How to Paper Train Your Small Dog

small dog reading newspaper in the bathroom

Paper training your dog is essential if you have a 9-to-5 job, live in a building, or you’re simply not able to take your pup out as often as you should.

For those of you interested in learning the best paper-training method, this article will give you all the information you need to successfully potty train your dog.

Step-by-Step Paper Training Method

The following steps will help you train your dog how to use a specific area for defecating and urinating.

Step #1: Select a Space for Potty Training

Find a clean space with no furniture and carpeting to potty train your pup. Keep in mind that you need to choose an area where your dog can eliminate in the long run. Once you teach it to use that area, there’s no going back ― so choose wisely.

For instance, if you have linoleum flooring in your kitchen, your first instinct might be to choose that area. After all, cleaning linoleum is a cinch! However, do you really want your dog to do its business in your kitchen?

Ideally, the best place to paper train your dog is the bathroom. For starters, it’s a confined space, and you have a sink nearby. However, if that’s not possible, find a corner in your home that you can block off while you’re potty training your dog.

Step #2: Cover the Selected Area With Newspapers or Puppy Pads

puppy with toilet paper all over it

Before you start this next step, I would highly recommend buying an x-pen or puppy playpen and placing it in the potty-training area. This is a sure way to keep your pup within the selected area, at least until it gets used to eliminating in that space.

Next, cover the potty-training area with newspapers or puppy pads. We would recommend using puppy pads if possible since they’re far more absorbent than newspapers.

When covering, make sure to overlap each newspaper sheet/pad so the mess doesn’t seep through the gaps.

Step #3: Add Puppy Accessories

Once you’ve covered the potty-training area, add some doggy accessories such as a water bowl, chew toys, and a doggy bed.

The idea is to make this space comfortable to keep your puppy in at all times. Since the entire area is covered with newspapers/pads, your dog won’t be able to eliminate anywhere else.

Step #4: Observe Your Dog’s Activities

For the first few days, you will need to keep a close eye on your pup to see when it does its business. Get rid of the messy newspapers/pads as soon as possible.

However, remember to leave a small piece of the dirty newspaper/pad in the potty area. Dogs prefer to eliminate in places they’ve already used for that purpose.

After about a week, you’ll notice that your dog will start eliminating in the same spot each time, leaving the rest of the potty area clean. That means it’s time for the next step.

Step #5: Make the Potty Area Smaller

For starters, you can remove ⅓ of the newspapers/pads from the potty area. Start removing from the area nearest to your pup’s bed and water bowl.

After doing so, you will need to monitor your dog’s behavior for a few days. If it starts eliminating in the pad-free area, you need to say “no” and place it in the potty-friendly area.

Step #6: Praise Your Pup’s Progress

Dogs respond well to praise. That’s why each time your pup does its business in the padded area, you should reward it. We believe that treats are the best way to show your fluffer you’re proud!

Step #7: Keep Reducing the Potty Area

Every two to three days, take out a bit more newspapers/pads from the potty area. Keep in mind that some dogs need more time to learn than others. You may need to remove the padding once a week, rather than every couple of days.

Furthermore, if you notice that your dog is struggling, go back a few steps. Add more padding, and observe your dog’s activities as often as possible.

Once your dog gets used to using only one pad in the potty area, you have successfully paper trained your dog!

Additional Paper Training Tips

yellow puppy and toilet papers in black background

As you can see, paper training your dog isn’t hard. It just takes patience, understanding, and a few doggy treats!

However, before you start the paper-training process, here are a few more tips and things to consider.

Don’t Punish Your Dog

As mentioned, dogs respond well to positive reinforcement. Whenever your pup does something right (such as do its business in the potty area) you should reward it with treats or a belly rub.

After a while, your dog will get used to behaving like a good boy or girl.

However, never punish your dog when it eliminates in the wrong place. Punishment can be stressful for our pets and could lead to psychological problems such as anxiety.

Furthermore, if your pup has an accident, and you’re not there to correct it, scolding won’t help. Your dog won’t understand why you’re punishing it.

How to Discourage Accidents

If you decide to paper train your pet, you need to make sure you can monitor its behavior until it learns where to eliminate. That way you’ll be able to correct its bad potty habits on time.

Dogs typically start sniffing incessantly when they need to eliminate. When you notice this, make sure your dog is in the padded area.

If, on the other hand, your dog starts doing its business in the unpadded area, you should interrupt it by clapping your hands and saying “no” in a firm tone. As soon as you distract your dog, take it to the padded area, and let it finish eliminating there.

Afterward, reward your pup with a treat.

Keep the Potty Area Clean

No one wants to use an unclean bathroom. In the same way, your dog won’t do its business if the potty area is dirty. Make sure to clean the soiled newspapers/pads as soon as you notice they’re dirty.

Also, make it a habit to change them out once a week whether they’re dirty or not.

Leave Your Dog in the Potty Area When You Go Out

When you go to work or step out to run some errands, leave your dog in the potty area. Doing so will eliminate the possibility of accidents since your dog will have to use that area to do its business.

Also keep in mind that puppies can get scared when they’re left alone, which leads them to urinate more. That’s why leaving your pup in the potty area is a good idea for more reasons than one. Let’s face it, you don’t want to come home to a wet carpet, do you?

When Is It Appropriate to Paper Train Your Dog?

Whether or not paper training your dog is a good idea depends on several factors. Here’s when paper training is appropriate:

  • If you’re a person with limited mobility
  • For people who live in an area that doesn’t have easy access to the outdoors
  • If you have a busy work schedule
  • If you don’t want to keep your pup in a crate when you’re not home

Relocating the Potty Area

No dog pooping sign on a white window

If for whatever reason you need to relocate your dog’s potty area, you will need to do so slowly. Remember, it took time to teach your pup to eliminate in the padded area, so it will take more time for it to adjust to the new location.

Basically what you need to do is move the newspapers/pads towards the new area. However, you need to move them a little each day.

Ideally, your pup should keep using the newspapers/pads. However, if you hit a snag, and your dog has an accident in the unpadded area, here’s what may be the problem:

  1. You moved the newspapers/pads too much, in which case you need to stay in that spot for a few days and monitor your dog’s activities.
  2. You didn’t clean the area in which the newspapers/pads used to be. In that case, you need to make sure to do so immediately in order to avoid future accidents.

If you plan on training your dog to do its business outside, you will need to leave a newspaper/pad inside, and also add one outside. Move the indoor one along the wall until you get to the door.

Then, when you notice your pup getting ready to do its thing, try opening the door and taking it to the outdoor newspaper/pad. After a while, you can remove the indoor potty area completely (or you can keep it there just in case).

Final Thoughts

Dog’s are incredibly intelligent animals, but they’re also creatures of habit. That’s why paper training your dog will require a lot of patience on your end.

However, keep in mind that paper training your dog doesn’t mean you won’t have to take it out for walks anymore. Dogs need exercise to stay physically healthy and mentally stimulated.

If the weather isn’t favorable in your area, make sure you play with your dog while inside to keep it active.

Overall, remember to be kind to your fluffy friend, avoid punishment, and offer praise for its effort.

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