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The Papillon Information Center       
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Papillon Housebreaking
House Training | Potty Training

Out of all of the elements that come into play of owning this adorable toy breed dog, housebreaking is the one that worries owners the most.

Some sources relate that this breed is difficult to train; however this is not true. 

Toy dogs, in general, have gained a reputation for being stubborn, unwilling or unable to follow rules; however this is a blanket statement that has no real basis of truth.
When one thinks about the housebreaking as a whole, it can seem like a monumental task. However, if you take a moment to establish rules and if you follow certain guidelines, this does not need to be a stressful element.  In fact, this is a bit of a journey for you and your Pap.

As your Papillon learns, you will be proud.  You will give praise and your enthusiasm for this learning process will be contagious.  Your Papillon puppy will feed off of your happiness, eager to please by learning even more.
Before you know it, both of you will be celebrating success, and you will have a well-trained dog for life.

Realistic Goals

One of the problems with house training a Papillon puppy is that owners do not keep up positive thinking long enough for the housebreaking process to work. There will be accidents. Your Pap will pee in the house. He will poo in the house. You may find yourself picking him up and running to the yard in your robe and slippers, with a dribble of urine marking your path as you finally place your Papillon down…You’re out of breath, your neighbors are staring at you and your Pap looks confused. But, this is all part of the process.

Don’t be let down by accidents, as they are actually an opportunity to show your Papillon what you do desire. After all, a pet cannot learn what is right if he or she does not learn what is wrong.  So, let’s go into this with a “can-do” attitude and make sure that we have the right foundation for success.

Tips for Successful House Training

1.   Establish exactly where the bathroom area will be.  Outdoor training is recommended. While some dogs can and do learn to use indoor pee pads, this goes against canine instinct to find “just the right spot”.  With this said, if you do chose the pee pad methods , choosing 1 specific area will still apply.

When choosing a spot, think about how the location will work no matter what the weather or time of day. Most owners obtain puppies in warm months, April through September and it is so much easier to bring a puppy out when the sun is shining and the temperature is warm.  However, choose a spot that will work no matter what: snow, high winds, rain, you name it.

Think about whether you will be able to shovel a path in the winter or if there will be some lighting at night.  Be sure that it is not located near an area that your family uses for recreations. In addition, once a spot is chosen, do not allow your Papillon to play there.  It will be for bathroom purposes only.

Even if the area is enclosed via a fence, training your Papillon will work much better if  you keep your Pap on leash.  Left unleashed, a pup or dog will sniff, explore and become sidetracked. On leash ( a 6 foot leash is recommended), you can keep your Papillon focused on the task at hand, stopping him or her from chasing after a bird or running around in an attempt to play.

Bathroom time is a serious time and play can be saved for later.   When on leash, stand in the center of the area chosen, allowing your Papillon to roam within that diameter, sniffing and choosing the perfect spot for his or her needs.

3.  A great training tip for housebreaking that makes world of difference is to allow enough time for your Papillon to complete the task at hand.  Dogs do not urinate or eliminate on cue and while eventually your dog will know that being brought to the designated area means that it is time to go to the bathroom, it can take 15 to 20 minutes for puppy to go to the bathroom.

One common grievance heard from owners is that a puppy will urinate as soon as he or she enters back into the house. Most of the time, this is because the owner became impatient while outside.  If need be, sit in a chair, surf the web on your phone, write out your shopping list…but no matter what you do, relax and allow those 15 to 20 minutes to pass by.  During this time, do not play with your Papillon or divert his attention to anything other than the training.

4.   Any time that your Papillon goes to the bathroom in the designated area, say “good, bathroom” or “good, pee pee”, or whatever word or term you have chosen to mark the action.  Saying “good” first confirms that you are pleased with the action, and following up using “bathroom” eventually teaches a dog that what he is doing has a word.  Later, you will be able to say, “Do you have to go pee-pee?’ and your Papillon will respond.

House training should be a round the clock, never-ending training that only stops when a dog, on his own, signals that he needs to go to the bathroom and no accidents occur in the home. This can take anywhere from 2 to 5 months. The more you are with your Papillon, the faster he or she will be successful trained.

While you cannot be home every second, if at all possible, try to plan a break from work for a week or so to instill the foundations of training.  Any time that you are home, follow a schedule. A puppy should be taken out (even if he or she is not showing any signs of having to go):

•    First thing in the morning
•    Any time after waking up from a nap
•    20 minutes after feeding
•    ½ hour before bedtime
•    Every 2 hours for a 2 month old, every 3 hours for a 3 month old, every 4 hours for a 4 month old (if this amount of time has gone by without bringing him outside for any of the other reasons)

When you are not home, please remember that putting your Papillon in a crate does not equal training.  Left enclosed in a small space, a dog will go to the bathroom if nature calls, no matter what. Therefore, a crate is not a method to stop the need, as it is a bodily function that puppies have little control over.

Bladder and bowel muscles are not yet fully developed in puppies. As a Papillon grows, these muscles will become stronger and the process of training causes muscle strength as well, since a Pap will TRY to hold needs if they are occupied and focused on other things and then brought out on schedule as described above.

Since crating does not stop the need to go, and being confined in a small space can cause stress, creating a nice environment via a play pen or gated off area will keep a Papillon much happier.  Will leaving pee pads counteract the house training process?  It will, a bit.  Dogs do best with 1 method.   However, be sure to bring your Papillon out before you leave and when you arrive home, a fast dart to the designated area should be the first thing that happens. 

Keeping this in mind, if a 3 month old puppy is left home alone for 8 hours, he or she can hold needs for roughly 3 hours.  Taken out right before an owner leaves and right when the owner comes back home, this results in the puppy perhaps urinating and having a bowel movement 1 time within this time frame.

One time of going to the bathroom on pee pads will not ruin house training efforts for the other 6 or 7 times that the Papillon will go outside by implementing potty training methods.

Be sure to clean up any accidents in a way that will not promote more accidents.   The first instinct that many have is to grab a strong, heavy detergent to clean up any urine or feces that may have been deposited in the home. 

Any soap with a substantial fragrance can actually cause a dog to urinate in that area again to cover the odor of the cleaner.  Best is a canine urine cleaning solution that breaks down the enzymes in the urine which is the equivalent of “wiping the slate clean”.

7. When it is time to take your Papillon for a walk, do not waste this house training opportunity.

Many owners make the mistake of veering off from training and assuming that their puppy will pee or poo somewhere along the walking path.  However, this counteracts the work that was done to train a Papillon to use the designated bathroom area. 

Therefore, it is best to first visit that area, allowing the 15 to 20 minutes for the Pap to go if needed, remembering to not play or engage…

If nothing happens, beginning the walk is just fine and a dog may indeed stop along the way.  However, if he does not, be sure to try again upon returning home before entering the house.