How to Housebreak Your Puppy

Housebreaking is among the first lessons a new puppy learns and should start immediately after you bring your puppy home. But housebreaking a puppy is easy since they are in the learning stages of their life and can be done in a short period of time.  Housebreaking does require patience and may take as long as three months to have your pup completely trained so don’t be alarmed if there are intermittent accidents along the way.

Consistency is one of the more important aspects in the housebreaking process.  You need to develop a plan and a schedule for how your will tackle the housebreaking process. There are three situations you need to train for: inside and highly supervised, when your puppy is contained in a crate or a “puppy-proof” room and; outside.  Yes outside!  You can’t assume a puppy will be housetrained just by opening the door and letting them out to eliminate.

Each person’s schedule may vary depending on the number of times you feed the pup each day and of course your schedule. A general guideline for setting your schedule would be:  Immediately upon waking, the pup should be let out to eliminate.  Then puppy should be fed and time permitting, played with. After play, take the puppy out again and if he is being crate trained, put them in their crate. Dogs do not like to soil their own dens so if you find the crate when you take them out, it may be that they were left in there too long.  If you have to leave the pup alone for more than three to four hours consider asking a neighbor to let them out or hire a dog walker, at least during the housebreaking process.  Repeat the same process as above each time you take the puppy from the crate.  Outside, play, outside, crate.

If you are not crate training your pup, make sure they are in a small puppy proof room. When playing with the puppy inside, make sure they are highly supervised.  If your puppy starts circling, sniffing or darts off to another room, these are clear signs that itis the time to take the puppy outside.

Once outside, pick a designated spot for puppy to go.  Choose your spot carefully!  I thought it would be a great idea to teach my pup to go as far away from my house as possible.  While it sounded like a good idea at the time, in two feet of snow or blinding rain it seems less so.

Try to use a word like ” outside” or potty or some other word to make the puppy familiar with what is expected.  I have two words, Outside and Finish-up.  I use finish-up if they have only peed and nothing else. Once your puppy eliminates where you want them to, praise them.  This way they know what is expected.  Make sure to watch your puppy while outside to make sure they really do go. Puppies would much prefer to eliminate in the house if they had a choice because when they are little the outdoors can be a very exciting and/or scary place. In some cases, you may take your puppy outside and they get excited, nervous, or distracted and just forget to go then come back inside and immediately remember and an accident will happen.

By having a consistent schedule for feeding, play and outside to go time, your pup should be housebroken in short order.


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