Puppy House Training

Start a toilet training routine

When you first wake up, last thing at night and very regularly during the day, take your puppy outside to a place in your garden that you have chosen. If you use newspaper or puppy pads overnight, pop some of the soiled paper in this area as the smell will help your puppy to know where to go to the toilet. Let your puppy walk up and down or run about and sniff the area (both exercise and sniffing help stimulate going to the loo). It’s best to let your puppy out in the garden without a lead on as it will be too restrictive, however if your puppy needs to be on lead for whatever reason, an extendable lead is a good solution as this will give them the freedom they need to toilet.

Avoid playing exciting games in the garden before your puppy has toileted, as this is likely to distract them from the main purpose of going outside. If they want to come back inside straight away, or look confused, patiently walk up and down slowly to encourage them to move about and sniff the ground. Stay outside with your puppy until they have done their business at which point you can give gentle praise. Avoid leaving your puppy outside in the hope that they will eventually go to the toilet, as most puppies will not want to be left alone and will instead concentrate on getting back to you, rather than learning to go to the toilet outside. You might also miss the opportunity to praise your puppy if they do go, or if they don’t go, they may then be ‘caught short’ once back in the house!

If they still haven’t gone to the toilet after five minutes, come back inside the house, but keep a very close eye on them. Repeat this process 10 minutes later (and 10 minutes after that if they still haven’t gone) and hopefully your puppy will eventually toilet in the right place. Set aside lots of time for this and be prepared for several visits to the garden at first. Be patient and your persistence will eventually pay off!

Between trips to the garden, supervise your puppy when in the house. This means keeping your puppy in view at all times and being aware of what they are doing – this is especially important during the first few months. Pay particular attention to the times after your puppy has eaten, woken up or after periods of excitement, such as play.

Signs your puppy needs the loo!

Watch for the typical signs that your puppy needs to go to the toilet – these may include sniffing the floor, circling, looking restless or going into a room they have previously toileted in. Take your puppy immediately to your chosen place in the garden and wait patiently until they have done their business and praise gently.

What to do if your puppy has an accident

Expect your puppy to have several accidents during the first few months of house training. They have very small bladders, and just like young children who are learning to use a potty, they are easily distracted, especially when excited!

It’s important not to punish your puppy if they toilet in the house – this is counterproductive and won’t help them. It will only frighten them and may teach them to avoid toileting in front of you. You may have heard that it is a good idea to rub your puppy’s nose in any mess or take them over to the scene of the crime and tell them off – unfortunately training methods like this are extremely damaging and confusing to a puppy so best avoided entirely!

If your puppy does have an accident when you’re not looking, just clean it up calmly. If you catch your puppy in the middle of going, quietly pick them up and pop them outside to see if they can finish what they started in the right place – if they do, then praise them gently. If they don’t, just be extra vigilant in the house next time.

How to clean after your puppy

It’s important to clean any mess in the house using a warm solution of biological washing powder (for example, a teaspoon of powder dissolved in a cup of warm water) or a specially formulated product from your vet. This type of product will clean the area properly. Avoid using ammonia based products such as bleach as this is likely to cause your puppy to use the same area again.

How to start a routine for your puppy

When you first wake up, last thing at night and very regularly during the day, take your puppy outside to a place in your garden that you have chosen. If you use newspaper or puppy pads overnight, pop some of the soiled paper in this area as the smell will help your puppy to know where to go to the toilet. Let your puppy walk up and down or run about and sniff the area (both exercise and sniffing help stimulate going to the loo). It’s best to let your puppy out in the garden without a lead on as it will be too restrictive, however if your puppy needs to be on lead for whatever reason, an extendable lead is a good solution as this will give them the freedom they need to toilet.

