Potty Training a Puppy -
The Paper Training Method

When it comes to potty training a puppy, you may find yourself in the position of making several important decisions such as how to manage its environment and what techniques to employ to help set your puppy for success.

Paper training is a common potty training technique that offers the advantage of being practical and economical.

A lot of dog owners swear by this technique, and I used to be one of them. In fact, I used it with the first three puppies that I raised.

But while this method is popular among many dog and puppy owners, it is also important to consider that it has some drawbacks.

Let's get acquainted with the paper training process so you can find out if this potty training method will work for you.

What Exactly is Paper Training?

As the name implies, paper training means to potty train a puppy to eliminate on paper. The goal of this training method is to train the puppy to go potty only on paper placed in selected areas of the home for easy clean up.

Because paper will absorb the puppy's urine and will collect the puppy's feces, all you would need to do is roll up the paper and toss it for easy disposal. To make things even easier, the papers are often placed on tile or linoleum floors so to avoid hard-to-clean messes on carpets and hardwood floors. For this reason, many puppy owners choose a bathroom for paper training their puppy.

Potty Training a Puppy

Advantages of Potty Training a Puppy with Paper

Paper training is advantageous in many different ways:

  1. When temperatures plummet to single digits, you do not have to worry about turning into a snow man while your pampered pooch takes his time to eliminate in the snow.
  2. If you work long hours, you can rest assured your puppy has a place to go.
  3. If you live in an apartment on the last floor, your puppy may be unable of holding it while you fly down several flights of stairs.
  4. Do you enjoy sleeping late on Sunday mornings? You can safely recuperate some sleep knowing that your puppy can use the paper to eliminate when nature calls.

Disadvantages of Paper Potty Training

The biggest disadvantage of paper training is the fact that it may considerably slow down the potty training a puppy process.

Because a puppy needs to be eventually taught to eliminate outdoors, paper training adds an additional step to the housetraining process. Also, it's a lot more difficult to untrain your puppy from repeating an old behavior than to teach him a new one.

Another disadvantage is that paper training can be messy if your puppy fails to aim right, or worse, decides to shred the paper in pieces just because he is bored. Not to mention the fact that paper training can be smelly!

When to Consider Puppy Paper Training

If you can take your puppy outside every couple of hours, there is no need for you to even consider paper training. There will still be accidents, but they are part of raising a puppy.

If you work full-time, you may ask for help from your friends, relatives or neighbors. If you live in a city, you can hire a dog walker or a pet sitter. But none of these solutions are very practical. No one will take your puppy outside three, four or five times per day until you come home from work. And it's not going to be cheap to hire a professional dog walker.

So, if nobody is home for extended periods of time, the cheapest solution may be to teach your puppy to eliminate on a bunch of old newspapers. Even if potty training a puppy will take longer, you have no choice. And just because it will take longer, it doesn't mean it can't be done.

How to Paper Train a Puppy

If you decide to adopt puppy paper training as your chosen method for potty training a puppy, the following steps may make the process easier for your puppy.

  1. Choose a room that's large enough to provide enough space for playing, sleeping and a toilet area. It should have easy-to-clean surface that is puppy proof. Avoid any room with carpeted or wooden floors. Many select a bathroom or a laundry room for potty training a puppy.
  2. Cover a section of the room with layers of newspaper. Put enough paper to absorb about 1/2 cup of water without allowing the water to seep under the paper.
  3. When you leave the house, confine your puppy to the chosen area. For the next couple of days, remember where he prefers to eliminate. You can even reinforce his preference by taking some papers on which he urinated and placing them in that particular spot. Most likely, he will recognize the smell and eliminate where you placed those papers.
  4. Observe your puppy when you believe he may need to eliminate. If you notice any "pre-potty" signs such as sniffing, circling or squatting, gently interrupt him and place him on the newspaper if he happens to be on the area without newspapers.
  5. When the puppy eliminates on the newspaper, throw a party. This part plays an integral role for successfully potty training a puppy. Make sure you praise lavishly and reward with a tasty treat.
  6. Every day, remove some newspapers, but don't remove too many and too fast. If one day he eliminates on the floor where there are no newspapers, you probably removed too much. Use an enzyme-based urine remover to clean the spot and increase the area covered by newspapers.
  7. Eventually, the area covered by newspapers will shrink to the size of a single newspaper.

Paper Training Versus Other Indoor Potty Training Methods

Ideally, the best way for potty training a puppy is to teach him from the get-go to go outdoors; however, in many cases dog owners have no choice.

An indoor potty training method similar to paper training involves using puppy potty training pads. Some pee pads contain pheromones and other attractive scents to help puppies make good choices. Pee pads are also highly absorbent and some contain odor-inhibiting substances that help neutralize smells.

Another, even better, indoor potty training method involves litter box training for dogs. A dog litter box is usually filled with absorbent pellets which keep lingering odors at bay, making clean up easy and quite effortless.

Whether you decide to use last week's bulky Sunday newspaper, pee pads or a litter box that is designed specifically for dogs, the potty training a puppy process remains the same. Just set up the area correctly and your puppy should by instinct choose to eliminate as far as possible from where he eats, drinks, plays and sleeps. If your dog misses the designated area, make sure you are there to gently direct him to the right place so you can praise and reward when the puppy aims right.

Because dogs repeat behaviors that are heavily rewarded, it should shortly become second nature for your puppy to choose the designated area to eliminate.

Here is a brief video that provides additional paper training tips...

Final Thoughts...

While puppy paper training may be appropriate for certain circumstances, it is important to realize that it should be used as a temporary solution. The ultimate goal is to train a puppy to eliminate outdoors.

Whether you work long hours, want to avoid taking your puppy out during inclement weather or live in a high-rise apartment, potty training a puppy using paper may be the ultimate short term solution for you.

Related Articles

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Want to learn more?

Puppy Training

If you feel your pet can benefit from puppy paper training, I strongly recommend this guide to housetraining. In addition to step-by-step instructions on how to paper train your puppy the right way, you'll learn about other housetraining methods, including crate training.


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