Health & Adoption Agreement

Woodlot Companions Blog

Author: Kimberly Lee
Date: January 1, 2024

How do I Potty Train in Bad Weather?

When the cold weather arrives, no matter if it’s rain, sleet, or snow, even a grown dog can show some aversion to going outside to take care of business. However, to keep a learning puppy from regressing in their potty training it is important to be more vigilant on days with inclement weather conditions.

What is the best thing I can do to help my puppy go potty outside? 

The number one thing you can do in any kind of weather while training your pup to go to the bathroom outside is to have a command that you use. This will help them to understand where to go potty when you pair it with praise after they have successfully peed or pooped. Our preferred puppy trainer, Kimberly, suggests using, “go potty outside” in a friendly conversational manner. Once they have gone, excitedly say, “good job going potty outside!” You’re dog naturally wants to please you, so feel free to give as much praise and encouragement in these moments of success— patting them on the head and even giving a treat, especially on days with less than ideal weather conditions. By using a command you will teach your dog to go quickly and on cue. 

Do Potty Training Bells Work?

On the other hand, when your puppy has an accident inside it is best to take a firm stance, reminding them with a similar command, “do not go potty in my house!” If you are training them to use bells to indicate they need to go, add “you ring the bells to go potty outside.” These commands should be said in a stern voice and you should put your puppy outside while you clean the mess. Though potty pads are sometimes encouraged for these early days or during poor weather, it can cause backtrack and bring confusion to your little guy. While these pads are convenient, make less mess, and clean-up a breeze, they also teach your dog that it’s okay to go to the bathroom inside. Many puppies will replace all their progress in training to opting for only using the potty pads inside— after all it’s easier and a much more comfortable, convenient place for them to go!

Why does my puppy keep peeing in the house?

During potty training you and your puppy are a team— meaning that no matter the weather you’re in it together! By going out with your pup you’re not only assuring them that it’s not so bad and confirming that they’ve actually gone, but you will also be strengthening your bond with them. As pack leader it’s your job to show them how to tackle any storm (literally and figuratively!), so bundling up and going out with them assures them that there is nothing to fear in getting wet and cold. Take an umbrella out when raining for the both of you, bundle them up too, especially if they are a short-haired breed and encourage them to go with the command prompt you’ve chosen. Over time they will take care of business faster and not shy away from the door just because the weather isn’t ideal. 

Does my Puppy Need a Raincoat?

If you choose to bundle your little guy up it is wise to start this training as early as possible too. A raincoat that fits snug, but not too tight around the legs and chest area could make your pup more willing to face the cold, wet conditions. If there is a true storm underway then making a spot underneath a shelter for them to safely go would be helpful, even in the snow. Make sure this area is somewhat close to the house, so you can easily make a path to it when necessary. A sweater for chilly days should be sufficient but may need to be taken off to dry in between trips outdoors if it becomes damp. There are also more waterproof options for heavier snow days. Raincoats and other types of clothing can cause your puppy’s fur to tangle or mat easily- for extra guidance on grooming- please click here.

Lastly, if you regularly take your puppy on walks— don’t stop just because it’s raining or snowing. A puppy that gets used to a change in weather will be a dog that doesn’t mind. Just be aware if salt is put out to help melt the snow or ice— it isn’t good for your pup’s feet. If you suspect a road salt or other chemical has been used gently wash your dog’s paws off with warm water when you get home. Make sure to get in between those toes to flush out any remaining chemicals that may be lodged there. The salt and chemicals used to melt snow and ice are harmful if your puppy decides to clean themselves off and in turn, ingests it. If there is dryness or you suspect a slight chemical burn, a paw soother should be applied after cleaning them off and you’ll want to keep an eye on them of course. 

How do I protect my dog’s paws from road salt?

If you know where you like to walk your pup is heavily salted in the winter it may be a good idea to start training them to wear booties made for dogs. Most dogs really don’t care to wear anything on their feet, so starting the process of training them to accept them starts early and takes patience. However, if the booties just aren’t your pup’s style try using Mushers Secret or Vaseline. By covering each of your little fur baby’s feet before going out, you will prevent harm and protect their little paws. Once you get home, just have a towel handy to quickly wipe them off. If you’ve used a de-icing agent on your property before you may want to switch to laying down straw or hay on the paths your dog will be using to keep their paws safe from the elements!


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