House Training Your Puppy

Potty training takes time and commitment. You will need to reinforce/reward acceptable behavior (eliminating outside) and minimize opportunities for unacceptable behavior (managing indoor freedom). Puppies may need to eliminate every 1-4 hours during the daytime depending on age and size of puppy. Night time rule of thumb is the number of months in age plus one. So a 3 month old puppy should be able to wait 4 hours at night.

Don’t rub puppy’s nose in accident or spank puppy. This could make puppy afraid to go in your presence and puppy will not trust you. If your puppy is inside and you catch him in the act of eliminating then say ‘outside’ in a neutral tone and take him outside immediately to finish. Praise if he finishes outside. If puppy has an accident in the house and you didn’t catch him doing it then DO NOT SAY ANYTHING.  Clean up mess and try to watch closer.

Use crate when you cannot supervise. It is a safe place for puppy and your house is safe when he is in crate. Make sure it is small enough so he doesn’t eliminate on one side and sleep on the other. If crate is too big, block off part of it with cardboard and leave an area big enough for puppy to be able to stand up and turn around in.

Have a consistent daily routine. Take out first thing in the morning, after eating, after playing, after napping and right before bedtime.

Reward the right behavior. When you take puppy outside to eliminate, stay with him so you are certain he takes care of business.  Take treats with you when you take him out so you can praise and reward him right then and there.

Building a cue. When you take puppy out say ‘outside’ and open door. You may try hanging a bell on door and ring bell before you take him out each time. Then he will associate the bell with the door opening and going outside. In this way many dogs learn to ring the bell signaling their need to go outside.

You can teach puppy to eliminate on command. As puppy is peeing or pooping say ‘go pee’ or ‘go poo’ or whatever you want to use. After many repetitions he will start to understand what ‘go pee’ means.

Supervise at all times. Puppy has not earned freedom yet. Tie puppy to your belt or use gates to restrict where he can go in the house. Do not let puppy have free run of the house. As he learns the rules of the house you can gradually let him have more freedom.

Clean any accidents with a good enzymatic cleaner.

Some owners find they need to withhold food and water for 2-3 hours before bedtime.

Have patience as it will take many repetitions to potty train a puppy. If you are consistent your puppy will learn faster. Realistically it could be weeks before he is completely housetrained.