We use the term crate training to mean housetraining, even though the crate has more uses than just teaching the puppy clean indoor habits. Poms are clean dogs, and most Poms pick up housetraining quite naturally. If you have been fortunate enough to purchase a puppy from a breeder who introduced the puppy to the crate, then you are ahead of the game. If not, you will introduce the puppy to his crate on the first day. The crate should be in a room of the house where the family spends a lot of time. Place him in his crate for short intervals throughout his first day. Stay in the room with him. Let him see you. Give him a toy and talk encouragingly to him. After two minutes, let him out and praise him. Repeat this same routine an hour later, but this time make him stay for three or four minutes. By the time evening comes, he won’t be afraid of the crate and should be ready for bed.
Consistency is your key to housetraining. A Pom will not housetrain himself. He needs you to watch him vigilantly day – in and day out – at least for the first few months. The crate is helpful because a dog instinctively will not soil his den or sleeping area. Therefore, the crate is the best place for him to sleep overnight and to rest and play when you can’t watch him every minute. By spending happy time in the crate, he will learn to love it as his special place.
Puppies need to potty when they wake up, within a few minutes after eating, after play periods and after brief periods of confinement. Remember that every time the puppy is released from his crate, you should take him outside. Stay with him until he relieves himself. Most pups around 12 weeks of age will need to eliminate at least every hour or so, as many as 10 times a day. Always take the puppy outside to the same area, telling him “Outside” as you go out. Use your chosen potty command when he does his business, lavishing praise on him and repeating your key word. Use the same exit door for your potty trips, and, if feasible, the puppy’s crate should be in the same room as the exit door so you can get him out quickly. Don’t allow him to roam the house until he’s housetrained; how will he find that outside door if he’s three or four rooms away?
Of course, your puppy will have accidents. All puppies do. You wouldn’t expect your toddler to suddenly not need diapers. Potty-training children is actually considerably more difficult than housetraining a Pom puppy. Ask any mother changing the diapers of a 2-year-old!
When you catch your puppy in the act of having an accident, clap your hands loudly, say “aaah! aaah!” and scoop him up to go outside. Your voice should startle him and make him stop. He will finish up outside. Be sure to praise him when he finishes his duty outside. He can then rest in his crate while you clean up.
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