Avoid playing exciting games in the garden before your puppy has toileted, as this is likely to distract them from the main purpose of going outside. If they want to come back inside straight away, or look confused, patiently walk up and down slowly to encourage them to move about and sniff the ground. Stay outside with your puppy until they have done their business at which point you can give gentle praise. Avoid leaving your puppy outside in the hope that they will eventually go to the toilet, as most puppies will not want to be left alone and will instead concentrate on getting back to you, rather than learning to go to the toilet outside. You might also miss the opportunity to praise your puppy if they do go, or if they don’t go, they may then be ‘caught short’ once back in the house!

If they still haven’t gone to the toilet after five minutes, come back inside the house, but keep a very close eye on them. Repeat this process 10 minutes later (and 10 minutes after that if they still haven’t gone) and hopefully your puppy will eventually toilet in the right place. Set aside lots of time for this and be prepared for several visits to the garden at first. Be patient and your persistence will eventually pay off!

Between trips to the garden, supervise your puppy when in the house. This means keeping your puppy in view at all times and being aware of what they are doing – this is especially important during the first few months. Pay particular attention to the times after your puppy has eaten, woken up or after periods of excitement, such as play.

Signs your puppy needs the loo!

Watch for the typical signs that your puppy needs to go to the toilet – these may include sniffing the floor, circling, looking restless or going into a room they have previously toileted in. Take your puppy immediately to your chosen place in the garden and wait patiently until they have done their business and praise gently.

What to do if your puppy has an accident

Expect your puppy to have several accidents during the first few months of house training. They have very small bladders, and just like young children who are learning to use a potty, they are easily distracted, especially when excited!

It’s important not to punish your puppy if they toilet in the house – this is counterproductive and won’t help them. It will only frighten them and may teach them to avoid toileting in front of you. You may have heard that it is a good idea to rub your puppy’s nose in any mess or take them over to the scene of the crime and tell them off – unfortunately training methods like this are extremely damaging and confusing to a puppy so best avoided entirely!

If your puppy does have an accident when you’re not looking, just clean it up calmly. If you catch your puppy in the middle of going, quietly pick them up and pop them outside to see if they can finish what they started in the right place – if they do, then praise them gently. If they don’t, just be extra vigilant in the house next time.

How to clean after your puppy

It’s important to clean any mess in the house using a warm solution of biological washing powder (for example, a teaspoon of powder dissolved in a cup of warm water) or a specially formulated product from your vet. This type of product will clean the area properly. Avoid using ammonia based products such as bleach as this is likely to cause your puppy to use the same area again.

Your Five Rules for House Training

  • Give your puppy frequent access to his toilet area - prevent soiling in the house.
    • Reward the pup for peeing or pooping in the right place - use a special treat.
    • Never punish the pup for housetraining "mistakes" - scolding has dire consequences.
    • Put your puppy on a regular and timely feeding schedule - in/out clockwork.
    • Know when your puppy last eliminated - keep a diary.

How often do puppies have to potty?

Most puppies have to eliminate about every 30-45 minutes except, of course, when sleeping. Their elimination schedule will depend upon when they last ate or drank water; rambunctious physical activity; and the big unknown - personal preference! That's right - every pup has their own inherent elimination schedule.

The section below on "House Training Taxi Service" will tell you WHEN to give your pup immediate access to her toilet area. For now - keep reading.

If your puppy is not sleeping in her crate or pen, and is out in the house, you must follow her around to know what she is doing: chewing a bone, running circles, getting a drink of water, etc. In fact, don't take your eye off of her! If you cannot watch her continuously, you must put her back into her pen or crate to prevent potty training "mistakes".

Regular feedings will house train a puppy faster

It's very important to put your puppy on a regular and timely feeding schedule; What goes in on a regular schedule will come out on a regular schedule. Every pup is different; some poop immediately after eating; with others it may be 30 minutes to an hour after eating. Unless advised by your vet for some medical reason, do not free-feed. That is, do not leave food out all the time. For two reasons: First, your pup's elimination schedule will be random at best. And second, she will not necessarily associate you as the provider of her food (see our article on being a pack leader and winning a puppy's respect and trust).

