Consistency and routine are the keys to successful housetraining.
How often does my puppy need to go outside?
As a minimum, puppies can control their bladder for 1 hour for every month of age. So if a puppy is 2 months old, it can be expected to hold its urine for only 2 hours. So take your puppy outside at least every 2 hours. You will also take your puppy outside after it wakes up, eats, or drinks. Make sure to stop and take frequent breaks during and after play too. Allow plenty of time for your puppy to eliminate so it does not feel rushed.
What is a typical housetraining routine?
Pick a bathroom spot outside and always go to that spot for elimination. Use a key word such as “potty” to encourage elimination. Your puppy will eventually learn what the word means. Use the same house door to go to the bathroom spot. This encourages your puppy to signal at this door when it needs to go outside.
Praise or give your puppy a treat right after it has eliminated. Do not praise or give a treat while your puppy is eliminating as this may distract him/her and your puppy may not finish. And do not wait until you get back to the house as your puppy will not remember what behavior it is being praised for.
How do I prevent accidents inside the house?
Always supervise your puppy so it doesn’t get an opportunity to soil in the house. You may have to tether your puppy to you with a leash or put a baby gate up to keep your puppy within reach. Watch for signs of restlessness, circling, or sniffing so you can take your puppy outside to the bathroom spot before an accident occurs.
When you’re not able to supervise your puppy, use a crate or confine it to a small area. This will use your puppy’s natural instinct not to soil its den area. The confinement area should be just large enough for your puppy to comfortably stand, lie down, and turn around in. Any bigger and your puppy may sleep on one side of the area and eliminate on the other. Make sure to take your puppy directly to its bathroom spot as soon as it is taken out of the confinement area.
Putting your puppy on regular feeding schedule will make it more likely to have a regular elimination schedule. Feed your puppy at least 3 times a day until it is older than 4 months. When it is hot outside or your puppy is active, you will need to provide more water for your puppy to drink. Make sure to take your puppy out for more frequent urination breaks then.
What do I do if my puppy has an accident?
Accidents will happen. Interrupt your puppy when you catch it in the act. Make a startling noise to stop its elimination and immediately take it outside to the bathroom spot. Praise your puppy if it finishes eliminating outside.
Don’t punish or scold your puppy for eliminating in the house. If you find soiled areas in the house, it is already too late for correction. Your puppy will not correlate the punishment with eliminating in the house. Punishment or scolding will only make your puppy fearful of you and will prolong housetraining.
Make sure to clean all accidents with a pet enzymatic cleaner (found at pet stores). Puppies are highly motivated to continue to eliminate in areas where they can smell feces or urine.
I’m still having problems housetraining my puppy. What should I do?
- Take your puppy outside more frequently.
- Supervise your puppy at all times. Watch for clues such as sniffing, circling, or restlessness.
- Confine your puppy if you cannot watch it closely.
- Remember to be patient. Some puppies learn quicker than others!