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Puppy Potty Training: The Do’s and Don’ts

Accidents happen. Here’s how to make them happen less often.

When you have a new puppy, indoor messes come with the territory. Consistent potty training will help you keep accidents to a minimum. But if your puppy or dog has an “oops” inside, here’s what to do (and not do) to help discourage your pet from marking the same spot again.

DON’T use chemical-based cleaners

Dogs have a great sense of smell and once they’ve marked a spot, they are likely to go back to the same spot again — unless you completely eliminate the odor. Chemical cleaners can remove stains, but they can leave just enough smell behind that your sleuthing hound can sniff it out.

DO use enzyme-based, pet-specific cleaner

Many pet-specific cleaners contain enzymes, which can help break down organic messes and help neutralize pet stains and smells. You can use enzyme-based products on carpets, wood or stone surfaces, car interiors, furniture, pet beds and clothing. Just check the label to find out what surfaces the product treats and follow the instructions.

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DON’T ignore odors you can’t find.

If you smell urine but aren’t sure where the smell is coming from, resist the temptation to just hope it goes away. Even after you can’t smell it anymore, your dog is sure to return to that spot in the future.

DO try “forensic science.”

Consider investing in a black light bulb. Black light can illuminate difficult-to-see urine stains, CSI-style.

DON’T “paper train” your puppy.

Newspapers used as potty pads don’t absorb urine well and can lead to more messes.

DO use training pads.

Training pads, or potty pads, often have pheromones that entice puppies to “go” in one spot. The pads are lined with plastic and can absorb up to several cups of liquid without leaking.

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