How can I Potty Train My Maltese Puppy?

Housebreaking, house-training, potty training and toilet training are all words for the sane thing. Potty training your Maltese puppy can be one of the most challenging parts of getting a new dog in your home. Pet owners often find this part of Maltese puppy ownership to be both a daunting and intimidating situation but it really does not need to be a stressful experience for you or your Maltese puppy.

House-training your new Maltese puppy does not need to be a stressful task and it is really not all that difficult to do. It does, however, when done well, use many components and angles of dog training techniques and is most likely to be the most successful if all the various components and angles are included in the training of your Maltese puppy. If you miss any of the training angles and components then it is often much harder to housebreak a Maltese puppy, and it will take a much longer time for it to become successful.

In order to be successful in housebreaking your Maltese dog it is important that you are well prepared and make sure to follow all of the steps outlined in this article in order to ensure a successful result and a stress free experience for both you and your Maltese puppy.

Housebreaking Facts About Your Maltese

Before we get into the training steps for toilet training your Maltese puppy there are a few facts which need to be kept in mind as they will help identify issues and set the scene on why toilet training a Maltese puppy can take time:

  1. You should start as though your Maltese is not housebroken at all. Many people will pick up their Maltese puppy from the professional breeder or pet shop and be told that the Maltese dog is trained or paper-trained and this is often not exactly true. When most Maltese puppies go to their new homes they are between 8 and 12 weeks of age. At this early age Maltese puppies do not understand what is expected of them. When a breeder says the Maltese puppy is paper-trained it is usually that there is a lot of paper placed on the ground and the Maltese puppy has coincidentally done his or her business on the plethora of paper or it could be due to it mimicking the behavior of its Maltese mother.
  2. A Maltese puppy is essentially a baby and therefore is not able to hold its bladder or bowels for a long period of time. It is a general rule that a Maltese puppy can hold its bladder and bowels for how many months old it is. So for example a two month old Maltese puppy could hold their bladder for two hours, a three month old Maltese puppy can hold its bowels for 3 hours and so forth. While this a rough set of guidelines, it can be the case that if a puppy feels the need to go they will go right where they are, so this general rule can not be counted on as a hard and fast reliable fact. Maltese puppies will get better at holding their bladder and their bowels as they age. This ability to hold their bladder not only comes from continuous training and routine but also through maturity as they age.
  3. A Maltese puppy will take time to train, generally you should expect it to take between 1 month and 4 months to fully house-train a Maltese puppy. The length of time required for toilet training your Maltese puppy will depend on many aspects. But the available time which you are able to dedicate to the toilet training will be the main factor in minimising the time it takes to train your Maltese puppy. If a Maltese puppy owner is not at home very often and unable to spend a lot of time toilet training the Maltese puppy then it will obviously take a lot longer for the Maltese puppy to get the hang of the toilet training compared to someone who is able to be with and train the Maltese puppy more often.
Potty training in the Snow can be interesting
Potty training in the Snow can be interesting

Preparing your Maltese Puppy for Housebreaking

When you are ready to begin housebreaking your Maltese puppy it is very important to make sure you are prepared for the training. Being unprepared for such a big and important task can set back the learning process and can impact on the success your training has for your Maltese puppy. There are some important elements which you will need to have setup and completed for this training process and they include:

1. Ensuring that you have an area for your Maltese puppy inside of the home

A Maltese puppy who is being toilet trained should never be allowed to wander anywhere they please, especially inside the home. They need to be limited to a small area of the home for the explicit reason of limiting the areas in which their toilet training accidents are taking place. Allowing your Maltese puppy free reign of the house will certainly result in toilet accidents occurring all over the home. This will mean a smelly house as well as a messy house. Until your Maltese puppy is fully house broken it should be either in a contained area or kept outside when you are unable to monitor them. When trying to restrict the parts of the house that a Maltese puppy can use, there is a few pieces of advice which may help:

