Let’s be honest: Potty training a Maltese is part training the Maltese and part training the owner! As is the case with potty training any dog, you have a lot of responsibility and will need to be very observant and even more consistent.
That bears repeating – You MUST be reliably consistent. This holds true for any sort of potty training, no matter the species or breed.
Maltese can generally be potty trained fairly easily. The key to good potty training habits is consistency by the owner. If the puppy must be left alone, he should be in the yard (with shelter and water) or in an area where he is not expected to refrain from relieving himself.
Keep in mind that a tiny Maltese puppy has a tiny Maltese puppy bladder. In the first several weeks it comes home, it can’t be expected to “hold it” a full day while you’re at work. That will change as the puppy grows and matures but it will take some patience in the beginning.
When your puppy is in the house you should always be present and watchful. If you see the puppy sniffing and circling, he needs to go outside immediately. Take him outside and praise him when he goes.
When the puppy wakes up from a nap, he should go outside immediately and be praised when he relieves himself.
If you catch him “in the act” do not spank him but scold him verbally and take him outside.
Your consistency with this repetitive theme will lead the Maltese puppy to soon go to the door and “ask” to be let out. Praise the puppy for the request. Some people initially offer treats for these first breakthroughs and others simply offer an excited praise and pet.
A crate is a helpful tool for housebreaking a puppy. Most dogs do not like to “go” where they sleep and a crate teaches them some control. Keep in mind a young puppy doesn’t have the control that an older dog has and will not be able to hold it as long. Every time you let the puppy out of the crate, immediately take him outside.
The Basics of Potty Training A Puppy
- A Maltese will develop potty habits during their first few months of life.
- Maltese do not want to eliminate where they sleep and eat.
- Being creatures of habit, dogs will return to their “usual spot” whenever it is convenient. Watch when they return to a previous place they have gone inside the home and take them out immediately.
- Maltese can be trained to react to a certain word or phrase such as “go potty”.
- A puppy’s behavior is likely to be repeated if it is positively reinforced.
Some people see a crate as cruel. However, if presented correctly, it is very much the opposite. It gives your Maltese a place that belongs to him, a safe den where he can go if he wants to be left alone or rest. It also give you a place to keep your Maltese at times when you do not want him roaming the house freely, and a safe way of traveling with your dog.
Once a puppy becomes used to his crate, there will be times that he prefers to retreat to it on his own. Dogs love to sleep in a confined place they deem safe and if accustomed to it, the crate will be their reprieve.
To crate train your Maltese, first select a crate that will be large enough to fit him in as an adult. Encourage your Maltese to sleep in the crate with the door open. Soft blankets or padding bedding are good motivators as is including a chew toy or bone in the crate for entertainment. He may be left with the door closed for short periods of time once he is used to it. Avoid leaving your Maltese puppy in a crate for long periods of time. You should NEVER use the crate as a method of punishment.
Helpful Tips for Housebreaking A Puppy
- Keep your Maltese puppy up on a consistent housebreaking schedule. Feed at the same time every day.
- Designate one special area outside as a “potty” area. Try to always use the same door when traning. If you take your dog to the back yard, during training, try to always use the same door to the backyard.
- Take your Maltese out every 2 hours to the potty area, whether he has eaten or not.
- A puppy will most likely want to potty after eating or drinking, after a nap, or after a period of play or vigorous exercise.
- Bring the puppy on a leash to the designated area. Each time you take your pupppy to the designated potty area, calmly repeat “go potty”. Once you see the dog getting ready to potty, repeat “go potty”. After your puppy eliminates, be excited and say “GOOD POTTY” and give him a treat or excessive praise .
- Never, never, never, give a puppy full run of the house unsupervisted! Once your puppy is making progress with his training, begin allowing him more access to the house but in smaller rooms. Start in a utility room or the family room if someone is present at all times. Block off all exits in that room so that he doesn’t sneak off into another area that is unsupervisted. Don’t graduate the puppy to a larger area of the house until he has proven itself in that area for a period of time (no accidents). Someone should always be watching in the beginning. They need to be constantly aware of where the puppy is and what he is doing.
- NEVER spank or hit your puppy for any mistakes, including accidents. Being physical with your Maltese will make him not want to potty in front of you. He will begin leaving “gifts” for you just out of sight.
If you can be consistent with these practices, before you know it, your precious little puppy will learn bladder control and where he should eliminate and where he shouldn’t. It takes a lot of overseeing and decipline on your part but the more reliable and disciplined you are in the beginning, the faster your puppy will learn what’s right and wrong. Before you know it, you will have an accident free puppy!