Should You Spank A Puppy When Potty Training? 7 Mistakes Pup Parents Make When Potty Training

One of our readers asked us: “Should you spank a puppy when potty training?” Our answer is a clear no. There are other ways to discipline your pup. Read on.

When you are training your puppy, you, too, need to train your mind in a certain way. A calm and positive approach is crucial when it comes to training your puppy.

Most good trainers like Victoria Stillwell, Caesar Millan, and others believe that there are no bad dogs, only bad owners.

Mistakes made in the growing period of your puppy can impact their behavior and confidence. Let’s dive into the methods of training and learn what is right and what isn’t. 

Should You Spank A Puppy When Potty Training

Positive Reinforcement or Negative?

The mind of any being is like an operating system that you can condition to get desirable outcomes. The mind can either be conditioned through punishment or reinforcement. Many studies have shown that the reinforcement technique is more effective for training a dog than punishment. Punishment can negatively affect your dog’s mind, causing several irreversible behavioral issues. 

Reinforcement is the process of establishing the desired behavior through various actions. Reinforcement helps your dog differentiate between the desired behavior and an undesired one. 

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is all about rewards. You need to praise or reward your dog with treats or favorite toys when it shows desirable behavior. 

Positive reinforcement increases the chances of repeating the desirable behavior as he gets his favorite things when he behaves in that way. 

Examples of Positive Reinforcement:

  • Reward your puppy with treats when he pees in the correct place.
  • Praise your puppy when he sits when you ask it.
  • In simple words, reward your puppy with praise, treats, or toys, whenever it obeys you. 

You might also like to read : How To Potty Train A Puppy Without Shots

Negative Reinforcement

Many people confuse negative reinforcement with punishment. Punishment means the removal of your dog’s favorite thing or the addition of something he hates. But negative reinforcement implies the removal of an item that your dog does not like. 

Punishment may include spanking, scolding, or sometimes the use of some inhumane products like collars. Negative reinforcement is a much humane and effective way of dog training than punishments.

Examples Of Negative Reinforcement:

  • When your dog walks by your side and stops pulling, loosen the leash and let him sniff for a while.
  • If you’re training your dog to poop and pee outside, let him sniff around or run a little after he releases himself in the right place. 
Should You Spank A Puppy When Potty Training

Mistakes That Owners Make During Potty Training Your Puppy

Beating or Spanking

Beating, spanking, or any physical punishment is physical abuse to the dog, a punishable offense in many countries. Moreover, physical punishment is of no help while disciplining your dog. 

Physical punishment makes your dog nervous. Nervous dogs often become aggressive due to hidden insecurities. Trust is the foundation of the relationship between you and your dog. Once you start beating him up, trust is lost, and he begins to fear you more than he loves you. 

Scolding Too Loud

When you raise your voice while scolding your dog, you are unconsciously encouraging barking. 

Dogs become like their owners. They mimic all your habits, and if you have a habit of losing your temper on small things and start yelling, expect the same from your dog. 

I would advise you to keep calm and communicate with your dog using bold body language rather than scolding. 

You might also like to read : When To Stop Giving Puppy Treats For Potty Training

Rubbing Nose in the Pee

Rubbing the nose in the pee is an age-old technique used for potty training your dog. It is still in use, and most dog owners will advise you to follow that.

But it’s unnecessary. Gently take your pup to the bathroom to make her understand the right place. Rubbing their nose in the pee confuses not only the dog but also makes her aggressive.

You will observe that your dog starts resisting the process and showing signs of aggression, such as showing her teeth. 

Showing Aggression or Anxiety

A puppy has a small bladder that could hold a small amount of urine compared to an adult dog. So your puppy might pee several times during the day. Sometimes, it gets frustrating to clean its pee when you are swamped with work. 

But it is imperative to control your anger and be calm when dealing with a dog. They quickly catch our negative vibes and reflect those. It would be best if you go to some other room, calm yourself down and then deal with the pee and your peeing machine puppy.

