How to House Break Your Puppy

If house breaking is based on prevention and not punishment, you and your puppy will accomplish this task more quickly. Every dog wants to please its owner but a puppy’s memory is short; patience and constant supervision must be in the watchwords. You remember that puppies eight weeks of age are physically able to start house training but need a lot of attention and supervision. Puppies, instinctively, want to stay as clean as they can; they will not eliminate in the same area where they sleep. This fact will help you train your puppy.

Your puppy needs to be confined whenever it is not directly supervised. The confined area should be a crate, if not; a very small room may also work. The more room the puppy has to get away from its feces or urine, the more likely the puppy is to do so and have an accident. This means the crate should only be big enough for your puppy to lie down and still have room for a water bowl. When your puppy is taken out of its confinement, you should immediately take it outside. You need to stay outside with the puppy, until the puppy has both urinated and defecated. After each elimination, praise the puppy as if the puppy just did the best thing in the world. (Your love, attention and praise are the best rewards for any puppy.) Never play with the puppy or let the puppy play until after the puppy has both urinated and defecated. Potty time is a serious time- enjoyable but not play time. You need to keep your puppy from being distracted by outside activities. Frequently, you need to start walking the puppy in circles to get the pup to start sniffing the ground. This means keeping your puppy on a leash. Once the puppy has stated sniffing the ground, it is more likely to eliminate. It will help to reinforce house training by taking your puppy to the same spot every time. The urine scent will remain and stimulate the puppy to use the spot again.

You need to remember to take your puppy out frequently. The more often the pup is taken outside, goes to the bathroom and is praised for it, the faster the pup will learn that outside is the appropriate place for eliminating. Some people even create a command, such as “potty time” that they say while waiting for the puppy to eliminate. Repetition and praise then teaches the puppy that the phrase and action are associated and both are good. At a minimum, you need to take your puppy outside first thing in the morning, whenever it wakes up from a nap, 20 minutes after play period or a meal, and last thing at night. Any time you notice your puppy starting to sniff the floor or circle, the puppy is probably getting ready to have an accident. This is your cue to pick the puppy up and take it outside.

  You should not scold your puppy for urinating or defecating in the house; these are important normal functions that are not bad, it is the location that is a bad choice. Your role is to encourage your puppy to do these behaviors in the appropriate place. If you find an accident, do not bring the puppy to it and scold or punish or rub his nose in the accident. This will merely teach your puppy to fear you; they cannot associate their past behavior with their present behavior. In cases like this, simply clean the site of the accident well; a cleaner designed to remove pet odors is best. If you find your puppy in the act of urinating or defecating, say no and pick the puppy up immediately and take it outside. (If you can’t immediately pick the puppy up, make a very loud noise to scare the puppy into stopping its elimination, then rush to it and get the puppy outside.) Once the puppy is outside wait until it eliminates and then praise the puppy. When you get inside, clean the accident site thoroughly.

If you decide to paper train your puppy, you will follow all of the above but substitute paper for outside. The principle of preventing accidents and encouragement are the same. GOOD LUCK!