The Puppy Training Podcast

Episode #65 Apartment Living & Potty Training a Puppy

November 03, 2020 Baxter & Bella Puppy Training Season 2 Episode 65
The Puppy Training Podcast
Episode #65 Apartment Living & Potty Training a Puppy
Show Notes Transcript

I often get asked about training a puppy in an apartment. Is it different? If so, how? Today, let’s talk all about apartment living with a new dog - how to potty train, crate train and keep your neighbors happy.

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Apartment Living & Potty Training a Puppy


How are you this week my friends? 


How are your puppies? Lots to training going on- I see really good things on instagram, Facebook and through our program. I enjoy meeting so many of you in our online training school. Meeting you in one-on-one sessions and group Q&A’s has been so great. 


In those calls, I often get asked about training a puppy in an apartment. Is it different? If so, how? Today, let’s talk all about apartment living with a new dog - how to potty train, crate train and keep your neighbors happy. 


But first, please share the word about the work we do! If you know someone getting a puppy, let them know about this free podcast! Send them to our site baxterandbella.com to check out our Members Only access to lessons, videos, classes, courses, LIVE Events, trainer emails and more. And it’s never too early to start! We want you in our program BEFORE your puppy arrives so we can help prep you and your house for what’s coming! 


We know puppies - it’s what we do and we want to help - We know your friends learn about us from you so thanks for spreading the word. 


Onto today’s topic - training your puppy in an apartment. 


How it differs from a home - 


First let’s talk about potty training your puppy.

Apartment living often means you have no private yard. Because your new puppy will not be fully vaccinated for several more weeks, you’ll want to set up an indoor potty area to keep them safe. Then we will transition them to outside once they have their full set of vaccinations.


What should the indoor potty area look like? I recommend creating a small space enclosed with an exercise pen to help your puppy understand very clearly the boundaries of where they can and cannot go potty. A small bathroom will also work well. Line the pen with pee pads or place several pee pads on the bathroom floor. Replace as needed. This pen will only be used for going potty. 


Cuing your puppy to GO POTTY will help you when you transition them to outside - they will recognize the cue means to relieve themselves and this will allow you to let them know what you are wanting when the surface is different. Mark yes and reward your puppy for every success in their new indoor potty area and really establish the cue Go Potty. 


This setup also allows you to begin bell training. I usually wait 2-3 weeks to begin this training. Then place bells on the door to the potty pen or the bathroom and teach your puppy to ring the bells signaling they need to go potty. 


These skills will easily transfer to your outside exit when the time is right. You simply move the bells to the door leading outside then cue your puppy to go potty on whatever surface you’d like them to go on. Puppies do not generalize well so be patience as you help them get successes on cement, grass, rocks or mulch. You can start by bringing the pee pads outside to their new potty area and then work to make the pee pad smaller and smaller until it is no longer needed. 


Some apartments have a private balcony. If this describes you, you can set up a potty area on your balcony and treat it the same way you would an outdoor potty area. I would still use a pen to enclose a part of the patio where you’d like them to go. 


There is a bonus to training your puppy in an apartment - the oftentimes smaller area leads to faster housetraining completion! 


What about crate training - 

When you first bring your puppy home, they will be in a transition state - somewhat stressed and anxious about their new home, people and living space. Be patient with them as they adjust. Help them feel comfortable. They will want to be right next to you. Keep them close for the first few days. Put the crate at your feet while you make a meal, work in your office or relax on the sofa.


Spend time daily introducing them to a crate and helping them like it. Start by luring them in with a food reward and letting them come right back out again several times throughout the day. Feed them meals in the crate to make it a positive place. If they have a favorite chew, reserve that for crate time. Place the crate with the door open inside an exercise pen so they can go in and out as they please. When they are sleepy, move them to their crate to take a nap. 


At night, put the crate right next to you so they relax and go to sleep faster. 


Your neighbors will thank you for helping your puppy feel safe and secure as puppy barking and whining is not something they most likely appreciate. 


Once your puppy is comfortable in your home you can start to teach them to be alone. It is a bit tricky in apartments to help your puppy be quiet as you start to distance yourself. This process may take longer in an apartment simply because we can’t let our puppy work it out on their own as we might in a single family dwelling. 


Starting with small successes is key. Coming and going during the day in and out of the room where they are crated so they can see you and know you always come back - this goes a long way in helping them trust you will be back. 


Even small short sessions of one minute may be needed. One minute turns to two, two to four, four to eight and so on until your puppy is fine being left alone - meaning they will relax when you are not in sight - for hours at a time. If your puppy is really having a hard time, finding a neighbor or friend who can be with your puppy when you need to leave can help bridge the gap of you leaving and them being alone. 


Many of us are not leaving home as much as we used to - many are working or going to school without leaving the house. It is helpful for our puppies to be left alone each day even for a little bit so they do not become dependent on us being around. Starting with short sessions and building up to longer periods of time will help your apartment puppy quietly achieve success. 


Hope those tips help and get you off to a great start! Have a wonderful week and happy training.