Things I Learned With Potty-Training A Puppy


As soon as I arrived at my parents’ house, my mom introduced me to their new puppy. He’s a smart one, my mom gushed, and she promptly told me stories of his antics.

I guess it’s the Psychology graduate in me that took over, because I got challenged with wanting to potty-train the doggie before my first week is over.

So far, it’s our second day, and generally, he seems to be getting the hang of pooping on the newspapers.

This potty-training activity has its joys (as my childhood BFF Roxii told me), pains, and overall, character development milestones. Not in my puppy, but in me. I learned a good deal about myself, and I learned a good deal about my parents, as well. So, let me share with you the things I learned in potty-training my family’s new puppy.


Dogs Have Feelings, Too. I learned that whenever I bathe him, or leave him alone for at least 15 minutes to have breakfast, or whatever, he resents it. Just a while ago, I came back to my grandmother’s home with poo on the front hall. He was already consistently pooping on the newspapers, especially in my presence, and I felt like he was trying to communicate how mad he was at me by pooping right there, front and center. Also, whenever I bathe him, or put him in “isolation,” meaning, a closed room with nothing but water and food, he bites at me with a fierceness that’s unparalleled. I’ve learned to stuff his mouth with a chew toy whenever he goes like that. I have to keep him clean, you know.

Being Responsible For Another Life Makes ME More Responsible. I’m the classic overgrown teenager. I still have no children at Age 30, and even if my parents have never overindulged me, I do hate cleaning up after myself. That’s why I hired househelp in Kalibo. Eventually, because my Ate would clean up after the worst of my messes, I learned to pick up after myself. But here in my gramma’s house, with stuff that’s not my own, I don’t like moving to do chores. However, because I felt like my dog might confuse our messes as places to poop on, I realized I should keep a clean floor, at least, so that he gets to sleep where he should, then poop where he should.

Picking Up After A Puppy Is Humbling. Try folding up dozens of soiled newspapers every single day, and you’ll be reminded that you’re only human. And nothing you could ever do, achieve, or become, not even your heritage, can change the fact that right here, right now, YOU ARE PICKING UP POOP. If that isn’t humbling, I don’t know what is.

Picking Up After A Puppy Builds Tolerance For The Yucky Stuff. If you’re planning to become a parent, you will have to deal with changing the diapers. If you’re like me, who’s planning to get into the medical field, yucky things abound. All sorts of bodily fluids are everywhere. Picking up and cleaning up after a puppy or a dog builds the tolerance for the unsavory things in life. I feel so ready after two days of gross things.

I’ve Learned To Be More Considerate. My parents are dense creatures, so I bet they haven’t noticed that whenever I leave our dining table, it’s definitely relatively clean (as compared to how my dad leaves it). I’ve also realized how discovering our dog’s poo (his dog first, though) is disgusting and annoying for him, so I make sure that whatever dog poo I spot, I hose it down. My dad may never notice how much nicer it is to not have Black Guard (our doggie-dog) run around his legs and be generally underfoot, but I’ve resolved to keep Black Guard near me whenever my dad will be out and about our grounds. This way, he won’t get annoyed when he needs to do his own chores. Maybe when Black Guard is older, he’ll be less hyper and enthusiastic and will leave my dad alone.

You Learn To Observe More Closely. I realized that I made so many mistakes when I started this potty training project. So I’ve learned to observe first rather than make assumptions. Most people get through life assuming things, and with this dog, I’ve learned that it’s best to observe his natural behavior first, then follow through. So I’ve learned to work with his natural habits.

You Learn To Develop Strategies. This part is a fruit of learning to observe more closely. I noticed that he’d always try to keep me from cleaning up his poo. So now, I lock him up before I clean up. This way, he won’t be underfoot, he won’t be protesting and getting everybody and everything soiled, and I get to do my job. I’ve also realized that this bebe doggie was really bred to be a watchdog. Even when he sleeps, he’s so skittish and wakes up at the slightest noise. So I have learned to use that to my advantage, and turn the lights off and help my parents save a little electricity. I have also realized that because of this trait, I cannot turn him into a lap dog, so I have made a commitment to myself to return him to being a guard dog when my attempt at potty training him is over.

