Toilet training is often the first thing that most owners try to teach their dog. And whilst some may pick it up easily, others may take a little longer to grasp the concept of potty training.
To toilet train your Cavapoo, make sure that they’re constantly supervised. This allows you to pick up on signs that they need to pee whilst preventing accidents. By rewarding your Cavapoo for going outdoors will help to reinforce the right toileting behaviour.
According to the American Humane Association, destructive behaviour (such as soiling in the house) is one of the primary reasons why puppies get put up for rehoming. Therefore it is important to remember, that no puppy will deliberately make a mess in your house out of spite, they are simply picking a place that is convenient to them. But with plenty of patience, repetition, and guidance, your Cavapoo will soon learn how to toilet outdoors.
When should you start potty training your Cavapoo puppy?
From a young age, puppies have the ability to understand the concept that it is not nice to soil in their own personal space. From as little as just three weeks old, they will begin to take themselves away from their bed in order to toilet elsewhere.
In theory, this should make puppy toilet training relatively easy, especially if your Cavapoo has their own crate or den. After all, you are not teaching your puppy something new, instead, you simply need to teach and show them the best place to toilet.
There is no magic number which signifies the optimum time to start potty training your puppy, however, starting from the moment you collect your Cavapoo will enable you to start instilling positive toilet training behaviours and routines from the get-go. Just remember that your Cavapoo may not have full bladder control until they reach 20 weeks of age.
Pre inoculations (which happen at around 8 &12 weeks of age), you will have plenty of time to bond with your Cavapoo before they can go out to public places. Use this time to focus on how frequently your puppy needs to go to the toilet.
Why do puppies pee indoors?
It is really important not to punish your puppy for toileting indoors. After all, puppies are pee machines, and its little wonder given that they need to be fed multiple times a day. What goes in must come out, and often the most convenient place to pee is indoors.
Another reason why your Cavapoo might repeatedly pick a particular piece of carpet to toilet on, is that they are marking their territory. Therefore, make sure you clean the area thoroughly and use a deodorizing spray to help eliminate previous smells.
The excitement of seeing someone can often be overwhelming and therefore greetings can end up a messy affair. This will calm down over time, especially as your Cavapoo’s bladder starts to mature and get stronger. In the meantime, try and greet your dog in an area where mistakes won’t matter and keep them as low key as possible.
Top tips for toilet training your Cavapoo
The easiest way to potty train your Cavapoo is to always be in control of where they are and what they are doing. This way you will quickly learn the signs of when your puppy needs to go (see below) and the routines they start to fall into.
Dogs are den animals, and as such, they will see their crate as their home and a safe place to rest. It also provides you with the perfect place to put them in when you cannot supervise them – safe in the knowledge that they are less likely to toilet here. If you are interested to learn more on crate training your Cavapoo then read our please read our previous blog.
To ensure you have the best chance of toilet training success we recommend:
- Rewarding. Letting your puppy know that toileting outside is the very best thing they could ever do. The minute they master doing their business outdoors give them plenty of treats, fuss, praise, and play. You want your puppy to understand that toileting indoors results in no attention, whilst toileting outdoors means its puppy party time. Remember to only praise them once they have finished as you do not want to distract them mid-flow.
- Timing. Always remember to take your Cavapoo straight outdoors during and after play, post-feeding them, and following a nap. These are the times when they are most likely to go. If you are finding it difficult to know when your puppy pees and poos, then keep a diary as this will help you to start to notice a pattern.
- Placement. Make sure that you take your puppy to the same outdoor spot each time. The scent from their previous pee should encourage them to go. This area should also be the place that you run too when your puppy is emptying their bladder indoors so that they are constantly being taught that this is the place to toilet. As our puppy Rosie came from a home where they only had shingle, we encouraged her to squat on the stones in our garden. Now, however, she is just as happy toileting on the garden and flowerbeds as she is on the gravel!
- Patience. Take your puppy outside regularly (every 45-60mins) to give them the chance to toilet. Remember that if your puppy does not want to go to the toilet immediately, then that’s ok! Let them sniff, wander and play but try not to interact with them until they have done their business. If nothing happens, then bring them back indoors and wait for the signs that they are ready to relieve themselves.
- Limitations. Try to limit the places that your puppy has to explore indoors. This will ensure that you can watch them more vigilantly and minimise the opportunity for them to the toilet all over your house. We gave our Cavapoo access to the kitchen and hall only until she was fully toilet trained.
- Encouragement. By using a code word, you can not only encourage your Cavapoo to go to the toilet but eventually, they will start to associate the word with relieving themselves. We have always used the word ‘quickly’, and now at 5 months old, Rosie knows what we need her to do when we mutter it firmly.