  • Avoid using a dog crate – Dog crates can be very claustrophobic and restricting for a Maltese puppy. Crates generally do not provide adequate room for the Maltese puppy to move around or play and this can cause them to suffer from stress, both emotionally and physically. They have been shown that they are not helpful with housebreaking and will do more harm than good.
  • Consider Gates – Gates are a wonderful option when it comes to containing a Maltese puppy. They allow you the freedom to gate off an area of your choosing and it does not make the Maltese puppy feel claustrophobic as they have the ability to move around. Another benefit of gates is that you can move them to change areas you wish to keep the Maltese puppy in. This allows you to keep them out of certain areas such as carpeted areas. They great thing is that gates are not permanent so you can remove them once the dog is fully house-trained
  • Playpens are useful – Playpens are not just for babies! They are a wonderful resource when it comes to housebreaking Maltese puppies, so much so that they are the number 1 recommended method by a lot of people. Playpens allow your Maltese puppy plenty of room to move and play and they can also hold the bed and toys for your Maltese all within easy reach. Playpens are even able to be used and help once your Maltese dog is housebroken as the playpens allow you to keep your Maltese puppy contained in an area when the need arises.

Tips for setting up a playpen for your Maltese Puppy

  • Choose an area of the home that is near people to locate the playpen. Playpens are portable which makes them incredibly useful but it is important to remember to place the playpen in an area where people are as Maltese dogs are a very social breed. Putting the playpen in an isolated part of the house will cause the Maltese puppy to become lonely and may cause separation anxiety. Also why would you want to separate a member of your family from the rest of the family, this just wouldn’t make sense.
  • Do not place the playpen in areas which may be uncomfortable for the Maltese puppy. It is not a good idea to place the playpen near a heater, in areas where there may be a draft or in constant direct sunlight. All these things can be both uncomfortable and even harmful for your Maltese puppy especially when the puppy may be left unattended.
  • Make sure the Maltese puppy’s belongings are also in the playpen. You will want to include a bed, their favorite dog toys, some food and water. Other areas of the playpen should be lined with pee pads to minimize mess and enable easy cleanup when accidents happen.

Types of playpens for Potty Training

There are a few different types of playpens on the market with the most common being made from heavy molded plastic and those made of nylon or mesh. There is also the option of having a door or not having a door as part fo the playpen. It is highly recommended that Maltese puppies should have a playpen with a door and preferably a playpen made from molded plastic. Molded plastic pens are sturdy and are very easily moved if required.

A door is a very important feature when it comes to a Maltese puppies playpen. When you have a door in the playpen you have the option to leave the door open so that when you are able to supervise, the puppy id allowed to have some freedom. This also allows the Maltese puppy to come and go from the pen when it wishes to get toys or take a nap. This also allows the Maltese puppy to feel more at home in its space and is more likely to enjoy spending time in there.

2. Choose a location for your Maltese Puppy’s Bathroom area

Maltese puppies are a small dog and can be trained to go to the bathroom indoors by using pee pads. But it is usually more successful to try and train your Maltese puppy to go to the bathroom outdoors.

If you do decide to go for the indoor toilet training method you may want to keep the playpen door open and use the pads down on the floor as the one spot that you want your Maltese dog to go to the bathroom on. If you choose this method it is often a good idea to make the spot in which you wish them to go to the bathroom to be some distance away from the playpen as otherwise their playpen will start to smell.

If you decide to go with the outdoor toilet training method then you need to choose an area where you wish the dog to go to the bathroom which is always accessible to them in any weather. Ideally it should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) away from the door and other family areas like children’s play equipment or a BBQ. This is for health reasons and if you teach them to go near the back fence that is where they will go as it becomes routine.

Once you have chosen an area you need to be consistent and keep this as the area you expect them to go to the bathroom. The idea is that your Maltese dog will then do its business in that particular spot without being on a leash, although in the beginning it is important that you take your Maltese puppy outside to where you wish it to go. If you simply let the Maltese dog run outside on its own it will go wherever it pleases and will not learn to go in a specific area. Housebreaking or toilet training is about creating repetition and a habit or routine of where they go when they need to go to the toilet.

It is also very important to supervise a Maltese puppy outside for many reasons. Especially when they are younger and exploring. This is because outdoors can include dangers such as other animals which may be around, eating something they shouldn’t like plants and weeds and any other hazards which may be outside.

3. Potty Training Works best with Training Treats

Maltese dogs learn very quickly through the use of positive reinforcement such as praise and dog treats. This is a very important part of housebreaking your Maltese puppy as dogs are very eager to please especially when food is involved. While many dogs will accept any food as a reward it is a good idea to get some specific training treats as they often lead to quicker learning and success with training.

