Are you starting vizsla potty training with your new vizsla puppy and feel a little overwhelmed? Or perhaps your vizsla hasn’t quite worked out how to wee and poo outside and you are feeling frustrated cleaning up after your pup.
Either way, potty training a vizsla puppy can be a daunting (and let’s admit it – exasperating) task, particularly for new vizsla owners.
So if you want to know how to housetrain a puppy this article is for you! In our guide to potty training vizsla puppies we step you through everything you need to know and do to successfully housebreak a puppy.
This article is based on research and personal experience as a Vizsla owner. I’m not a qualified dog trainer, Vet or dog behaviourist.
When To Start Vizsla Potty Training
One of the first and most important steps in training your vizsla is potty training.
I recommend you start vizsla potty training as soon as you bring puppy home.
The starting age will vary as some breeders send pups home when they are 8 weeks old while some wait until 10 or even 12 weeks.
But regardless of their age, the vizsla training tips for potty training are the same and any good breeder will have started basic potty training before you pick the pup up anyway.
With our handy vizsla puppy potty training schedule, tips on crate training and potty training puppy at night, plus what NOT to do, you will be well prepared to tackle the task of potty training a puppy.
Are Vizslas Hard To Potty Train?
Thankfully vizslas are not hard to potty train when given plenty of attention and patience in the first few weeks.
They are an intelligent breed and learn new skills quickly.
Vizslas are also eager to please their owners so when given a consistent schedule and plenty of praise they will learn how to pee and poop outside quite quickly.
We encourage you not to underestimate the effort required to house train a puppy, but you are off to a good start with the Hungarian vizsla breed.
What You Need Before You Start Potty Training A Vizsla Puppy
Like any dog breed, vizsla puppies need close attention, consistency and plenty of praise as they go through the first few weeks of potty training.
To set you and pup up for house training success there are a few things you should consider before you start potty training a vizsla puppy.
Plan Time Off Work
Ideally you should plan to spend a few weeks at home with your pup to help them settle in. This is the time for you to embed good habits and put a stop to bad ones.
Being home and paying close attention to your pup is a key component of successful potty training, and will ultimately reduce the time it takes to fully house train them.
Choose A Potty Location
One decision to make before puppy comes home is where you want puppy to go. Ideally this is outside.
Is it in the backyard on the grass, in a dedicated garden bed, on a gravel path?
If you live in a high rise apartment, consider using a dog potty training mat or indoor potty.
Choose one spot and stick to it.
You also need to agree the word or phrase for teaching your pup how to pee and poop outside.
Use one term for both pee and poop to keep it simple. Examples of potty cues include:
- Go pee
- Go potty
- Do your business
- Go poo
- Wee wees
You get the picture – choose a phrase and ensure everyone in the house uses it.
Potty Training Equipment
Finally, ensure you have the following items ready to help you toilet train your pup:
- Small treats
- Puppy play pen or gates
- Dog bed
- Dog crate
- Enzyme based odor neutralizer spray
- Indoor potty mats (for apartment potty training)
The collar and leash are necessary to take your dog outside to where you want them to pee and poop. Buy or make small puppy treats to have on hand every time you take pup outside.
A puppy play pen or gates are necessary to contain your puppy within a small area during the day at home.
A bed and dog crate is highly recommended for toilet training a puppy at night.
Odor neutralizer spray is for cleaning up the accidents that happen when you aren’t paying attention!
Indoor potty training mats should only be used if you are potty training a puppy in an apartment. Do not use them if you want your puppy to go outside.
How To Potty Train A Vizsla Puppy
There are 5 essential steps for potty training vizsla puppies. We go into each step in more detail below:
- Contain the puppy’s living space
- Establish a potty training schedule
- Maintain a consistent potty routine
- Praise and reward lavishly
- Crate overnight
1. Contain The Living Space For Puppy
The most important step for successful potty training is containing your puppy’s living space.
Dogs naturally don’t want to do their business where they sleep and play, so limiting their play area to a small pen or area in your home is the first step in housetraining your puppy.
Vizslas like to be close to their humans, so good spaces to consider include the kitchen or a space close to the living room. Don’t put them in a closed room away from everyone.
