How to Potty Train Small Dogs

If your small dog is proving to be a challenge to potty train, start it on a simple routine. Since small dogs have small bladders, frequently take your dog outside to a designated space. Encourage it to toilet using command words and reward it with verbal praise or treats when it successfully goes. Be consistent in your expectations and your dog will soon get the hang of toileting in the appropriate place.

EditEstablishing a Routine
Start potty training as soon as you can. If you’re bringing the new dog home, ensure that you’re ready to begin training immediately. The sooner your small dog associates toileting with the appropriate space, the easier it will be to train it.[1]
Keep in mind that all breeds are different and your small dog is an individual. Some dogs pick up potty training quickly while others need more practice.

If your dog is still a puppy, you can start the training process right away, but remember that puppies under 8 weeks old have poor bladder control and won’t be able to get it down perfectly until they’re older.

Choose a designated place to toilet. Pick a place outside where you’d like your small dog to go. When you take your dog outside, walk it right to the spot. Avoid letting it wander around or run off when it’s time to toilet.[2]
Be in the habit of letting the dog toilet first thing when you go outside. Then let your dog go for a walk or play once it’s finished.

Make potty breaks part of the daily schedule. If your small dog is still a puppy, you’ll need to take it to the toilet spot every 20-30 minutes, which gives your puppy a better chance of being in the toilet spot at the right time. If your small dog is an adult, plan on taking your dog outside at regular intervals throughout the day. For example, give your small dog the chance to toilet:[3]
First thing in the morning

Right before bed at night

After being in a crate

After meals or drinking

Be consistent in your expectations. Dogs learn best by repetition, so stick with your toileting routine every day. If you don’t follow your own schedule, the dog will be confused and is more likely to have an accident.[4]
For example, if you usually take your dog outside after meals, but forget to one day, your dog may have an accident because it’s used to going at a set time.

EditTaking the Dog Out
Lead your dog outside and say a command word such as “go potty.” Keep your small puppy on a leash and walk it over to the place where you’d like it to toilet. Let it walk around the space for a bit. Once it starts to go, and say a word or phrase that they’ll associate with the action. Later, you’ll be able to say the cue word as a trigger; right now, you’re still building the mental link.[5]
For example, say, “do your business,” or “go pee.”

Reward your dog with praise and food treats. As soon as you see your dog successfully toileting in the right place, say the cue word, then give it lots of verbal praise such as “Good job!” or a small dog treat. Reward it immediately so it associates going in that place with good things.[6]
If you’re giving your small dog a treat, keep the treat small as well. The treat should be soft and pea-sized such as a bit of chicken or beef.

Give your dog another chance if it doesn’t toilet the first time. If you’ve taken your dog outside as part of your regular schedule but it didn’t pee or poop, bring it back inside and put it in its crate. Keep it in the crate for 15 minutes and then take it back outside to try again. Continue to do this until the dog toilets.[7]
This will help it understand that it has to toilet in that one space.

If you don’t have a crate, keep your dog leashed and tie the leash to your belt. Then take it outside after the 15 minutes are up.

Clean up accidents to prevent your dog from toileting there again. When you notice that your small dog has had an accident, immediately stop and clean up the mess. Use a pet odor neutralizer spray and blot the mess. It’s important to remove the scent so your dog doesn’t return to toilet there in the future.[8]
If your dog has toiled on cushions, bedding, or blankets, add of baking soda to your laundry detergent. Wash the items and dry it completely. If you still smell urine, wash the items again with an enzymatic cleanser.

Avoid yelling at your dog. Expect that mistakes will happen as your small dog learns to toilet in the appropriate place. Never yell or shout at your dog when this happens since dogs don’t learn through punishment.[9]
You should also avoid rubbing your dog’s nose in its mess, striking the dog, or throwing things at it. These abusive actions will only frighten the dog and damage your relationship.

EditEncouraging Your Small Dog
Limit your dog’s freedom inside the house until it’s trained. If your small dog enjoys roaming throughout your house, it may find it easier to pick a spot in the house to toilet rather than go outside. Until it’s potty trained, keep the dog in 1 or 2 rooms.[10]
Confining your dog will also reduce the likelihood of accidents since it can’t wander off and pee somewhere unexpected.

Wait at least 1 month after your dog is potty trained before you open other rooms of your house to the dog.

Make your dog comfortable with going outside. Small dogs may not like the going outside to toilet because it’s cold or the grass feels strange. If you know it’s cold outside, consider putting a sweater on your dog before you take it out. To help your dog get used to the texture of its toileting space, bring some of the material inside for it to check out.
For example, bring a small patch of grass inside and set it in your dog’s space for it to get used to.

