What I Learned From Potty Training My Dog

JL Matthews

Disclaimer: This story is a fiction piece, and it was created from my imagination.


Photo licensed via Shutterstock

Even the words stressed me out — potty training. After trying (and failing) to potty train our nine-year-old son, Max, I was hesitant to try again. Yet, in my heart, I knew it was time. So, Todd and I summoned up our courage and decided we were going to dive back in — we were going to potty train our dog.

First, let me give you some background. Bentley, our adorable border collie, had just turned two. Now, this is an important distinction to point out — every dog is different. Not all dogs are going to be ready to potty train at two. I think much of our success in potty training Bentley came from the fact that he was ready.

So how do you know they’re ready?

Well, pay attention to their behavior. Is your dog collecting old, dried-up poops from outside and dropping them in your toilet? Are they pooping in trash cans? Do you ever find them crawling up on the toilet — just to see how it feels?

If so, it might be time to start. But before you begin, let me pass along some advice:

Extra Toilet Paper

Ok, I’ll admit it, this one caught us off-guard. But let me tell you, after one time chasing Bentley through the living room and having to replace all our downstairs carpets and that off-white sofa, I’ve learned my lesson.

The last thing you want is to run out of toilet paper! Keep a double-supply on hand when you’re potty training.

True, your dog (or you) may not like the wiping at first, but try to make it — if not fun — at least tolerable. And don’t worry, they’ll do this part on their own eventually.

A Good Potty Book Is A Must

In the film Babe, there is a talking border collie named Fly.

Bentley loves Fly.

So we knew from the start that “Even Fly Goes Potty” was going to be a hit with Bentley.

But, if your dog isn’t a fan of Fly, don’t worry. There are many great dog potty books to choose from, such as: “Lulu The Labradoodle And The Magical Potty Throne”, “Even Working Dogs Go To The Bathroom”, and for the sheep-lovers out there, “Little Ewe Has Taken A Poo!”

Public Restrooms Can Be A Challenge

It’s sad to think that — in 2020 — there are still establishments that exclude dogs from using their facilities.

That said, it’s not as though public restrooms are all that convenient anyway. The smells, the air dryers, and strange dogs in the other stalls — these are all distractions for your little one.

Case-in-point: Our trip to a Red Robin one year ago. I could tell Bentley was getting cranky, but Todd insisted on staying until halftime of the football game (I don’t see you taking him into public restrooms, Todd).

Anyway, long story short, we can’t go back to Red Robin again until 2023 or unless the appeals court lifts the restraining order. That said, you should feel empowered to take your dog into any bathroom you come across. After all, what is this, Stalinist Germany?

Just politely let the owner know that you’re taking your dog to use their facilities. If they push-back, let them know you’ll sue their ass for everything they’re worth.

In Summary

Don’t be too hard on yourself; setbacks are natural. Remember, potty training your dog — even an intelligent breed like a border collie — is a lot of work.

But at the end of the day, it’s important to keep in mind that potty training is just a phase. Your little one will master it eventually. And when they do, you’ll look back on this part of life and laugh.

Prof Kristen Richardson
Dept of Veterinary (Potty) Studies
University of the Western Adirondacks

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JL Matthews is a writer with interests spanning history, humor, tv/film, parenting, and more. His work has appeared in numerous publications, and he is a 6x Top Writer on Medium. Follow him on News Break, Medium, and Twitter for updates and latest work.

Raleigh, NC

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