If your home is open plan and you can’t easily gate off a section of the home, another option is to put them on a longish lead in a dog bed next to where you are working.
This stops them from roaming the house on their own and you can more easily keep them busy next to you and as they follow you around the house on the lead.
As you follow a schedule and potty routine (see the next section), you will gradually expand this permitted space by introducing them to more of the house a small section at a time – keeping an eye on them as you do.
2. Establish A Potty Training Schedule
Establishing a potty training schedule is the most important step for successful house training.
Dogs love routine and it is very helpful to have a consistent schedule each day when housebreaking a puppy.
A consistent house training puppy schedule makes it easier to anticipate when they will need to go potty and improves your chances of taking them outside before accidents happen.
So what does a potty training schedule look like? First establish the basics.
Basic Potty Training Schedule
- Feed them at a regular time and in the same place each day.
- Walk and exercise them daily at around the same time.
- Keep a consistent nap and bed time routine.
Now you have the basics working, most puppy trainers will also recommend you take puppy outside:
- When they wake up in the morning
- After eating or drinking
- Not long after playing
- When waking after sleep during the day
- When showing signs like sniffing, hiding, circling, going to the door.
These times are a good working guide, but in reality they will need to go out much more often than this, especially when they are between 8 – 12 weeks old.
So I recommend you complement this schedule with a timer and potty tracker.
Use A Timer And Potty Tracker
Puppies cannot hold their bladder for very long. In fact a 1-2 month old puppy will need to go every hour or so during the day.
If you have a busy household, it can be hard to keep track of when puppy last went outside and who took them out. Not knowing this information increases the chances of accidents happening inside.
So to help make it easy to track and increase your chances of catching accidents before they happen I recommend using a timer and potty tracker sheet.
How To Use A Timer And Potty Tracker
At the start of each day print a potty tracking sheet to keep track of when your pup goes outside.
Now find a timer (could be your phone, Google Home, the oven timer – whatever!)
For a new vizsla puppy set the timer for 1 hour – when the timer goes off, go through the potty routine steps listed in the next section and write down whether pup did a poo or wee on the potty tracker.
After a few days with no accidents, extend the timer to 1 1/2 hours then 2 hours etc.
Using a timer and tracker makes it easy for everyone in the family to help potty train your puppy as the timer and tracker can be accessed by all.
If pup has an accident, reverse the timer back to a shorter time in between visits outside until you have consistent success.
Over a couple of weeks you gradually stretch the time between visits outside, hopefully see less accidents happen and your puppy will understand what is expected of them when it comes to doing their business outside.
3. Maintain A Consistent Potty Routine
The third key step for successful puppy house training is maintaining a consistent potty routine.
When you take puppy outside, it is a good idea to follow the same routine each time.
This reinforces the expected behaviour with your puppy and speeds up the time it takes for your puppy to recognize the signals and learn where to go potty.
Vizsla Puppy Potty Routine
Take puppy outside according to your timed schedule or when they are showing signs of needing to go.
Follow the steps below each time:
- Take them to the door, pop their lead on and walk/carry them outside to the nominated spot. Grab a treat on the way out but don’t let your pup see it.
- Say your agreed verbal command e.g. “go pee”.
- Stand and wait for them to go. Limit interactions to signal to them that this is not play time. Wait up to 10 minutes (use a timer if necessary).
- If they go to the toilet, repeat the verbal command, praise them lavishly (see next section) and play with your pup.
- Make a note of the time on your potty training tracker and reset your timer.
- If they don’t go, bring them inside or play, then try again in 20 minutes.
4. Praise And Reward
The fourth pillar to toilet training puppy is praise and reward.
I cannot overstate the importance of praising and rewarding your puppy when they wee or poop outside.
Praise and reward is effective for vizsla puppies as they are loyal and affectionate and respond really well to receiving praise from their owners.
This is the time to go crazy and over the top with praise:
- Use verbal cues like “YES!”, “GOOD DOG”.
- Give them a high value treat they LOVE.
- Hug or pet them lovingly.
- Grab a toy and play with them for a few minutes.