Always leave water out for your puppy. Check the water bowl frequently to note how much she is drinking and to make sure the water bowl is full.

The best way to potty train a puppy

Confinement to a small area such as a bathroom or an enclosed exercise pen in combination with confinement to a crate works best.

This method is the most effective and flexible. Your pup needs to develop his natural "den instinct" and learn where to eliminate - and where not to. To potty train our puppy we must condition a desire in the pup to avoid soiling the "den" - your house. Confinement and your due diligence in providing access outside the "den" to potty and poop will develop this instinct and eventual desire. When and how to use confinement is described in detail below.

Choose a designated toilet area for House Training

So, where do you want to train your puppy to always potty and poop? The puppy toilet area needs to be accessible very quickly.

• If you live in an apartment, or a street level apartment or home with DIFFICULT outdoor access, use a bathroom or pen in the home for housetraining.

• If, however, you live in a street level apartment or home with EASY outdoor access, use a specific, very close outdoor location and use "Housetraining Taxi Service." You will still use an indoor pen for housetraining purposes, but outdoors will be your puppy's primary toilet area.

Get the items you need for housetraining and set up the household:

  • A few bottles of Nature's Miracle or similar product to remove urine and fecal stains and odor. Place these in a central or multiple locations in your house with paper towels.
    • A crate that will fit next to your bed but only large enough to accommodate your puppy when full grown. I prefer the wire type for a full view of the puppy. Get one that also collapses for easy transporting.
    • An exercise pen that your puppy cannot jump out of. Put the exercise pen in a central location where you spend most of your time at home. You may want to put a tarp down first then set the pen on top of it.
    • Special housetraining treats (rewards) - something small and special, reserved and used only for a housetraining reward. These treats should be kept close to the designated toilet area.
    • An uplifting, cheery, excited tone of voice to carry with you at all times ( do they have that at the pet store? ).

!House Training Warnings - "I'm gonna go!"

Guess what, you get no warning before a young puppy is about to potty! They just squat and do it... in an instant. So, if they potty in the wrong place, you didn't take them to their potty area soon enough - plain and simple.

However, with a poop you might get some warning - sometimes sniffing; usually circling by the puppy. By paying close attention to your puppy when they are out and about in the house, you may get a heads-up.

 

What to do if you catch your puppy in the act of a potty training "mistake"...

If pup is peeing in the wrong place... you may be able to stop him. Move quickly towards him when he begins to pee and pick him up. Urgency is key here - you want to startle the pup just a little as you move towards them to pick them up, but you DO NOT want to scare the pup. You are redirecting your puppy to the right spot - not disciplining him. Immediately after picking him up, take him to the potty area and patiently wait. Most pups will finish there. Reward your pup with exuberance!

If the pup is pooping... let them finish. Puppies are not able to shut off a poop like they can shut off a pee. More likely than not, you'll just create a huge mess by trying to interupt a poop.

As always, never make a big deal about cleaning up after your puppy when an accident occurs.

 

Housetraining at your bedtime and when you wake up

Just before you go to bed and turn out the lights, go get your puppy, no matter where she may be, asleep or not, and taxi her to the potty area. Reward and praise as always for eliminating. Put her in the crate next to your bed and retire for the night.

First thing in the morning, take her out of the crate and taxi her to the potty area. Return her to the crate or pen unless you are able to supervise her without distraction. Feeding is usually next up. Feed your pup breakfast around the same time each morning and in the same location.

 

Passive House Training When you are NOT Home

Confine your puppy to his, 'puppy-proofed' bathroom or an exercise pen and paper (or wee-wee pad) the entire floor. Put his bed, toys and food/water bowls there. At first there will be no rhyme or reason to where your pup eliminates. He will go every where and any where. He will also probably play with the papers, chew on them, and drag them around his little den. Most puppies do this and you just have to live with it. Don't get upset; just accept it as life with a young puppy. The important thing is that when you get home, clean up the mess and lay down fresh papers.