Supervise your dog during the potty training process. Your dog will need a lot of guidance until it learns to go outside to toilet. Stay with your dog and continue to give it lots of opportunities to go outside, especially if it shows signs that it needs to toilet. These signs include:[11]

Scratching at the door

Pacing near your feet

Following you around

Crate your dog when you can’t supervise it. If you know you’ll be gone for a while and can’t watch your small dog in the house, put it in the crate. Keep in mind that your dog may have an accident in the crate if you’re gone too long, so try not to leave your dog for more than a few hours until it’s potty trained.[12]
If you need to be gone for an extended period of time before your dog is trained, ask someone to watch the dog until you return.

While some people like to set out pee pads for their small dogs, this may send confusing messages to your dog. Your dog might prefer toileting inside and might stop going outside altogether if you set out the pads.

EditThings You’ll Need

Dog treats

Pet odor neutralizer spray


Baking soda and laundry detergent

Crate, optional

EditRelated wikiHows
House Train Your Dog

House Train a Puppy

Use Puppy Pads and Outdoor Potty Training Together

Potty Train a Puppy in an Apartment

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Today in History for 24th January 2019

Historical Events

1789 – Louis XVI of France issues an edict calling for the convocation of the Estates-General, a major event in the French Revolution
1899 – Rubber heel for boots or shoes patented by American Humphrey O’Sullivan
1952 – Fire in main building of French Port Martin Antarctic base
1976 – Cleveland Cavaliers biggest margin victory-43 pts (beat Milwaukee 132-89)
1999 – David Duval eagles the 18th hole for a final round 59 to win the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic at PGA West to become only the 3rd player to fire a sub-60 round on the PGA Tour
2018 – Former US Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar found guilty of molesting over 150 girls, sentenced up to 175 years in prison

More Historical Events »

Famous Birthdays

1796 – Nicholas Mori, Anglo-Italian violinist and conductor, born in London, England (d. 1839)
1829 – William Mason, composer
1924 – Marvin Kaplan, American actor (Top Cat, Henry-Alice), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2016)
1943 – Subhash Ghai, Indian film director
1947 – Giorgio Chinaglia, Carrara Italy, soccer star (Lazio of Italy, NY Cosmos), (d. 2012)
1957 – Vladimir “Vlatko” Stefanovski, Macedonian guitarist, born in Prilep

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Famous Deaths

1967 – Howard Charles Shaiffer, entertainer, dies at 49
1990 – Madge Bellamy, American actress, dies of heart failure at 90
1993 – Ugur Mumcu, Turkish journalist and writer (Cumhuriyet Murder), dies at 50
1994 – Yves Navarre, French writer (Le Jardin d’acclimatation), dies at 53
2005 – June Bronhill, Australian singer (b. 1929)
2007 – Guadalupe Larriva, Ecuadorian politician (b. 1956)

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How to Take Care of Your Kidneys

The kidneys are vital organs in our bodies. They are responsible for filtering waste in your blood and excreting it through your urine. Kidneys also help regulate your body’s fluid balance, electrolytes, salt, and water. A lot of people don’t give much thought to the health of their kidneys, but they should! Proper kidney functioning is key to a healthy overall life. Luckily, by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, you can take active steps towards making sure your kidneys are well taken care of.

EditMaintaining a Healthy Diet
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. You’ll want to make sure your diet contains all the vitamins and minerals your body requires. Include at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables in your diet every day to keep your body, including your kidneys, healthy.[1]
Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, fiber, and assorted vitamins and minerals, all of which are essential elements for the correct functioning of your body.

Consider swapping out one of your normal snack foods (e.g., a bag of chips) for a piece of fresh fruit or cutting a banana over your cereal every morning to easily increase the amount of fruit you eat in a normal day.[2]
Only rely on fruit and vegetable juices for 1 of your 5 daily portions. The other 4 portions need to come from solid fruits and vegetables to get the needed health benefits.

Cut back on foods high in salt, sugar, or saturated fats. Eating too much salt impedes the correct functioning of the kidneys and can cause kidney stones. Eating too much sugar or saturated fats is also bad for your overall health and can lead to unhealthy weight gain, which is bad for your kidneys.[3]
Swap out salty or processed snacks with fruits and vegetables or other healthy alternatives like unsalted nuts. Avoid fried and processed foods wherever possible.

If you opt for low-fat foods, check to make sure they don’t have a lot of added sugar.

A good trick when you are preparing food is to replace half the salt that you would usually use with other spices.

Eat more healthy fats and oils as part of a balanced diet. Healthy fats and oils, like polyunsaturated fat and fish oil, contain vital nutrients that our bodies need and can help prevent disease. Add sources of healthy fats and oils to your diet to maximize the health benefits of the foods you eat.[4]
Oily fish, olive oil, dried fruits, and avocados are excellent sources of healthy fats, which are necessary to line and protect our vital organs.

Incorporate more kale and spinach into your diet. Kale and spinach are both green vegetables packed with vitamins A, C, and K, along with other helpful nutrients like potassium and magnesium. Eating more of these leafy greens can give you all sorts of benefits that help keep your kidneys, and your whole body, healthy.[5]
Note that these foods are also significantly high in potassium. People on dialysis or with a dietary potassium restriction should limit their intake of spinach and kale.

