Housebreaking Your Puppy

Potty training your puppy can be a daunting task. Accidents can be frustrating. But with routine, consistency and positive reinforcement, your puppy can be housebroken effectively in a matter of days.

Try Using a Crate to Potty Train

Dogs don’t like to soil their sleeping quarters, which is why crates work so well with puppies. While puppies are in their crates, they’ll postpone relieving themselves as long as possible. So when your puppy is sleeping (which is most of the time), they should be in their crate. Whenever you take your puppy out of their crate, take them outdoors immediately. Don't leave your puppy in the crate for extended periods of time or this training will not work. Place your puppy’s crate in a quiet area in your house and make the crate comfortable and safe for your puppy. Never place your puppy in the crate as a form of punishment.

Pick a Spot and Stick to It

Select one outdoor area where your puppy can relieve himself. After every stimulating event — a car ride, waking up from sleep or a nap, meeting new people, playing or, most importantly, about 15 to 20 minutes after every meal — take the puppy to this place so they know to go potty.

Use Encouraging Phrases

When they sniff around, say something like, “That’s it, that’s it.” Use the phrase you select only in this circumstance. After your puppy goes potty, praise them and immediately return them to the house, but not necessarily to their crate. You want your puppy to get the idea that when they’re outdoors at their special place, they are there for a purpose. However, you don’t want them to think that once they’re done their duty, they are always going to be put back into their crate. By having your puppy sleep in their crate, you encourage bowel and bladder control — but you must check on them often. During this period of life, you should take them outside approximately every two hours.

What to Do When There’s an Accident

Clap your hands and say in a loud voice, “No!” Then take them outdoors to their place immediately. Don’t tell them they’re a bad dog, rub their nose in the mess or strike them. This will only encourage your puppy to hide from you while relieving themselves.

Maintain a Consistent Daily Routine

Meals and walks at the same time of the day help puppies establish a routine. By consistently following these guidelines, you can housebreak a 2- or 3-month-old puppy in a couple of weeks, and older puppies in two or three days. However, be prepared for an occasional accident, even when your dog is fully grown.

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