While your puppy is confined to the bathroom or his pen, he is developing a habit of eliminating on paper because no matter where he goes, it will be on paper. As time goes on, he will start to show a preferred place to do his business. When this place is well established and the rest of the papers remain clean all day, then gradually reduce the area that is papered. Start removing the paper that is furthest away from his chosen location. Eventually you will only need to leave a few sheets down in that place only. If he ever misses the paper, then you've reduced the area too soon. Go back to papering a larger area.

Once your puppy is reliably going only on the papers you've left, then you can slowly and gradually move his papers to a location of your choice. Move the papers a little bit each day. If puppy misses the paper, then you're moving too fast. Go back a few steps and start over. Don't be discouraged if your puppy seems to be making remarkable progress and then suddenly you have to return to papering the entire area. This is normal. There will always be minor set-backs. If you stick with this procedure, your puppy will be paper trained.

 

House Training When You ARE Home

When you are home but can't attend to your puppy, follow the same procedures described above. However, the more time you spend with your puppy, the quicker he will be house trained. Your objective is to take your puppy to his toilet area every time he needs to eliminate. This should be about once every 30-45 minutes; just upon waking; just after eating or drinking; and just after a play session. Provide house training taxi service to avoid unnecessary "mistakes".

When your pup does eliminate in his toilet area, praise and reward him profusely and enthusiastically! Don't use any type of reprimand or punishment for mistakes or accidents. Your puppy is too young to understand and it can set the house training process back drastically.

Don't allow your puppy freedom outside of his room or pen unless you know absolutely for sure that his bladder and bowels are completely empty. When you do let him out, don't let him out of your sight. It is a good idea to have him on leash when he is exploring your home. He can't get into trouble if you are attached to the other end of the leash. Never, ever tie the puppy's leash to something and leave the puppy unattended.

As your puppy becomes more reliable about using his toilet area and his bowel and bladder control develops, he can begin to spend more time outside his room or pen with you in the rest of your home. Begin by giving him access to one room at a time. Let him eat, sleep and play in this room but only when he can be supervised. When you cannot supervise him, put him back in his room or pen.

Active House Training

The most important thing you can do to make house training happen as quickly as possible is to reward and praise your puppy every time he goes in the right place. The more times he is rewarded, the quicker he will learn. Therefore it's important that you spend as much time as possible with your puppy and give him regular and frequent access to his toilet area.

The Key To Successful House Training

Consistency and Patience. Never scold or punish your puppy for mistakes and accidents. The older your pup gets, the more he will be able to control his bladder and bowels. Eventually your pup will have enough control that he will be able to "hold it" for longer and longer periods of time. Let your puppy do this on his own time. When training is rushed, problems usually develop. Don't forget, most puppies are not completely house trained until they are 6 months old.

 

The first thing a dog needs to learn is the basic discipline and respect that is totally defined by the energy and basic directions the owner gives to his dog. However, a dog that is disciplined needs also a basic training that any owner can offer him as a form of avoiding behavioral problems that he might end up being in.

Keep in mind, the following commands, if appropriately applied by the owner can be very fun for the dog and the owner too as well as will totally make both lives easier and lot more enjoyable.

Yet, before starting to teach your dog’s commands, remember to:

  • Be patient and regular
  • Not to push the dog too hard at the start
  • Find a quiet place for the exercises – to avoid distractions
  • Make learning sessions short and simple
  • Make training exercises consistent and a regular thing
  • Never punish your dog
  • Practice at home or garden first before exercising commands publicly
  • Reward the dog for being good
  • Show him what you want him to know- force will not help
  • Teach the dog new commands as soon as he properly learns an old one
  • Make training fun & entertaining
  • Involve yourself in training exercises, not just the dog – he needs a friend to play with

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