- Lowkey. If your dog needs to potty in the middle of the night, then keep it quiet and quick and always return them straight back to their crate. We were lucky in that Rosie never needed to pee during the night and we always made sure that she had ample time to relieve herself before bed.
- Persistence. Finally, do not get discouraged. Accidents happen and you will get times where you feel like you are moving one paw forward only to then take two paws back. Just be consistent, persistent and patient and the results will come.
Signs that your Cavapoo needs the toilet
Dogs are creatures of habit which means that there are certain times of the day that they are most likely to need the toilet (in the morning, after a nap, post food, following a play and last thing at night). Simply by observing your Cavapoo and picking up on certain cues will limit accidents from occurring and fast forward the toilet training stage.
Signs that your Cavapoo needs the toilet include:
- Circling and sniffing. Wild dogs tend to check the ground for snakes and other dangerous items before sitting down. Therefore you may notice your own dog doing a similar thing before they need to go to the toilet.
- Whining. Dog whine or howl as an attention grabber to let you know that they need something – i.e./ to go out for a wee.
- Pacing. When we are waiting for something we often pace back and forth. Dogs also do this when they need to go to the potty.
- Scratching. Our Cavapoo will always let us know that she needs the toilet by scratching on the back door. It is her way of communicating to us, that she wants to be let out.
All breeds and all dogs are individual so it is up to you (as their owner) to figure out what signs your Cavapoo displays when they need to go to the toilet.
Once you spot the signs, quickly swoop in, pick your puppy up and take them straight to their preferred place in the back yard.
Are Cavapoos hard to toilet train?
What’s the secret to potty training your Cavapoo? Consistency and routine!
Anyone with children who have been throughout the hell of toilet training a toddler will tell you that potty training takes time and there will be good and bad days along the way.
But Cavapoos are clever dogs, who enjoy learning and want to please. Therefore they tend to pick things up quickly. Especially if you are consistent throughout and reward your puppy for any good toileting behaviour. More information on how to train a Cavapoo can be found here.
Top Tip: One mistake that we made with our Cavapoo was to constantly leave our back door open. We got her during the summer months when it was lovely and warm and thought it would help if we could let her come and go as she pleased. This actually set our toilet training journey back a few weeks, as she was unable to properly distinguish between indoors and out.
How long does it take to potty train a Cavapoo?
There is no set time limit for toilet training your Cavapoo and each dog will be different – you just need to go with the flow (so to speak). Some may take a matter of weeks whilst others may take a few months. We got Rosie at 8 weeks of age and by 16 weeks she had finally cracked toilet training.
In fact, it was the weekend we decided to take her camping, and I have to admit I was all a little apprehensive at the prospect. After all, peeing in the house is one thing but puddles on a hot tent floor – no thanks! Luckily for us, Rosie seemed to grasp the concept of wild weeing straight away and understood that when the tent zip closed, she had to hold her bladder.
There are two things to remember when it comes to toilet training your Cavapoo.
(1) Don’t be hard on yourself and
(2) Don’t take it out on your Cavapoo. Just remember that toilet training is not something that we can condition overnight and whilst some puppies may pick it up really quickly, others may need a little more time.
Should you use puppy pads to potty train your Cavapoo?
Puppy (or potty) pads tend to be a contentious subject – you either love them or hate them. Whilst I appreciate that if you live in an apartment or somewhere where you are confined in terms of space then these could be a useful tool, for our toilet training journey, we decided not to use them at all.
Puppy pads are convenient in that they can be placed anywhere and are super absorbent. Puppies are attracted to these as by nature most dogs will choose a place to toilet that has a porous surface.
The downside of using puppy pads to toilet train your Cavapoo is that you are teaching them that it is ok to wee indoors as long as it is on an absorbent surface. Therefore it won’t take long before your carpets, clothes and sofas are being favoured over and above hard and easy to clean floor! Puppy pads are also fun toys to shred and chew and can prevent your puppy from exploring outdoors.
For us, I personally felt that puppy pads would be counter-intuitive. After all, why encourage Rosie to wee indoors when our ultimate goal was to get her to the toilet outdoors?
Just like most forms of dog training, when it comes to toilet training your Cavapoo you get what you reinforce. As responsible Cavapoo owners it is up to us to guide them through the process – just don’t expect it to happen overnight.
Constant supervision, praise, patience and treats will ensure that you both come out the other side of potty training with a good understanding of your dog’s behaviour and most importantly with a house that smells as fresh as a daisy.
See our post on DIY dog potty surfaces you can make at home here!