The old adage, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” does not necessarily apply when it comes to potty training an aging dog. The process is quite similar for both puppies and older dogs. However, potty-training an older dog in an apartment is not easy. It requires effort and patience before your dog can get the hang of it.
It takes about two weeks to potty-train your older dog fully. The period can extend to a month or even more depending on other circumstances such as underlying medical conditions or separation anxiety. Below are helpful tips to potty-train an older dog faster and more efficiently.
Stick to a Feeding Schedule
Proper potty training for a dog at any age starts with a feeding program. Serve the dog at least two meals at around the same time daily. Older dogs will naturally eliminate shortly after feeding. Sticking to a set feeding schedule will make the elimination more regular.
Respect the Dog’s Privacy
Dogs value their privacy. They’ll naturally be hesitant to relieve themselves in an open spot around the living area. You can make them feel comfortable through careful choice of a potty site. This could be a quiet place within the apartment, such as the balcony, laundry room, or the store.
Use Crate Training
Crate training your dog will take time and effort. However, it’s one of the most effective ways to potty train an older dog. Ensure the crate you choose for potty training is only enough for the dog to turn around, lie down, stand up, and still feel comfortable. Dogs will naturally avoid eliminating in a comfortable area they consider home. However, do not use the crate for punishment to the dog. Some dogs will show signs of stress and anxiety during crate training. If that happens, contact a vet for other options.
Choose One Spot and Stick to It
Changing the dogs’ potty spot can significantly delay the training process. That’s why it’s important to think through the dogs’ poop spot immediately when you move into an apartment. Carefully choose an area and start the training from the first day.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Dogs crave the owner’s approval. There are several ways to use positive reinforcement to encourage your dog any time he eliminates outside. Use praise words or give him a treat immediately after he’s done with his business. Do it as soon as he finishes. This will show him that he’s just done the right thing. Your old dog will develop a positive association with the behavior with time. However, it’s important to note that the dog will cause a few accidents around the house during the training window.
Potty training an old dog in an apartment is not easy but can be highly rewarding if you can do it right. Patience and persistence are the two most essential practices in the training process. You can quickly achieve that with a set feeding schedule, a good choice of a potty spot, and the use of positive reinforcement each time the dog behaves. If done correctly, the potty training period can greatly enhance your bond with the dog.