I kept putting off potty training my son because I was afraid of failure. I had never done this before, and apparently, neither had my mother. Since I’m a first wife, my husband hadn’t either.
Then a dog training session changed all that.
Now, when I get called in for puppy training, it’s usually for things like eating shoes, walking on leash, basic obedience. Most families have already been doing the potty thing for a week or two and it’s mostly under control when I get there. I might make a few suggestions to “tweak” things, and that’s it.
But this one was different.
The poor guy, a big twenty something guy with the cutest little French Bulldog puppy you could ever hope to meet, was in a breakdown over his puppy. He was sure that he was a terrible puppy daddy and seriously considering returning the puppy to the breeder because he just wasn’t good enough for this small furry baby.
So I spent two hours there taking him through the potty training process, step by step, with lots of praise and encouragement and assurance.
(He kept the puppy and it turned out very well)
I came home asking myself, “why can’t I apply those same steps to my son?”
After all, the steps I had carefully outlined shared a lot of similarities with the advice in my potty training books:
How To Potty Train A Puppy
- Follow the puppy around constantly. CONSTANTLY. DO NOTHING ELSE. (If anyone ever told you that raising a puppy is easy, they were wrong and possibly drunk).
- Whenever the puppy starts to make a “mistake” in the house, immediately interrupt the behaviour by making a startling noise and picking her up.
- Take the puppy to the correct location and wait and pray and sacrifice a goat in the hope that she will finish what he started.
- Whenever the puppy does happen to urinate or defecate in the right place, throw a big party. Like, Ed McMahon just showed up at your house kind of a party. Give multiple kinds of rewards – extra special treats that he never gets at any other time, AND lots of verbal praise AND petting AND a play session.
- Give the puppy lots of opportunity for success by leading her to the right spot on a regular basis, especially after he has eaten or drank or played or sneezed or… well, you get the idea. Do it a lot.
And that’s it. If you do it right, they learn very fast.
I knew that. And that meant that I totally knew how to potty train my kid.