Airedale's are notorious for being independent-minded. While our Bailey was no exception to the rule, he was actually very easy to potty train.
When we saw him squat, we quick took him outside . Those times we didn't catch him, we cleaned it up and disposed of it as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Our rationale was that any attention would be reinforcement of the behavior. It seemed to work. Within a very few days, we had no more accidents either way.
We also started pottying on a schedule. A schedule lets your dog know there are times when he will always be able to relieve himself. At first, we pottied every hour to two hours. When it was time to take him out, we took him to a certain spot in our yard and waited until he went. When he did his business (either pee or poo) we made a big deal of it. We told him good boy or atta boy and gave him a treat. He soon learned that pottying outside was doing things right.
We built his schedule around natural times: after he ate, after he woke up from a nap, after we worke up in the morning.
When Bailey was a puppy, we took him out every two hours to make sure he didn't have an accident. He slept through the night with no problems. After awhile, his two hour schedule got to be a habit for him and for us. It seems dogs have some kind of internal clock that sort of sets a schedule for the events of the day. So, when we would take him out and he would just dribble we started lengthening the times between potty breaks. Now he is 8 years old and we take him out:
- For a morning walk as soon after waking up as we can.
- Either before or after lunch, depending on our schedule
- For his evening walk.
- Mid evening potty break.
- Before bedtime.
Bailey does his “serious” business on his morning and evening walks. The other breaks are just quick potty breaks. If we get sidetracked and forget, his internal clock tells him and he reminds us. Sometimes he barks. Sometimes he goes to where his leash hangs.
How your feed your dog is also important in helping him develop a schedule. Although your dog should have fresh water available at all times, don’t feed cafeteria style. Schedule mealtimes, two to three times daily for puppies, ideally twice a day for adults. This will help both you and your dog's digestive system develop a "business" schedule.
The only time Bailey has ever had an accident inside is when he is ill. This doesn't mean we do things right. We just do what works for us and it works for him. Every dog is an individual with individual needs. You just need to find what works for both of you. What is important in training any dog is consistency and helping him to succeed in pleasing you. After all, that's what our dogs do best!