Treats like boiled chicken, cooked sausage or healthy puppy treats from the pet store are all great options.
The more praise they receive the more effective it will be in reinforcing the desired behaviour.
5. Crate Overnight: Tips For Potty Training Puppy At Night
Finally – what to do overnight? Potty training a puppy overnight can be challenging, which is why I recommend crate training your puppy.
Crates are a very effective training tool and also offer your pup a safe place to sleep and rest when you can’t watch them in the house.
To be successful training a puppy overnight, be prepared for a few weeks of broken sleep and follow the tips below:
- Crate your puppy with a comfy bed or blankets inside and a blanket over the top to create a warm, dark space.
- Put the crate next to your bed or sleep on a mattress next to the crate for the first few weeks while they adjust.
- Set a timer to take your pup outside every 2 hours, stretching this time every few days if there are no accidents.
- Take pup outside if they whine or bark during the night. Minimize interactions when you go out and bring them straight back in after they have been.
With this proactive approach your pup is likely to make it through the night within a few weeks.
Vizsla Puppy Nighttime Potty Training Tips
It can be a bit like having a newborn baby in the house for a few weeks, so here are a few tips to make this time easier.
- There should be enough room in the crate for their bedding but not so much room they can do their business in one section and sleep in the other. Divide the crate if starting with a large crate.
- Share the load with other family members who can take pup out at late at night and / or take the early shift in the morning.
- When going outside, put the leash on and carry them outside without talking.
- Minimize interactions – no petting, no playing and no talking other than to use the verbal cue for going potty.
- If potty training puppies in winter they can get cold easily. Still take them outside but have a blanket on hand when you put them back in the crate to warm them up.
- Take them straight outside in the morning when they wake up.
How To Deal With Accidents
Even with a puppy potty schedule accidents may happen and it is important to deal with accidents in a patient and calm manner.
When you catch them in the act of weeing or pooping, say a sharp “No” and take them outside for them to finish, following the normal potty routine.
If you discover a mess done earlier, there is no point punishing your puppy – simply clean it up well using an odor neutralizer.
Sometimes a puppy will be more likely to return to the same place to pee or poop inside once accidents have happened.
So if you notice them heading in that direction, take them outside pronto!
If several accidents happen in a row, take a step back in your potty schedule and follow it more closely for a day or two until you are back on track.
What NOT To Do When House Training A Vizsla Puppy
Vizslas are a sensitive dog breed and positive reinforcement is the key to housetraining.
In fact negative punishment can do more bad than good when dealing with vizslas.
- Do not shout at them or punish them for accidents.
- Never rub their nose in it.
- Do not leave them alone in their crate for hours at a time during the day – they simply cannot hold on that long.
How Long Does Puppy Toilet Training Take?
The time it takes to toilet train a vizsla puppy varies depending on the age of your puppy and the amount of focus you apply to the task.
The length of time can also be impacted by how well the breeder has prepared them in the early weeks leading up to taking them home.
It could take anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months. The more present and consistent you are with the training, the quicker the process is likely to be.
It is important to note that regressions are likely to occur.
So even when it seems like your puppy has worked it out, continue with your routine until they have had no accidents in the house for at least 2 months.
What If I Have Trouble Potty Training Puppy?
If your puppy regresses or is taking longer to train than expected, focus more on the potty schedule.
Take a few steps back to ensure you are paying attention to their habits and wind back the timer to a shorter timeframe.
And of course increase the praise – and perhaps find a higher value treat.
Vizsla Puppy House Training FAQS
The best age to start toilet training a puppy is as soon as you bring them home. A young puppy cannot hold their bladder for long, but by implementing your potty routine they will quickly start to understand what is expected.
When you first bring puppy home, take them out every hour to pee. This reduces the chance of accidents happening inside. Increase this time by 30 minutes every few days if there are no accidents.
Dogs naturally don’t want to do their business where they sleep and eat. So by making the crate a safe and cozy space it reinforces to the puppy that they shouldn’t pee and poop there.
Potty training can take anything from a few weeks to a few months. The more focus and attention you can give your puppy, the shorter the time it will take to housebreak your puppy.
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