Housetraining 101

House Training 101

There is no "secret" or shortcut in house training a puppy. It can all be said with just one word, SCHEDULING! Puppies have very predictable elimination needs when you follow a schedule. They have to go every time they wake, eat, drink and every 2-3 hours in between.

Here are some easy steps to follow.

  1. Feed your puppy 2-4 daily meals rather than leaving food available all day. Consistency and timing of meals makes elimination more predictable. Feed the last meal of the day around 5 p.m. and take away water at about 8 p.m. to help your pup make it through the night. DO NOT give inbetween meal treats until your pup is fully and reliably housetrained.

  2. Select one area for your puppy to eliminate. Take your puppy to that spot at times he is likely to need to go such as immediately upon waking, right after eating or drinking and so on. In the beginning, you will want to "take a potty break" about every 2-3 hours.

  3. When you get to this area and your pup starts sniffing around, encourage him to go potty. Develop a "key phrase" for this action that will eventually elicit elimination.

  4. Praise your puppy for going potty in this area!

  5. Supervise your puppy at all times! Keep him confined in a crate or ex-pen when you cannot watch him or you are not home.

  6. Accidents will happen. Remember, your puppy is just an infant! If you catch him in the act, clap your hands to startle him into stopping and rush him outside to his spot to finish. Praise him for pottying in his area. DO NOT yell, spank or rub his face in it if he has an accident. While this certainly will instill fear, it will be of YOU, not the act for which you are punishing him. This will cause your puppy to hide his future 'calls of nature'.

  7. It might be helpful to keep a record of your puppy's elimination times to develop a pattern. You can use this record to predict when he most needs to go.

Remember to neutralize any odors when cleaning up indoor accidents to help your pup avoid  mistaking that area as his potty area.

Most importantly, remember to be patient. Every dog can be house trained, even if it is at his own pace. Between 4-6 months of age, your pup should be able to control his urges. If your previously house-trained pup should begin to have accidents, visit your vet to rule out any medical causes (such as urinary tract infections).