Here’s one surprising thing to consider when it comes to potty training your pup

Puppy going toilet in the garden
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Potty training is something that most dog parents will have to do — unless, perhaps, you got a rescue dog as an adult. It’s not the most fun aspect of having a dog, but it’s a necessity. 

Your pup just wants to do their business so they can get back to playing with the best dog toys, but for us, there are all sorts of things to consider when it comes to potty training your pup. 

One thing to think about that often might not occur to us is getting our dogs used to going to the toilet on various different surfaces. Certified dog trainer Melissa Goodman of Mission Pawsitive (with some help from her own dog, Aspen) has explained why this is a good idea in a new Instagram post. 

Even if you have an adult dog who’s potty trained, they may still run into challenges from time to time. So, whether this is your first time wondering how to potty train a puppy or you’ve worked with a number of dogs before, it’s worth keeping this in mind.

Goodman uses the example of Aspen, who’s not accustomed to snow — she explains that while she loves playing in the snow, sinking into it threw her off when it was time to go to the toilet.

“If your dog is used to only going to the bathroom in specific places, that can be really challenging if you are somewhere new and that specific option isn’t available to your dog,” Goodman explains.

At first, Aspen found sheltered places that were protected from the snow, and areas where vehicles had moved over the snow, causing it to melt. Later, she became more comfortable going in the snow, but it took her some time to adjust. As Goodman says about our pups, “It’s normal if they struggle or regress temporarily.” It’s natural that it may cause a little stress or anxiety in dogs — it’s an unfamiliar situation.

She continues, “If you have a puppy that you are potty training or you have an adult dog that is slightly more particular about where they like to go to the bathroom, try to expand their horizon as much as you can in that department to make it easier on them when in situations like this.”

You might find that your dog will struggle with going to the bathroom in the rain, too, They might look for dry surfaces at first, before gradually becoming more used to the idea of going in the rain.

If your dog is struggling, remember to give them plenty of support and encouragement. It probably goes without saying, but even if your dog does regress slightly, punishment isn’t the answer — positive reinforcement works best here.

Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.