Most of us want to stay inside when it is cold outside. The house is cozy and warm. Add snow, ice, or other inclement weather to the mix, and who the heck wants to go out? Your puppy may also be reluctant to go out into the snow and ice, but they have to “do their business” regardless of the chill. When you are housetraining your young pup, the winter months can add more challenge to an already challenging task.

Oakland Veterinary Referral Services sympathizes with the process of housetraining your little one. We are here with 5 tips for how to potty train your puppy during the brisk days of winter.

5 Tips for Potty Training Your Puppy During Winter

When the snow piles up, or the temperatures drop considerably, it is hard for a small dog to go outside to potty. Small puppies, especially toy breeds, are particularly susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia. But the reality is, they still have to go! So, what do you do?

These are tips to help answer that question.

  1. To use a potty pad, or not to use a potty pad? Potty pads can sometimes make the transition from accidents inside to successfully eliminating outdoors easier. It’s a matter of preference, though, because some believe that it encourages eliminating inside and makes it harder to train your pet. There is a good reason for pads when it comes to puppies and winter exposure. Potty pads come in handy when it’s too cold to go out or if you are away during the day and need a place for your pup to potty.
  2. Go outside when it is warmer/sunnier. If you can, feed your pet a little later in the morning, in hopes that it will delay their need to go until it is warmer outside. Any time there is a break in the weather, use the opportunity to work with your puppy outside on pottying, applying whatever reward method to encourage them (clicker, treat, etc.).
  3. Outfit them. Use plenty of layers for your young puppy, including sweater, scarf, protective booties/shoes, and coat on very cold days if you can get it on them. This is to give you a little more flexibility in staying outside long enough to work on your potty training methods. Make sure they are good quality and warm enough for the temperature.
  4. Create a clear spot near the door. Rather than trying to get your pet to go far, simply create a clear, defined spot close to the back door for them to use. Make it easy for them by clearing snow or ice, packing down debris or mud, and using their repeated markings as an incentive for them. Keep booties, coats, etc. close to the door to make the transition to the outside quick and convenient.
  5. Playtime vs. potty time. Use the quick break to your pet’s potty spot for training purposes only. Playtime can be a bit longer, such as a brisk walk around the yard or block. Bundle up your pet for their safety and comfort. Using the frequent breaks for pottying will reinforce your training and reduce their discomfort when outdoors.

More Questions About How to Potty Train Your Puppy?

Potty training a puppy can be a tough time, only made worse by freezing and snowy days. Be creative and accommodating by using these 5 tips. And if you have any questions about how to potty train your puppy (any time of year), we are here for you as a resource. Please contact us. We wish you a successful and smooth training time!