A white and brown puppy sits on an absorbent litter pad

Housetraining, or potty training, a puppy or adult dog can be challenging unless you separate fact from fiction about how to master the proper technique. These five common potty training myths can hinder rather than help your dog’s progress.

Myth One: Rub a dog’s nose in its mess to teach it.

Punishment is never an effective training method. A dog will not understand what it did wrong and may become fearful of training, creating more setbacks. Positive reinforcement is the key to success. As for the mess, clean the spot thoroughly with an enzymatic solution to remove the scent and discourage re-marking.

Myth Two: Wait until your dog lets you know it needs to go outside.

A dog may not provide any cues it needs to go potty, and you shouldn’t wait for signs of discomfort or distress. Stick to a puppy potty-training schedule with frequent outdoor visits at key times, including first thing in the morning and after every meal. Be consistent with the schedule, and watch for signs such as whining, scratching, or circling that indicate your dog needs a potty break at other times.

Myth Three: Dogs will go potty every time they go out in the yard.

Puppies can become distracted by the sights, sounds, and smells of the yard and neglect to do their business. Always accompany your puppy so you can be sure it goes and praise it when it does. Positive reinforcement helps your dog understand and learn the desired behavior.

Myth Four: Accidents after being potty-trained are done in anger.

Dogs do not act out of spite, and that “guilty look” many owners think they spot is actually an indication of fear of your reaction. If a potty-trained dog suddenly starts to make messes inside the house, then it might have a bladder infection or another medical issue. Make an appointment with your veterinarian to determine the cause. If the accidents happen only when you are away from your dog, then the behavior could be linked to separation anxiety. This condition is best handled with the help of an experienced trainer. Our team of trainers at Come and Train It K9 are happy to schedule an in-home visit to discuss this.

Myth Five: Older dogs not potty trained as a puppy can’t be trained.

You can teach an old dog new tricks. Rescue dogs may not be housebroken because of their past circumstances or shelter life. In one way, it can be easier to potty train an adult dog because it doesn’t need to go out as frequently as a puppy. As with puppies, training an older dog means following a consistent routine, using positive reinforcement, and having plenty of patience.

Dismissing these potty-training myths can put your dog on a path to success. If you want to conquer your dog’s housetraining issues once and for all, schedule an appointment with our expert trainers to let us show you how we can help you with potty training and other basic obedience skills.