If there’s one skill that is essential for your new puppy to master, it’s toilet training. Accidents can happen with puppies, but living with a dog that regularly relieves itself inside is frustrating and less than sanitary. That doesn’t make toilet training easy, though.
King Charles Cavalier Spaniels can be especially tricky to train because many are slower to develop bladder control than other dogs. This means that extra consistency and patience are often needed. The good news is that these dogs are generally clever and eager to please, so once they understand what you want, they’ll learn quickly.
Here’s a quick guide on potty training your spaniel puppy.
The 6 Steps on How to Potty Train a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel
1. Start Where Your Puppy Is
The most important skill when training a King Charles Cavalier is knowing what your dog is ready for. Because these pups don’t have a ton of self-control early on, no amount of training can make them hold for longer than they’re ready.
During the day, you should be letting your puppy out frequently—right at bedtime and wake up time, after every meal, and every 1–2 hours throughout the day, depending on your puppy’s needs. This can be arduous, but it’s important because it helps your puppy learn that indoor bathroom breaks aren’t acceptable. Over time, your puppy will develop more control and be able to stay inside for longer.
You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with your puppy’s body language. Many dogs have behaviors they show when they need to relieve themselves, such as whining, pacing, squatting, or sniffing around. Be ready to let your puppy out at any time if you think it needs it.
2. Be Consistent
Even though you should be responsive to your dog’s needs, a consistent schedule will also help your dog. Try to let your dog out at the same times each day, especially after meals and before and after they sleep. Even if your dog doesn’t need to go, you’re helping teach it that outdoor bathroom breaks should follow a regular routine.
You can also be consistent in other aspects of your routine, including where you take your dog for bathroom breaks. Some dogs easily pick up that outside is a fine place to go to the bathroom and indoor areas are off limits, but others will learn faster if they are brought to the same area every time.
3. Consider Crate Confining
Dogs like to keep their sleeping space and their toilet area separate, so a properly sized crate can be vital in helping your spaniel practice self control and avoid accidents. Putting your dog in a crate when you aren’t able to supervise will help them naturally want to avoid an accident. If your dog does still pee in the crate, it’s possible that you need to take it out more frequently or that the crate is too large.
4. Use Positive Reinforcement
King Charles Cavalier Spaniels are gentle, sensitive dogs, and they care a lot about their owner’s feelings. That means that anger and punishments are likely to add stress that will make a potty problem worse. On the other hand, praise and treats for successfully using the restroom outside is a huge motivator! Once your dog is consistent, the treats and praise will be less important, but during the training phase these will be very helpful.
5. Don’t Inadvertently Punish Good Behavior
One mistake many new owners make is inadvertently punishing good behavior by focusing all their attention on their puppy before it relieves itself. They might encourage and fuss over a puppy when they know it’s close to peeing and then ignore it once the bathroom break is over. Some owners also take their puppy outdoors and play with or walk them until they pee, and then go straight back inside. If your attention ends shortly after your puppy relieves itself, they might miss the point of your training and set you back.
6. Be Patient
The last and most important thing to remember is to be patient. Housebreaking a puppy takes time, and some are slower than others. Even if you do everything right, it may take a few months for the training to fully click and for your spaniel to learn enough self-control to avoid accidents at all times. In the meantime, consistency and patience are the keys to success, and it is important not to give up too soon.
It can be hard to train a puppy! King Charles Cavalier Spaniels are loving and easy to care for, but they do have their weaknesses, and housebreaking is one of them. If you have a hard time training your puppy out of peeing in the house, you aren’t alone. The good news is that it’s relatively simple to potty train, even if it isn’t always fast. Before long, you’ll have a happy, well-adjusted dog with no potty troubles at all.
Featured Image Credit: BJkenel, Shutterstock