It was the first time the Dons had registered back-to-back wins this season and saw them climb out of the League Two relegation zone, leapfrogging above Bristol Rovers and Plymouth in the fight for Football League survival.
"Paul got sent off in his first game for us, so missed the next three, which was hard for him," said Ardley, who signed the frontman in November. "He needed a bit of time to adapt. Now he's adjusting to the pace and the work ethic we need while we're down the bottom.
"He's slowly getting there. The more he holds it up, the more chance we've got of delivering quality for him and the more chance he's got of getting on the end of them."
Having started 2013 with a win at Torquay, Ardley was delighted to make it two from two to start the year in style.
"We would have been happy with four points from the last two games let alone six," he said. "We had a game plan and worked hard to impose it."
Rochdale hit the crossbar with a Bobby Grant free-kick early on and tested Dons stopper Neil Sullivan courtesy of Andrew Tutte's shot midway through the first half but Dale boss John Coleman slammed his side for not doing enough to trouble the visitors.
"I'm not happy after that and I'm bitterly disappointed for the fans, because they deserved better than that," he said. "The first half was a bit of a non-event. We controlled it but we didn't really hurt them. We had a shot at the bar and one straight at their 'keeper, but that was about it.
"We spoke to them again at half-time about how we should play but they (AFC Wimbledon) came out, put us under a little bit of pressure and we haven't cleared our lines on three or four occasions and then let a stupid goal in.
"We had a man sent off for a silly challenge then huffed and puffed late on but we never had anywhere near like the number of shots on target that we should."