Puppy House Training

House training will most likely be one of the first tasks you will tackle when bringing a new puppy home. House training a puppy has a similar structure to potty training a child, although there are some instances that can appear well after the basic ideas of house training have been learned. Basic house training is all about establishing an allowable “dog toilet” area for your pet. This may need to be reinforced should submissive wetting and marking occur. Submissive wetting is urination occurring upon greeting, disciplining or high excitement; during puberty some dogs, male or female, will mark their territory. Here are some great tips on how to get you through this important time!

House Training:

House training should only take approximately two weeks to establish as a routine provided. The process will go quickly if you are consistent and committed, prepared to train right away, and maintain a schedule. Retraining a previously trained dog can take up to six weeks.

Before you get started, have your puppy checked by a vet as soon as possible. A check-up can tell if your pup has any medical conditions or complications that make house training more difficult. Situations such as intestinal upset, intestinal parasites and urinary tract infections can make house training difficult to impossible.

The designated toilet area can be as general as outside of the house or as specific as a particular corner of the backyard. A specific plan should be set up in advance; you can't teach the dog what is acceptable if you're not sure yourself.

Your attitude is very important in training. The dog doesn't know what is wrong, so if there is an accident tell them "no" but don't be too severe with discipline. There needs to be a balance for the training to be successful. When the dog has gone in your designated area, praise them and let them know they did well.


Create a schedule that is practical for you to maintain. If you can't stick to your schedule, your dog can't be expected to, either. Do not let your dog free feed until house training has been established.

Try to avoid giving too many dog snacks or dog foods that may upset your pet's stomach. Set a bed time and wake-up time for your dog (this also includes naps); the closer you stick to this, the less nighttime accidents there will be. You should always let the dog out after waking up and before bed. The dog may also need to go out after situations where it may be badly scared or wound up after a rowdy play session.

Within two to three days most dogs will be able to keep control for 8 hour intervals at night, but keep your daytime schedule flexible.

In House Supervision:

You can avoid accidents by knowing where your dog is and what he is doing around the house. If play abruptly stops and you notice that he starts looking for a "good spot" then he needs to go. If an accident does happen, firmly but quietly say "No" - don't yell, then take the dog straight to his bathroom area. You need to pay attention to your dog until they have significant bladder and bowel control.

If you can't supervise the dog for a period of time, put the dog in a confinement area prepared with papers, or confine him to the room where you are. Try to keep the dog with you when you're watching TV or on the computer.

When you can't be with your dog, provide the same confined room with papers. Don't leave food or water in the room or give them too many dog treats. Try to feed your dog two hours before you leave so he has time to digest and go before you leave. Don't leave the dog unattended, without water, or unable to relieve itself for more than 8 hours.

Consistently Take Your Dog Out:

Take your pet or dog leash to the designated "bathroom area." Stand quietly so that the dog can find the right spot without being distracted. Do not praise the dog during his search. If after about five minutes your dog hasn't gone to the bathroom, return them to the house, but keep an eye on them; after half an hour try again.

As the dog starts to relieve him or herself; calmly praise them. When the dog has finished relieving his or herself, praise them more enthusiastically, letting them know that you are very proud of this action.

Remember your dog's routine. Some dogs will go two or three times per outing in the morning, but only twice per outing in the evening. Urination is often followed by defecation, while some dogs will do the reverse.

Even if the weather is bad, don't let your dog know that you don't want to be going outside with him. Avoiding this behavior will teach the dog that even in bad weather he needs to go outside.

How to deal with Indoor House Training Accidents

As your puppy begins to master this new skill, you will undoubtedly catch them in the act. Without yelling, firmly say "No." If you still don't have the dog's attention, clap your hands. Get the dog outside, to the designated bathroom area. If the dog relieves itself outside, offer praise. Proceed with the general routine.

If your dog does happen to go inside the house, it's important to use a cleanser with a deodorizer, if the dog smells his or her own scent after having a mistake inside, the dog may assume this area can be used to bathroom needs and repeat this action in the future. 

While you may be able to catch your dog in the act, there will be other times when you stumble across evidence of a house training accident. Don't punish the dog or show that you are upset. Calmly put the dog on his leash and bring him to the location of the accident. With the dog at your side, firmly scold the accident; do not scold the dog.

Blot up some urine, or pick up some stool with a piece of paper and take it to the designated bathroom area. Place the paper on the ground and with the dog watching praise the potty for being in the "right" place. Temporarily leave the paper there; remove it when the dog isn't watching. There are several products currently on the market that will work to reduce and eliminate any odor or stains associated indoor accidents.

House training can be a stressful time for both owner and puppy. With the proper technique and a little diligence, your puppy will be trained in no time. Always remain patient and remember - these days will pass!

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