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Potty Train Your Corgi

January is Train Your Dog Month, and one of the most asked questions when getting a new dog is: How do I potty train him? Whether or not your Corgi is potty trained can make a big difference in the happiness of your household, and in your relationship with your Corgi. Luckily, potty training your Corgi is not difficult once you understand things from his perspective.

The first thing you should understand is that dogs are “denning” animals. This means that if your Corgi lived in the wild, he would naturally sleep in a protected den such as a cave or a hole in the ground. At your house, his “den” can be his dog bed, couch, living room, kennel, or wherever your Corgi chooses to sleep. Dogs have a natural tendency to relieve themselves away from the den, so you can use your Corgi’s natural tendencies to your advantage.

Second, keep in mind that your Corgi uses body language to communicate with you. When your Corgi needs to potty, he will usually sniff one area intently, circle, and then squat. Recognizing the first two behaviors will allow you to take your Corgi for a potty break before the accident occurs.

Before You Potty Train Your Corgi

First ask yourself: Where will my Corgi spend his day when I am not at home?

Don’t give your Corgi freedom to roam the house all day during potty training or you’ll come back to accidents. Using a playpen or puppy-safe room are great options for puppies younger than 5-6 months old because they may be physically unable to hold their bladders all day.

The set-up for playpens and safe rooms are the same. Make sure the area is just small enough to accommodate 3 different zones: a bed/sleeping zone, a play/drinking zone (food bowls are removed after mealtime), and an elimination zone with a pee pad (no newspaper). You can leave toys in the play area during the day.

Then ask yourself: Where do I want my Corgi to eliminate?

  1. Outdoors only: I will take him outside every time he needs to go potty.
  2. Outdoors primarily: I will take him outside when I can, but there will be times when I cannot walk him, and he may eliminate inside.
  3. Indoors only: I will not be able to take him out to go potty every time, so he may go potty inside most or all the time.

For Outdoors ONLY, you can train your Corgi to eliminate at a certain spot outside but keep him in a crate during the day to teach him to hold his bladder when he is inside.  For Outdoors PRIMARILY, you should train your Corgi to eliminate at a certain spot outside but keep him in a playpen or safe room with a pee pad when he is inside “just in case.”  For Indoors ONLY, you can train your Corgi to go potty on pee pads in a safe room or playpen.

*Puppies younger than 6 months old will need to potty every 2-3 hours. Their bladders are not developed enough to hold it all day.

How to Train Your Corgi to Go Potty Outside

  • When you notice that your Corgi has to go (spinning in circles, sniffing the ground, arching back, tail raised, squatting, eliminating), take him ON LEASH to the location where you want him to eliminate (pee pad, tree, etc.).
  • Tell him “Go Potty” while using the leash to keep him there.
  • Don’t talk to or play with your Corgi or otherwise distract him from going potty.
  • WAIT until your Corgi has eliminated, no matter how long this takes.
  • When your Corgi is in the process of eliminating, very softly praise him.
  • After he has finished, praise him VERY enthusiastically. You may offer treats and be sure to tell him “Good potty! Good potty!” so he associates the action of eliminating with the word “potty.”
  • If you have waited a long time and your Corgi hasn’t gone potty, take him back inside but put him in his crate or playpen and try again in an hour.

When accidents happen NEVER hit or yell at your Corgi or rub his nose in it. These methods do NOT work and will only hurt your relationship with your Corgi by causing him to fear you. It will also encourage your Corgi to have accidents in places you may not be able to find or when you are not looking. You can scold your Corgi ONLY when you catch him the act. If this happens, tell him “No!” then pick him up or lead him to his potty location so he can finish. Reward him for going potty where he is supposed to go. Make sure to properly clean up the mess using an enzymatic solution specifically made for pets. Never use anything with ammonia in it because it will intensify the smell and encourage him to eliminate there again.

Things that Affect Your Corgi’s Potty Training

  • DIET: Premium foods provide for the best health for your Corgi, resulting in smaller stools, easier cleanup, fewer opportunities for mistakes, and more predictable elimination needs. Changing your Corgi’s food too quickly or feeding inappropriate human foods can cause digestive upsets that can result in potty training difficulty.
  • FEEDING: Avoid free-feeding (leaving the food out all day). Dogs have what is called a “gastro-colic reflex” which causes them to eliminate shortly after eating, so if they can eat whenever they want, they will eliminate unpredictably and often when you are not there to supervise them.
  • MEALS: Dogs do best on a routine schedule, so your Corgi’s feeding, playtime, walks and bedtime should be kept as regular as possible. When you feed your Corgi, leave the food bowl down for 20 minutes. If he walks away from the bowl or does not finish his food, pick the bowl up and do not feed him again until his next mealtime. This allows your Corgi’s bowel movements to start on a predictable schedule so you know when to take your Corgi to eliminate. The same rule applies to water.  However, your Corgi should be offered water 5-6 times a day and must always be allowed to drink after meals and during and after play. If you cannot return home to offer him water, leave water out for him while you are gone.  Just don’t expect your Corgi to hold his bladder if he is not at least 6 months old.
  • EXERCISE/ PLAY: Save play and exercise until after your Corgi eliminates. This is because playing can stimulate elimination.

*Never play with your Corgi in the area you want him to eliminate. Toilet spots are only for eliminating.

If you are diligent and consistent with your Corgi’s schedule and training, he should be reliably potty trained in a matter of a few weeks. Don’t worry if there are a few setbacks along the way – go back to the basics of his potty training schedule so the behavior is reinforced.

Have you successfully potty trained your Corgi? Which of these methods did you use? Let us know in comments how it went for you!

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