time. If you’ve given her enough time to get used to the paper, she should naturally restrict her elimination areas as the papered area shrinks.
NOTE: If at any time she begins to eliminate off the paper, then increase the size of the papered floor surface to the size it was when she was still eliminating only on the paper, and give her more time to get used to it before beginning to reduce the papered area again.
Most dogs take a couple of months (eight to twelve weeks) to get used to the paper training method. Until she’s reliably going on the papers only, you should restrict her access to the rest of the house unless you’re actively supervising her- which means 100% of your attention is focused on the pup.
In general, a good rule of thumb is that your puppy is confined to the papered area unless she’s sleeping, eating, or being played with/actively supervised.
Things you should do:
– Praise her effusively whenever you see her eliminating on the paper. Wait until she’s done (so you don’t distract her!) and praise her, pet her, and give her a treat.
– If you catch her in the act of eliminating off-paper, this is actually a great opportunity for training development. Interrupt her with a clap, loud verbalization (“Ah-ah-aaaah!”), or slap your open palm loudly on the wall. This will startle her – in most cases, she’ll actually stop mid-toilet and hunch down. Scoop her up immediately and put her on the paper. When she finishes, praise her hugely and give her a treat.
– If you come across an accident after the fact (a wet spot or pile on the unpapered floor), you’ve missed your window of opportunity to teach her not to do this. You can’t tell her off in this case, because she won’t understand what she’s done wrong; all you can do is clean it up and supervise her more carefully. If this is happening a lot, you’ve given her too much freedom in the house and not enough supervision: restrict her access to the unpapered floor, and step up the supervision.
– Feed her at specific, scheduled times (for example, a meal at 8 am, 1 pm, and 7 pm) to encourage her to develop an “elimination timetable”.