How to House Train Your Puppy: Potty Training The Right Way

A woman house training her new puppy

Having a puppy in our home is a joy like no other — until they poop on our antique rugs. Of course, puppies rarely come to us polite enough (or trained) to eliminate waste outside right from the get-go. That’s why house training, along with a lot of understanding, patience, and composure are the necessities every puppy owner should have.

Why House Training Your Puppy Is Important

We must establish routines for our puppies. Dogs, just like many other animals, prefer not to dwell in their own filth, so they are naturally prone to establishing a routine for pooping and peeing outside of what they consider their territory. So, even though it will take you some time, you probably won’t have that much trouble house training your puppy.

But keep in mind that the puppies can’t help peeing and pooping inside. They are too young to hold it in, so accidents will happen at first. That’s why an excellent plan is absolutely necessary when it comes to house training your puppy.

When Should We Start?

A puppy fullly covered by toilet paper

It can take up to six months to house train a dog. However, we can’t start as soon as they are born. House training should begin between the age of 3 and 4 months. If we start before that, we might have more setbacks since the puppies don’t have any bladder or bowel control.

Essential Tips for House Training Your Puppy

  • No punishments — We shouldn’t punish our puppies if they have an accident indoors. They don’t realize what we’re punishing them for anyway, so we’re essentially wasting our time. What’s more, punishments will teach out pups to fear us. The “look what you’ve done” tactics where we yell at the dog and show them their own mess also won’t be successful. The poor pup still isn’t old enough to have cognitive faculties to understand what we’re trying to show them.
  • Try interruptions instead — Instead of yelling, we should clap when we see the puppy do their business indoors. Then, once we have their attention, we should take them outside so they could finish.
  • Longer walks — We should give our puppies plenty of opportunities to do their business outside. That means we should take long walks or spend more time in the yard.
  • Stay in one place — Establishing a spot for pooping and peeing is also essential. It helps with the routine. However, we shouldn’t let our puppies make a spot like that in our homes. So, every time the puppy does their business inside, make sure to clean the spot with a strong cleaner. The odor of their own pee might attract them to the same place, so make sure that doesn’t happen.

Essential Tips for House Training Your Puppy

The most important things when it comes to house training your puppy are:

  • Consistency
  • Patience
  • Positive reinforcement

Consistency

A consistent feeding schedule, as well as regular outings, are a must. We should feed our puppies at the same time every day, and take them outside every hour (or every thirty minutes). Walks should follow every meal and every nap as well.

When we feed our puppies, we should do it in the same spot every time. The same goes for walks. Try to teach the pup to pee and poop in the same place outside, so they start to associate that spot with doing their business.

Patience

A puppy WILL pee and poop in the house. There’s simply no way around it. It’s crucial that we don’t get angry or frustrated. Just like babies, puppies don’t understand that they are doing something wrong. You wouldn’t get mad at a baby for pooping everywhere, right?

Positive Reinforcement

Every time the puppy poops or pees outside, reward them with a treat. Positive reinforcement is essential. But we’re not talking about treats only. Your praise, pets, and playtime are also crucial rewards.

Furthermore, don’t abandon your pup outside while you’re waiting for them to finish. If you stand by them, they’ll see that as another reward.

Supervising the Puppy

Keeping our pups close is essential both for bonding and house training. Just because we aren’t actively training them, that doesn’t mean we should let them wander around on their own. Instead, we should put them on a leash.

We can tether them to a nearby piece of furniture so we can keep an eye on them. That way, we’ll see if they get fidgety, which is a sure sign that they need to go out. Aside from that, we might notice our puppies barking, whining, or circling one spot. These are also good signs that we should stop whatever we’re doing and take the pup outside.

If we’d prefer to keep our dogs in the yard, then we should put our pup on a leash there as well. Just because the puppy is outside most of the time, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t housetrain them. After all, they can’t poop everywhere willy-nilly. So, while we’re teaching our pups basic behavior, we should treat the yard just like any other room in the house.

Confining the Puppy

A dog confined inside a white dog house by a white wall

Some new dog owners find the crate to be cruel and heartless. However, that’s quite far from the truth. Dogs love having their own space where they can go when they are feeling sad, overwhelmed, or frustrated. What’s more, they love having their own place to sleep. That’s what the crate is for.

If we don’t find the leash satisfactory, a crate will also help us keep an eye on our puppies. It’s also an excellent solution for those of us who have to work and can’t really spend the entire day with the puppy.

If that’s the case with you, make sure that you ask someone to give the puppy daily breaks from the crate. They should go for walks at least a couple of times during the day.

A crate is a great solution, but only if we make it big enough for the puppy to move comfortably inside of it. The pup needs to be able to sit, stand, turn around, and sleep in the crate. The crate also has to be big enough so the puppy can use one corner as the place to do their business (if necessary). However, we shouldn’t encourage the puppy to eliminate inside of the crate, as that won’t help with the house training.

One Last Piece of Advice — Mistakes Happen

We should house train our puppies before they are one year old. However, during that first year, there will be a lot of accidents. That’s natural and expected, so don’t get frustrated. As we mentioned, getting angry and yelling won’t help you or your dog.

If you’ve successfully house trained your puppy, and they’ve been going to the bathroom outside for a while, that doesn’t mean accidents won’t happen from time to time. If they do, try to figure out what triggered them.

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