Housebreaking Your Puppy
Hhousebreaking your dog requires patience and consistency. There will be accidents but follow-through with the process and you and your best friend will have crossed over this hurdle and on to a great life together.
First and most importantly you must establish a routine on a regular schedule. The routine and schedule establish that there is time to eat, time to play, and time to do their business. A good rule of thumb is a puppy can control their bladder an hour for every month of age. So, if a puppy is three months old, he
can hold his bladder for three hours. If you try to stretch it out longer you are guaranteeing that there will be an accident.
Take your puppy out frequently. Frequently means at least every two hours, immediately after waking, during, and after playing, and right after eating and drinking. Pick a spot outside for the puppy to void, and always take your puppy on a leash to that spot. While your puppy is relieving themselves, use a word or phrase that you can eventually use to remind the puppy what to do. After they have relieved themselves take them for a long walk or play, but only after the puppy has relieved themselves.
Reward your dog every time they relieve themselves outside. Praise them and give treats immediately after the puppy goes. Not after you bring them inside. This step is especially important. Rewarding them for going outside is the only way of teaching them what is expected of them. Make sure they are finished before praising and rewarding. Puppies are easily distracted, if you praise too soon they may forget to finish their job until they are back in the house.
Put your puppy on a regular feeding schedule. What goes in on a regular schedule comes out in a regular schedule. Depending on their age, puppies need to be fed three or four times a day. Feeding at consistent times daily will make it more likely they will relieve themselves at consistent times, making it
easier for housebreaking. Pick up the water dish two and a half hours before bedtime to decrease the chance they will have to relieve themselves during the night. Most puppies can sleep around seven hours without needing to go.
If your puppy wakes you to go, don’t make a big deal out of it or the puppy may think it’s time to play and go back to sleep. Don’t turn on the lights, do not talk to the puppy, take him out, then return to bed. Always supervise your puppy, don’t give them an opportunity to relieve themselves in the house. Use a
six-foot leash and tether the puppy to you or a piece of furniture if you are not training or playing.
Look out for signs that your puppy must go out. Watch for signs such as scratching at the door, circling, or sniffing around. If you see these signs, take the puppy by the leash to the bathroom spot in the yard. After he goes then praise and reward. While housetraining keep your puppy in a leash when in the yard. To avoid having your whole yard a bathroom, your yard should be treated like any room in your house. After your puppy is housetrained
then you can give some freedom in the house.
When you cannot watch your puppy all the time, it is best if you restrict the puppy to a confined area so they will not want to go there. Space should be just big enough to stand, lie down, and turn around. Perhaps use a portion of the laundry room or bathroom blocked off with baby gates. If you decide to crate train the puppy, make sure you take the puppy out to the bathroom spot if the puppy has been in the crate for an extended period.
Expect there to be accidents. If you catch the puppy in the act, make a startling noise, but do not scare the puppy, or say outside, and immediately take the puppy to the bathroom spot. Praise your pup and give treats when finished.
If you find a soiled area, do not punish, do not rub their nose in it, do not yell and scold. It will only make them afraid to relive themselves in your presence. It will do more harm than good. Clean the area thoroughly. Puppies will continue to soil in the area that smells of urine and feces. If you have to be away more than four or five hours, consider getting an older dog that can wait for your return. If you already have a puppy and still must be a way, arrange for someone responsible to take them for bathroom breaks. If you have to clean up an accident outside the bathroom spot, put the soiled rags or paper towels inside the bathroom spot afterward to help your puppy recognize the scented area as the place they relieve themselves