Once our babies are weened we transition them to their own nursery and we place a box in the back corner with pine pellets for them to use to potty. They naturally want to use it because it’s outside of their sleep and play areas.
When your puppy arrives you can transition them into this lifestyle by having pine pellets and something as simple as a plain kitty litter box that doesn’t have a roof. (Optional: You can place puppy liners at the bottom of the kitty litter box to help clean up but it is not necessary as the clean up is already fairly easy.) Note: Puppy pads are a nice to have around. During breakfast and dinner you can place them nearby in case of potential accidents.
As you continue training your puppy on where to use the bathroom the pine pellets play a really big role. When you start taking them outside you should sprinkle the soiled pellets from their current indoor box on where you want them to go. Doing this will help them recognize the appropriate place outdoors. This consistent behavior will help you transition through the process all the way to the end. The goal is to slowly but surely eliminate the pine pellets inside, over time. Only you will know what time frame’s appropriate as each puppy is different.
Inside playtime, sleeping and transitioning:
Aside from the litter box we crate train our babies starting 8-9 weeks and up to three months. (This time frame is generalized but each puppy can be different.) When engaging and playing with our puppy we do not let them run around on the floor or furniture unsupervised until they are housebroken. The first eight months have proven to be the most critical for setting good behaviors and stopping bad ones in their tracks.
During the first year you can expect accidents to occur more frequently until they are properly housebroken. They are babies, they cannot help it and sometimes if you’re not clear with directions it can get confusing for them. When they use the bathroom outside (or where you want them to) you should have small treats for rewards on hand. This next part is probably the most important. When they have done what you wanted/expected, pick your baby up, hold them close to your face at eye contact level and in a very warm excited voice, praise them. (Each person is different but for us it normally just comes as “Good girl!!! or Good boy!!!”) The verbal praise and hand treat go a very long way. Most dogs (especially Boston Terriers) love performing at a high level so this gives them confidence and desire to receive this response from you again! (Note: This behavior can not stop. You have to maintain praising them. Over time you won’t have to do it as often but you certainly should still sporadically do it as they age because dogs can get lazy living indoors…especially if you spoil them rotten like we do.)
It’s important that you don’t yell at them if they have an accident inside. Your puppy’s goal (believe it or not) is not to disappoint you. By yelling at them it can cause confusion and anxiety that will lead to other bad behaviors and could set back all of the potty training you have put into place. (Note: When cleaning up accidents in the house it’s important that you eliminate the odor because if you do not, it can encourage them to go there again. We use Resolve Spray, it is safe and works wonders.)
If you plan to allow your puppy to sleep with you consider getting a water proof mattress cover. This keeps your mattress safe in the event that an accident occurs. You can even get one that is covered in a cloth material so it won’t rattle or make noise when you sleep.
Important: Your puppy should maintain a regular eating/drinking routine to help with potty training. We feed our babies at the same time every day 6:30-7:30 in the morning and 6:30-7:30 at night because it tends to match most schedules. (When they are younger we feed them a snack mid day as well but we transition them to a normalized schedule shortly before pickup for easiest transition from our home to yours.)
Here’s a chart for when it’s a good time to go outside.
Remember to have fun with your potty training no matter what method you choose!