Using a Rolled up Newspaper for Potty Training

This is one method I share with almost every client when I’m teaching potty training.  It’s a simple concept, but very effective as a teaching tool.  I’m going to give you specific instructions, so you don’t make any mistakes.  

The first step is to roll up a newspaper and make sure to keep it very handy so you can grab it at the exact moment your puppy is going potty indoors.  Like all training, timing is very important here.  When you see your pup going potty on the floor, grab the newspaper and hit yourself on the head! 

Of course, I’m joking, but the point is, all potty accidents are your fault!  Understanding this will help you to NOT punish the puppy for mistakes.  Punishing a puppy for having an accident would be like punishing a baby for soiling their diaper.  It makes no sense and will do nothing to help them learn where to go potty.  Also, punishment could sometimes have fall out. 

One example of this is the pup that goes potty in the house right after an unsuccessful trip outside.  This is often the result from punishing/scaring a puppy when they are making a potty mistake inside your house.  Here’s how that might look.  Your pup gets a drink and walks over to your favorite rug and squats.  You see this and scream, “NO”, and run toward the puppy grabbing them up and running outside.  It might not have been your intention, but you scared the little baby while she was going potty.  So, later that day, your timer goes off and you take the pup out the same door, to the same spot and wait patiently.  Nothing happens as you walk around and around the potty spot, so you give up. Thinking that the pup doesn’t have to go, you both go back inside the house.  Then, while you’re re-setting your timer, the pup goes around the corner and squats.  Gosh darn it!!!

I understand the frustration when this happens but let’s look at this from the pup’s point of view, which is always a good perspective.  You take the pup outside and tell her “go potty”.  She looks up at you and thinks, “I’m not going potty next to you, last time I went potty next to you, you scared me.”  That’s why she will start hiding behind the couch, under the table and other places out of sight to go potty. 

To prevent this from happening, I’ll never punish the pup for accidents in the house.  Just clean it up knowing it was your fault and try to do better.  I will always click and treat the puppy just as she’s finishing going potty outside.  This is the foundation that clicker training is built on, reinforce what you like and don’t focus on trying to stop mistakes.  This is the second installment in a series of Pawsitive Training Tipsy Tuesday articles.  Until next time…

Happy Training,


Marty Strausbaugh