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Paper To Litter Box: How To Litter Train A Dog

Pup: Image by Stewart Black, FlickrPup: Image by Stewart Black, Flickr

Have a small dog that you can't always take outside to use the bathroom? Litter training might be an option for you! Keep reading to learn how to litter train your dog using the paper to litter box method.

What You'll Need

In order to successully train your dog to use the litter box, you'll need some essential supplies.

Getting The Dog Accostumed To The Litter Box

Place the litter box in an area your dog likes, and begin the process of getting him accustomed to it. The litter box should have some newspaper and a small amount of litter in the bottom of it. Also place some newspaper next to the litter box for easier training. 

Start by getting your dog used to getting in and out of the box. Gently pick up your dog, place him in the litter box, and say something like "use the box". Be enthusiastic, praise him, and give him a small treat. When he climbs out, place him back in the box, and repeat the phrase "use the box". Again, praise, and reward with a small treat.

Repeat this process until your dog will climb into the box upon hearing "use the box". Go ahead and stop the process if your dog gets tired of it or angsty, so he can keep a positive association. Start up again the next day. 

From Paper To Litter Box

Follow these steps to get your dog to start using the litter box. Note that for this method to work, your dog should already be paper trained.

New Puppy: Image by M.CERASOLI, FlickrNew Puppy: Image by M.CERASOLI, Flickr

1. Make It Gradual

Litter box training your dog is a gradual process that will have to be accomplished without alerting your dog. Take it slow, and have patience. You can start the process by setting up your dog's bathroom area in an easy-to-clean place that he's familiar with. You should always accompany your dog on the way to this area, and do your best to keep him from wandering off or using the bathroom elsewhere. 

To start your dog off in his new bathroom area, make a flat area for your dog to use the bathroom with newspaper or pee pads. Consider cutting out the bottom of a cardboard box, and filling it with the papers. Use duct tape or masking tape to gradually change the box to have higher sides. Take the transition slow, over a couple weeks time.

2. Recreate The Litter Box

Next, it's time to make your dog's bathroom area look closer to a litter box. Gradually lower the sides of the box until it more closely resembles the litter box you purchased for your dog.

3. Place The Litter Box

After your dog gets used to the cardboard box, place the litter box inside it. Line the bottom and sides of the actual litter box with newspaper or pee pads.

4. Place The Hood

Most doggie litter boxes come with a plastic hood to prevent mess. At this point, you're free to place the hood (preferably with the top cut off) onto the litter box. 

5. Remove The Cardboard

The hood should resemble the cardboard enough that you're free to remove it, and any paper surrounding the litter box.

6. From Paper To Litter

Now it's time to slowly change from the paper lining to the litter. Start by adding a thin layer of litter to the front of the litter box, with paper still covering the majority of the pan. Over a period of several days, slowly spread out and increase the amount of litter in the litter box until the paper is completely covered.

With these steps, your dog should be successfully using the litter box. Be patient with him, and reward him with lots of praise and a treat when he does something right.

Also Read: 8 Dog Potties That Are Better Than Trees

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