Should You Spank A Puppy When Potty Training

Try to be The “Alpha.”

It is a common belief among dog owners to control your dog. It would help if you showed him you are the alpha and dominated him. Treat him well and try to become friends rather than being an alpha.

To establish your leadership, opt for other ways that are better than simply dominating him. For example, eat before you feed him. Look out for him when outside etc. It will help if you remember that alpha members of a dog pack are leaders, not bullies.

Disagreement Among Owners

Before getting a dog, sit with your family, talk with each family member, and make sure everyone is on the same page regarding the dog.

Set some ground rules to follow. Each member of the family should treat the dog the same way and contribute towards making his life better. 

Some ground rules could be 

  • No extra treats
  • No rough playing
  • No cuddling after someone else has scolded it.
  • No beating 

Overuse of The Word “NO”

Dogs owners tend to overuse the word “NO” so much that it loses all its significance to the dog. Keep a tab on the use of words. It would be best if you make a high-pitched sound instead of saying “no.” 

Should You Spank A Puppy When Potty Training

The Correct Way To Potty Train Your Puppy

The potty training journey is different for each dog, but here are some tips that could help you while potty training your pup.

  • Use positive reinforcement, that is, to reward your pup whenever he does it in the right place. Avoid any punishment. Punishing will make your pup pee behind your back, as he would think peeing in front of you is wrong.
  • Use enzymatic cleaners to clean your puppy’s pee in the wrong places. Keep the cleaning wipes where you want them to pee. 
  • Maintain a strict schedule for his meals and walks. Take him to pee before and after meals. Take him to pee after every nap, in the morning, and at night before sleeping. 
  • Observe your puppy’s actions. Whenever you see him sniffing around, or circling, take him to the place you want him to pee or poop.

How To Teach Your Puppy What Is Wrong?

You must be wondering if you do not punish your puppy, how will they understand what is wrong. Here are some methods to make your dog understand that you are upset with his behavior. 

You might also like to read : How To Potty Train A Blind And Deaf Puppy


Dogs do not like being locked up away from you. You can use this to your advantage. When your dog misbehaves, like constantly barking at a guest, take him inside an empty room and lock it for five to ten minutes.

It will help him think about the reason behind the punishment. But be careful not to lock him for more than 10 minutes. Otherwise, he may become nervous and afraid. 

Withdrawal Of Attention

Dogs love your attention. At some point in time, they do not care if you are scolding or praising. They want your attention. For this reason, withdrawal of attention is one of the best forms of engagement. 

You need not lock it in a room, don’t look at it, avoid it even if it tries to cuddle. For example, if he pees in the wrong place. Look at the pee and say no. Clean it and remove all your attention from him. It works like magic. 

Body Language

Body language is a crucial technique for dog parents, especially those who have hyper-excited dogs. 

For example: if your dog is barking at you, maybe get the treats in your hand. Move your back towards it. The puppy would try to come in front. You keep moving until your dog stops barking. Keep a straight face and structure. Do not laugh or giggle. Show him that you are upset. 

Should You Spank A Puppy When Potty Training

Answers To Some More Questions About Puppy Training

How do you discipline a puppy to potty train?

Consistency and patience are the keys while potty training your pup. Take your puppy to pee every thirty minutes, after and before meals, and after every nap. When you take him to the place where he pees, reward him with praise, treats, and favorite toys. 

Should you physically punish your puppy?

No, you should never physically punish your puppy. There are hundreds of other ways to discipline your puppy which work far better than physical punishment. Physical punishment makes your dog insecure, nervous and aggressive. 

Train Yourself To Train Your Puppy

The first step towards training and disciplining your puppy is to introduce yourself. It would be best if you stuck to a strict schedule. Your puppy will follow your meal and sleep schedule. 

A proper routine will help make your puppy confident and help you take the puppy to pee at the right time. Moreover, you have trained yourself to calm, to bring up a calm dog. You have to develop into a leader that your dog can confidently follow.