Bringing home a brand-new puppy is one of life’s greatest adventures!
But housetraining that same adorable puppy can be daunting!
There’s some great news though, housetraining your puppy doesn’t have to be overwhelming or stressful! With some planning, basic knowledge and an abundant supply of:
- Positive Reinforcement
you can potty-train that adorable bundle of fur!
Potty training is a rite of passage, whether it involves your puppy or your child. But how you approach it can mean the difference between success or frustrating failure. By setting your puppy up for success, you’ll both come out unscathed with an even stronger bond (and a cleaner home!). Remember, your puppy is a creature of habit and responds best to consistent routines and schedules. With housetraining, timing is everything!
“A puppy can control their bladder one hour for every month of age.”
(The Humane Society of the United States)
3 Golden Rules of Puppy Housetraining
- CONSISTENT Puppy Training Schedules:
- Potty Breaks:
- First thing in the morning and last thing at night
- After meals and drinking, playing, crate time and naps
- Before he’s left on his own
- Take your leashed puppy out to the same spot you want him to do his business; every 45-60 minutes for very young puppies (8-10 weeks) and gradually less frequently as he grows.
- Give him 5 minutes to encourage prompt elimination; you’ll love this habit in bad weather!
- Immediately praise and reward his good behavior when he’s done.
- Feeding and Drinking. This schedule coincides with the regimented potty breaks described above.
- Accept the fact that your puppy will have accidents as he learns to control his bladder and bowels.
- Don’t (inadvertently) give your puppy opportunities to practice unwanted potty behaviors. This is done by rigidly sticking to #1 and #2 above! If you can’t consistently enforce a regular schedule (especially when you’re at work or traveling), hire a professional to help maintain the schedule. The more consistent you are the faster your puppy will figure it out!
Potty Training Methods
- Using a Crate
One of the most effective and efficient ways to housetrain as most dogs will not make a mess where they rest and/or sleep. (Make sure it’s not large enough for him to use a corner as his bathroom. He should be able to stand, turn around and lie down.)
Never use the crate as punishment or day-long confinement. A crate should always represent a safe and happy place!
- Using a Pee Pad
If you don’t have enough room for a crate (especially in small apartments) or don’t want to use one, pee pads can be another alternative in the housetraining process. Confine your puppy to an area and completely cover the floor with pee pads (or paper). By doing this, your puppy will develop the habit of eliminating on the pee pads.
Slowly start to reduce the area that is covered (after a week or so). If your puppy begins to miss the pee pad, begin the process again. You should be able to get rid of the pee pads (unless you intend to use them forever) by the time your puppy is 5-6 months and has demonstrated control over his urination and defecation.
Leash yourself to your puppy in order to keep on eye on them and immediately react to his signs that he needs to go out.
Signs Your Puppy Needs to Go Out
Housetraining: NEVER EVER Do These Things!
- Do not reprimand your puppy for an accident. You could create an unwanted behavior of not eliminating when you’re around or eliminating in a hidden spot. You could also instill fear.
Again, accept your puppy will have accidents and setbacks (up to one year of age) and look at how you can set him up for success instead of punishing him. If you did not catch your puppy in the act, he will have no idea why you are upset and will not connect your anger with his earlier mess.
If you do catch him in the act, clap your hands to distract and interrupt his elimination. Then immediately – and calmly – take him outside to finish. Praise and reward as soon as he’s done!
- Do not rub your dog’s nose in his mess.
Housetraining a young puppy can be overwhelming. If you find yourself becoming frustrated and running out of patience or you are dealing with housebreaking a stubborn puppy, it’s time to bring in professional reinforcements to help both you and your puppy through effective potty training without any bad habits! We can help!
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your new puppy?
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- WebMD: House Training Your Puppy
- Humane Society: How to Housetrain Your Dog or Puppy
- AKC: How to Potty Train a Puppy: A Comprehensive Guide for Success
- The Crate as a Housetraining Tool
- 15 Hacks on How to Housebreak a Puppy Using Puppy Pee Pads
Image Credits (In the Order Shown):