House Training a puppy
requires far more than a few stacks of old
newspapers—it calls for
vigilance, patience, and plenty of commitment.
By following the procedures
outlined below, you can minimize house
soiling incidents, but
virtually every puppy will have an accident in
the house, and more likely,
several. Expect this—it’s part of raising a
puppy. The more consistent
you are in following the basic housetraining
faster your puppy will learn acceptable behavior.
take several weeks to housetrain your puppy and with
some of the smaller breeds,
it might take longer.
Establish a Routine
Housebreaking starts with training yourself to stick with a schedule.
Like babies, puppies do
best on a regular schedule. Take your puppy
first, if possible, the top of every hour or hour and
a half — and immediately
after he wakes up from a nap, after playing,
and after eating or
drinking. Praise your puppy lavishly every time he
eliminates outdoors—you can
even give him a treat—but remember to
do so immediately after
he’s finished eliminating, not after he comes
back inside the house. This
step is vital, because rewarding your dog
for eliminating outdoors is
the only way he’ll know what’s expected of
him. Try not to take your
dog immediately indoors after they eliminate,
if your dog loves to be
outdoors you may establish a pattern that
eliminating means outdoor
time ends. This may teach your dog to
eliminate only when the dog
is ready to go indoors. Pick only one door
to take the dog outside to
potty and take your puppy to that spot using
a leash. If you clean up an
accident in the house, take the soiled rags
or paper towels and leave
them in the designated potty spot outdoors.
The smell will help your
puppy recognize the area as the place he is
supposed to eliminate.
While your puppy is eliminating, use a word or
phrase like “go potty” that
you can eventually use before he eliminates
to remind him what to do.
Putting your puppy on a regular feeding schedule
and feed him a high-quality
diet can make housetraining easier.
Depending on their age,
puppies usually need to be fed three or four
times a day. Feeding your
puppy at the same times each day will make
it more likely that he’ll
eliminate at consistent times as well, and that
makes housetraining easier
for both of you.
choose to leave food available all the time (Free Feed) this can
more diligence in spotting potty behaviors but less work for you as
and become adults with managing a feeding schedule. They
eat when they are hungry and in most cases less likely to over eat
food is always available they do not feel the need to clean the
Keep Your Eyes Peeled
Don’t give your puppy an
opportunity to soil in the house; keep an eye
on him whenever he’s
indoors. You can tether him to you with a six-foot
leash, or use baby gates to
keep him in the room where you are. Watch
for signs that he needs to
eliminate, like sniffing around or circling.
When you see these signs,
immediately grab the leash and take him
outside to his potty spot.
If he eliminates, praise him lavishly and
reward him with a treat.
It is near
impossible to watch your puppy at all times.
When you’re unable to watch
your puppy he should be confined to an
small enough that he won’t want to eliminate there.
naturally do not want to eliminate where they have to eat or sleep
will if they have no other option for this reason frequent
the potty spot are a must.
The space should be just
big enough for him to comfortably stand, lie
down, and turn around in.
You can use a portion of a bathroom or
laundry room blocked off
with baby gates. Or you may want to crate
train your puppy and use
the crate to confine him. If your puppy has
spent several hours in
confinement, you’ll need to take him directly
potty spot as
soon as you let him out, and praise him
when he eliminates.
Expect your puppy to have a
few accidents in the house—it’s a normal
part of housetraining.
Here’s what to do when that happens:
When you catch him in the
act of eliminating in the house, do something
to interrupt him, like make
a startling noise (be careful not to scare him).
Immediately take him to his
bathroom spot, praise him, and give him a
treat if he finishes
Don’t punish your puppy for
eliminating in the house. If you find a soiled
area, it’s too late to
administer a correction. Just clean it up. Rubbing
your puppy’s nose in it,
taking him to the spot and scolding him, or any
other punishment will only
make him afraid of you or afraid to eliminate
in your presence. In fact,
punishment will often do more harm than good.
cases this will cause your puppy to be a little more sneaky about
in the house and they will find hiding places to eliminate.
Cleaning the soiled area is
very important because puppies are highly
motivated to continue
soiling in areas that smell like urine or feces. It’s
extremely important that
you use the supervision and confinement
procedures outlined above
to prevent the number of accidents. If you
allow your puppy to
eliminate frequently in the house, he’ll get confused
about where he’s supposed
to eliminate, which will prolong the
A puppy under six months of
age cannot be expected to control his
bladder for more than a few
hours at a time. If you have to be away
from home more than four or
five hours a day, this may not be the best
time for you to get a
puppy; instead, you may want to consider an older
dog, who can wait for your
return. But if you’re already committed to
having a puppy and must be
away for long periods of time, you’ll need
to make arrangements for
someone, such as a responsible neighbor
or a professional pet
sitter, to take him outside to eliminate.
Or you’ll need to train him
to eliminate in a specific place indoors. Be
aware, however, that doing
so can prolong the process of housetraining.
Teaching your puppy to
eliminate on newspaper may create a lifelong
surface preference, meaning
that even as an adult he may eliminate on
any newspaper lying around
the living room. When your puppy must be
left alone for long periods
of time, confine him to an area with enough
room for a sleeping space,
a playing space, and a separate place to
eliminate. In the area
designated as the elimination area, use either
newspapers or a sod box.
To make a sod box, place
sod in a container such as a child’s small
plastic swimming pool. You
can also find dog litter products at a pet
supply store. If you clean
up an accident in the house, put the soiled
rags or paper towels in the
designated elimination area. The smell
will help your puppy
recognize the area as the place where he is
supposed to eliminate.