If you just got a puppy and are considering paper training, you may want to give that a second thought. Your likely ultimate goal with housetraining is to have your dog eliminate outdoors, on outdoor substrates like grass, mulch, dirt, or concrete. If that is the case, then teaching your pup an intermediate step like going indoors, on a surface like paper, could be pitting your dog’s normal biological tendencies against you. That is because during the period between 7 and 9 weeks old, puppies form preferences for location and surface material on which to eliminate. Which brings us to Housetraining Hint #3: If you want fewer “accidents” and better success short- and long-term, choose the location and substrate you want your puppy to eliminate on as an adult, and start using that right off the bat. Of course, this means having a comprehensive house training plan that includes a potty schedule and a confinement strategy, and that works with your busy schedule. You can find an example of such a plan here. No two situations will be the same; I enjoy helping my clients figure out a way to get their puppies and dogs housetrained quickly and in a way that makes most sense for their lifestyles. In fact, a while back I helped someone litter box train their tiny, tiny toy breed puppy, because as an adult their dog will not have many outdoor potty opportunities. (Yes, it’s true, you can litter train a dog or teach them to “go” on a type of backyard in a box that you can change out. These may be particularly good options if you live in a high-rise apartment building or in a freezing cold part of the country!)
Use that 2-week developmental window to your advantage; make sure your puppy does not develop a preference for paper, carpet, and relieving herself indoors. Get her outdoors, on surfaces that she’ll need to readily eliminate on later, and you’ll have far fewer speed bumps on the road to a house trained pooch.