The main reasons to have specific dog training treats include:

  • Dogs do not understand that there are desirable and not desirable areas to do their business. They simply learn where to go out of habit and routine so if you can offer some motivation for your Maltese puppy to go in a certain area rather than another it will start to become a habit that will be ingrained for life. The reward of a special treat can be very strong motivation for your Maltese puppy to go to the bathroom in the desired place
  • Dog treats that are only used for one certain thing become more sought after and meaningful. When it is something that the Maltese puppy is not getting normally it is of much greater want and significance and therefore promotes the behavior you are looking for.

It is highly recommended that you keep the same special treat for all training such a learning commands like sit, stay etc as your Maltese dog will associate it with getting this treat for doing the right thing.

Looking for the right spot
Looking for the right spot

How often should you take your Maltese to the bathroom?

Every Maltese puppy is different and it is important to be flexible to your dog’s specific bathroom needs and requirements but below are the recommended times to take your Maltese to their bathroom spot:

  • As soon as your Maltese puppy wakes up, whether it be from overnight or a nap
  • 20 minutes before they go to bed
  • 20 minutes after they eat
  • Every certain number of hours following the earlier above rule based on age (ie. 3 month old every 3 hours etc)
  • Before and after their daily walk

Steps to Housebreaking / Toilet Training / Potty Training your Maltese Puppy

Once you have decided on where your Maltese puppy bathroom area is going to be and you have your training treats ready it is time to begin training. Here are a few guidelines to help training go smoothly:

  1. Exit the house quickly. Make sure you are prepared with your treats and anything else you may need to assist in training your Maltese puppy.
  2. Supervise your Maltese puppy closely. Puppies can pee spontaneously so they need to be monitored, if you are not able to monitor your Maltese puppy then make sure it is in its playpen.
  3. If you Maltese puppy makes a motion to pee and is not in the designated bathroom area clap your hands very loudly to distract it and take it immediately to the designated bathroom area
  4. Make sure to follow the schedule and take your Maltese puppy out as outlined above to avoid as many accidents as possible.
  5. Have a phrase you use when you are wanting your Maltese dog to go to the bathroom. Choose something you feel comfortable saying and make sure you keep it the same every time to establish a routine. Repetition I the key when training.
  6. Allow your Maltese dog to find his chosen spot in the bathroom area and allow the dog to move around and find the spot it likes while you are repeating your saying. Maltese puppies can take from 1-15 minutes to pick their spot and actually do their business so make sure you allow enough time for this each time you take your dog outside to the bathroom. You need to be dedicated when toilet training as it requires consistent, repetition and a lot of patience.
  7. Once your Maltese puppy is done going to the bathroom in the correct spot make sure to give them plenty of enthusiastic praise and one of their special training treats.
I know its not a Maltese Puppy but he had a funny toilet accident
I know its not a Maltese Puppy but he had a funny toilet accident

What to do when Potty Training Accidents Occur?

Toilet accidents are going to occur in the housebreaking process so be prepared for it to happen and do not let this toilet training accident get you discouraged.

Scolding Do not scold, yell or get angry at the puppy for having a toilet training accident. This kind of negative reinforcement behavior is likely to scare them and will not help them to learn. The best thing to do is to be very calm and simply clean the mess up and try to be more vigilant in your supervision of the Maltese dog.

Cleaning – if your Maltese puppy has had a toilet training accident it is extremely important that the mess is cleaned up promptly and properly. Ensure the the mess is cleaned properly with a disinfectant or similar cleaning product as your Maltese puppy will be able to smell the leftover traces of their odour and will be more likely to repeat their business in the same spot.

How Did We Do Answering Your Questions on Potty Training your Maltese Puppy?

While house training your Maltese puppy is not an easy task in the end it will be a very rewarding one. Maltese puppies always like to please their owners so keep this in mind and try to remain positive, vigilant and enthusiastic. If you follow the guidelines we have set out your Maltese puppy will be housebroken in no time.

Do you have any other tips or tricks which you have found useful? have you tried all these steps and are still having issues with toilet accidents inside? Let us know in the comments so we can help you out and also improve this article for others as our aim is to have the most comprehensive information on Maltese puppy ownership.