I’ve Grown More Patient. Well, my high school friends may protest, but honestly, I’ve seen my patience grow whenever Black Guard is underfoot. I could be wiping his messes away and he’ll be running after the mop, or, I could be trying to clean up his soiled papers and he’d be trying to stop me from going anywhere near his poop, and I’ve seen myself just take a deep breath, scoop him up and dump him rather gently in the bathroom, which serves as his “isolation room.” In my teens, I may have tossed him rather roughly. This time, though, I’ve learned to be more gentle. This little doggie is too adorable to hurt.

It Always Helps To Listen To Friends. My friend Julie let me know how to potty train outside. However, I wanted a more controlled environment, so I gathered inspiration from my friend Ervin’s potty training of his pugs. But thanks to Julie, I got reminded to Google how to potty-train dogs, so I learned that puppies will need a schedule and regularity. My friend Junette also echoed that need for regularity. I also picked up one very important skill from my childhood friend Anne: pinch behind the ears if you need to discipline a puppy. It mirrors how a mother dog would discipline her litter. I’ve abused the last advice, but it doesn’t seem to work when Black Guard is mad at me. :p And my other childhood bestie Roxii informed me that the “yuck” factor (poop, worms and all) is part and parcel of the “joys” of “dog motherhood.” Whoo boy, I hope I know what I got into!


There were so many things I thought about and realized as I took on this “experiment” of training this doggie. I hated the fact that my dad was able to make an imprint on him first, so his potty habits outside are almost set already. Will I be able to break that? I am not sure. But I know that indoors, he already knows how he should behave.

I also realized that the reason why my dad wasn’t able to potty-train him well is that my dad is too busy and didn’t have the patience or the out-of-the-box thinking, as well as the devil-may-care attitude that I have, to be as silly as to bring a dog into the house to potty train him. While he’s not patient, has no time, and doesn’t really care enough to work on making sure that he won’t be pissed when he does step on dog poo, I have the time, the energy, and the patience to work with this puppy until I see him potty trained to near perfection. Will I make it to my “deadline” of one week? I am not sure. But I do know that I’m willing to try.

That being said, I believe that having pets is a great way for anyone to learn responsibility at any age. I think it’s a great way to teach one’s children to be responsible. If they can’t be responsible for their pets, then you can threaten to take the pet to the pound, and follow through, when they consistently break your agreements. When the consequences are serious, and if they want to keep the puppy bad enough, there’s a high likelihood that they’ll do anything to keep the puppy, including be responsible.

Seeing myself be responsible for my messes, grow up a little, and be a bit more caring makes me wonder if my body clock is just ticking. I’ve encountered many a “bad girl” who has “reformed” when they had a baby and learned to be responsible for both the baby and themselves.

But seriously. Maybe God sent me a puppy because I needed to be more responsible, but He couldn’t afford to mess up my dreams with unplanned parenthood. 🙂

That’s a blessing right there.

Some people were able to be awesome stewards of unplanned parenthood, and were able to create pearls out of what started out as irritants. If you recall your childhood trivia, pearls are created by oysters when irritants enter their shells. Some couples or even single mothers were able to create something beautiful out of something that came unplanned.

For the rest of us self-centered creatures, though, I think it’s best to try our hand at being a lot less selfish through raising pets.

On the whole, I highly recommend raising pets if you want to grow and if you want to learn to be more patient and responsible. If you have the luxury of time and the heart-space to take care of something that will need your help in managing itself, a puppy is a great way to achieve that kind of growth.

If you’re the type who is too busy, stressed, or, admit it, self-centered, you shouldn’t have a dog or a baby. Like my friend told me, better get a cat instead. At best, I’ve proven that I can be selfless enough for a dog. 🙂

Have a great Wednesday night, LiveWealthier friends! 🙂

About Girl On A Live Wealthier Journey

I spend too much for comfort. That's why I love writing about budgets: because at one point, getting it right will open doors in my Live Wealthier journey!

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