Some ways to eat more kale and spinach include using them in a salad, throwing them on a sandwich or burger, or mixing them in a “green smoothie.”

Limit your portion sizes to avoid overeating. Serve yourself small portions of food and eat slowly. When the foods you eat have a high level of nutritional value, a moderate portion will satisfy you. You will feel more active the rest of the day and keep your weight under control.[6]
Being overweight is associated with illnesses like diabetes and hypertension, which are risk factors for various renal and cardiovascular diseases.

The kidneys function better if you maintain an appropriate weight for your physique and age.

EditDoing Regular Exercise
Commit to doing 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. The best way to ensure you’re exercising enough is to commit to a regimen that will cover your weekly exercise needs. Aim to exercise 5 days a week for 30 minutes each day to get enough exercise to keep your kidneys (and the rest of your body) healthy.[7]
If your time is limited, you can also do 10 minutes of exercise 3 times each day.

Choose full-body exercises to get the most out of your workouts. The best way to maintain good health is to practice sports that will engage more than just one muscle group. Besides helping to strengthen the muscles in your whole body, these exercises will help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of kidney disease.[8]
Some good examples of full-body exercises include swimming, cycling, mountain biking, dance, and rowing.

Take advantage of opportunities to walk more. Walking is a very effective and natural exercise for people and can do a lot to help you maintain a more active lifestyle. Make your legs your main form of transportation whenever possible to help reduce your risk of kidney disease.[9]
Try walking to work instead of driving or commuting. If you have to take the bus, consider getting off a couple of stops early and walking the rest of the way.

If possible, opt for taking the stairs instead of using the elevators.

Participate in physical activities that you enjoy so you’ll stick with it. If you decide to commit to regular exercise, make sure to choose an activity that you enjoy. Otherwise, your willpower might fade and you won’t be motivated to keep up with your daily exercise.[10]
Consider joining a football team in your neighborhood, taking tennis lessons, learning to skate, trying an aqua aerobics class, taking dance classes with a loved one, or playing outside with your children and friends.

All these activities improve your general health and produce endorphins, the hormones associated with well-being and happiness.

EditLiving a Healthy Lifestyle
Stay hydrated to help your kidneys function properly. Your kidneys, like the rest of your body, need water to do their job. Make sure you’re drinking sufficient water every day and avoid becoming dehydrated.[11]
Get in the habit of taking a bottle of water wherever you go and take small sips throughout the day. Take advantage of times you can refill the water bottle like at work or at the gym.

It is recommended to drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day.

Avoid drinks with added sugars, like fruit juices and soda, and limit your consumption of caffeinated drinks like coffee.

You should also avoid soda, as some evidence suggests that it may cause kidney stones and other renal problems.

Quit smoking and limit your alcohol consumption. Smoking and drinking alcohol can both lead to high blood pressure, which is one of the most common causes of kidney disease. Refrain from these activities as much as possible to avoid impacting the health of your kidneys.[12]
If you can’t entirely abstain from drinking alcohol, you should limit yourself to no more than 14 units of alcohol a week. 14 units of alcohol equate to 6 beers or 7 glasses of wine.

You should entirely refrain from smoking, if at all possible.

Keep your blood pressure below 140/90. A blood pressure higher than this is too high and can have an adverse effect on your kidneys. Work with a doctor to monitor your blood pressure and make sure it stays at a healthy level.[13]
If your blood pressure is higher than it should be, your doctor may prescribe medication to lower it or offer various lifestyle changes you can adopt to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.

Make sure you get your blood pressure checked often. High blood pressure doesn’t have any external symptoms, so the only way to know if you have it is to get it checked.

Manage diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease to prevent kidney damage. If you suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease, you’re particularly susceptible to sustaining kidney damage as well. To prevent this damage, maintain your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels within a healthy range for your circumstances.[14]
Work with your doctor to determine what your ideal blood glucose numbers and cholesterol levels ought to be and how you should go about reaching them. This may include lifestyle changes or medication.

Be sure to take all your medicines as prescribed by your doctor, especially those meant to regulate blood pressure.

Avoid taking over-the-counter medications for too long. If you regularly take certain non-prescription pills, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, for a long period of time, you may accidentally damage your kidneys. Talk to your doctor about ways to monitor your kidney function if you take these or other NSAIDs for chronic conditions.[15]
NSAID stands for “non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.”

If you only use NSAIDs occasionally to treat pain, you’re probably not at risk. If you take NSAIDs for chronic pain, be sure not to take them for more than 10 days, unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

Get a medical checkup at least once a year. Your doctor will take your blood pressure and order routine exams (cholesterol levels, glucose, etc.) that will help the doctor determine if you have developed or are at risk for developing kidney problems.

If you plan to adopt a drastic lifestyle change, make sure to consult with your doctor first. Even an excess of natural fruits and vegetables can be damaging to your health or can interfere with medicines you are currently taking.

Some over-the-counter medications may raise blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, watch out for these medications and consult your doctor before taking them.

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