How To Potty Train a Puppy or Adult Dog: How to housebreak your puppy or dog
House training your dog or puppy takes time, effort, and consistency. Accidents are inevitable, but by following these basic house training guidelines, you can get your new family member on the right track.
Establish a routine for your puppy to potty train.
A regular schedule is best for puppies. The schedule teaches them that there are times for eating, playing, and going to the bathroom. A puppy’s bladder control usually improves by one hour per month of age. If your puppy is two months old, he or she will be able to hold it for about two hours. If you let them go longer between bathroom breaks, they’ll have an accident.
Take your puppy outside frequently—at least every two hours—and immediately after they wake up, to play, eat or drink.
Pick a bathroom spot outside and take your puppy there on a leash every time. Use a specific word or phrase while your puppy is going to the bathroom to remind them of what to do. After they’ve gone potty, take them for a longer walk or some playtime.
Every time your puppy eliminates outside, give them a treat. Praise or give them, but do so immediately after they’ve finished, not after they’ve returned inside. This step is critical because the only way to teach your dog what is expected of them is to reward them for going outside. Make sure they’re finished before rewarding them. Puppies are easily distracted, and if you praise them too soon, they may forget to complete the task until they return home.
Set a regular feeding schedule for your puppy. What goes into a schedule-following puppy comes out of a schedule-following puppy. Puppies may need to be fed two or three times per day, depending on their age. If you feed your puppy at the same times every day, they’ll be more likely to eliminate at the same times, making housetraining easier for both of you.
Pick up your puppy’s water dish two and a half hours before bedtime to reduce the chances of them needing to go to the bathroom during the night. Most puppies can sleep for seven hours without needing to go to the bathroom. If your puppy wakes you up in the middle of the night, don’t make a big deal about it; otherwise, they’ll think it’s time to play and refuse to go back to sleep. Turn off as many lights as possible; don’t talk or play with your puppy; take them out to relieve themselves, and then put them back to bed.
Look after your puppy.
Allowing your puppy to the soil in the house is not a good idea; keep an eye on them whenever they’re inside.
If you’re not actively training or playing, use a six-foot leash to tether your puppy to you or a nearby piece of furniture. Keep an eye out for signs that your puppy needs to be let out. Barking or scratching at the door, squatting, restlessness, sniffing around, or circling are all obvious signs. Grab the leash and take them outside to their bathroom spot as soon as you see these signs. Praise them and reward them with a treat if they succeed.
In the yard, keep your puppy on a leash. Your yard should be treated like any other room in your house during the house training process. Give your puppy some freedom in the house and yard only after they have proven to be completely house trained.
Confine when you can’t supervise.
When you can’t keep an eye on your puppy at all times, confine them to a small area that they won’t want to eliminate.
- There should be enough room to stand, lie down, and turn around comfortably. Baby gates can be used to block off a section of a bathroom or laundry room.
- Alternatively, you could crate train your puppy. (Make sure you understand how to use a crate in a humane manner.) If your puppy has been confined for several hours, you must immediately take them to its bathroom spot when you return.
It’s normal for your puppy to have a few accidents in the house during house training. When that happens, follow these steps:
- Take them to their outside bathroom spot without creating a scene. If they finish there, praise them and give them a treat.
- Do not punish your puppy for going to the bathroom in the house. If you come across a soiled area, simply clean it up. Rubbing your puppy’s nose in it, taking them to the spot and scolding them, or any other form of punishment will only make them afraid of you and afraid to eliminate in your presence. Punishment will have the opposite effect.
- Extremely clean the soiled area. Puppies are highly motivated to continue soiling in urine or feces-smelling areas.
It’s critical that you use these supervision and confinement procedures to reduce the number of accidents. Allowing your puppy to eliminate in the house on a regular basis will confuse them as to where they should go, delaying the house training process.
Make preparations for your absence.
This may not be the best time to get a puppy if you have to be away from home for more than four or five hours per day. Instead, consider getting an older, house-trained dog who will wait for you when you return. If you already have a puppy and need to be gone for a long time, you may need to
- Assign someone to take them for bathroom breaks, such as a responsible neighbor or a professional pet sitter.
- Alternatively, they go to the bathroom in a designated area indoors. However, be aware that doing so may lengthen the housetraining process. Teaching your puppy to eliminate the newspaper may create a life-long surface preference, meaning they will eliminate any newspaper in the living room as an adult.
- If you’re playing to paper train them, make sure they have enough space for a sleeping area, a play area, and a separate elimination area. Use pet pee pads, newspapers (cover the area with several layers of newspaper), or a sod box in the designated elimination area. Fill a container with sod, such as a child’s small plastic swimming pool, to make a sod box. A pet supply store is another place to look for dog litter.
- If you have to clean up an accident outside of the designated elimination area, put the soiled rags or paper towels inside afterward to help your puppy recognize the scented area as the place where they should eliminate.