One of the major concerns about potty training a puppy to use the bathroom outside in the busy city is the possible spread of disease. Deadly distemper and parvo disease, as well as parasites, can be transferred via infected canine feces and bodily fluids.
A puppy’s immature immune system leaves him open to all kinds of disease until they’ve had their third set of vaccinations (which is typically between the ages of 16 and 20 weeks). This is especially true when you don’t use things like Wisdom dog DNA test kits to find out more about your puppy’s inclination for certain diseases.
Therefore, some veterinarians recommend clients keep their pups in a virtual quarantine for the first 16 weeks of their lives. But your urban puppy might need to venture outdoors to potty.
Luckily, more and more vets are recognizing that puppies must be socialized during their critical developmental period – from 12 to 16 weeks of age – and are discussing housetraining options with their clients.
If your vet says it’s alright to go out during the critical period, choose the places to take your pup carefully. Avoid areas where lots of dogs congregate or eliminate, such as dog parks, fire hydrants and street trees.
Know your neighborhood. In some, virtually every dog that walks down the street is vaccinated. In others, there are strays. Often, the more commercial areas have fewer dogs so they can be safer. Occasionally young pups become so used to eliminating indoors that it takes extra training to convince them that going outdoors is OK and even desirable.
Other City Options
Those who live in cities and other restricted spaces may have other potty area options they hadn’t even considered.
A walled or fenced rooftop area might actually be quicker to access than the street for some folks. Be sure the area is secured with a strong fence that pups can’t wriggle through. If it’s walled, keep your dog on a leash to ensure the pup doesn’t decide to explore the drop-off on the other side.
A terrace is another good alternative, especially for bigger dogs. Additionally, some buildings have a basement area or storage room that can double as a potty area. Choose a concrete or tiled area that’s easy to clean and hose off.
A few people have installed graveled pits or grass strips (fake and real) on their patios for dogs to use. However, these tend to get dirty quickly. You must be extra vigilant about cleaning up and replacing the grass when needed to keep those pristine enough for your dog to want to use them.
And lastly, always to be courteous and remember that a foul odor from the potty area can create problems for you and your neighbors, especially during the summer, so keep all areas clean and tidy.