How to Housetrain Your Puppy – Do’s and Don’ts!
26 May, 2015
Housetrain Your Puppy

When you first bring a puppy into your home, there will be many new things for the two of you to learn.  The first and biggest hurdle for your young puppy is housetraining.  The best way to actually get your puppy housetrained is to reward your puppy for eliminating where you want him to and by preventing him from doing so in places where he shouldn’t.  If possible, you should try to keep confining him and crate training to a minimum until your puppy learns the proper housetraining.

Each puppy has a different time frame in learning to be housetrained

Some puppies learn when and where not to eliminate at a very young age, while others take longer to understand. Most puppies can be housetrained by five to six months old. Some puppies seem to catch on early but then regress. This is normal. Keep in mind that it may take a while for your puppy to develop bowel and bladder control. He may be mentally capable of learning to eliminate outdoors instead of inside, but he may not yet be physically capable of controlling his body.  Not that different from getting your child to be potty- trained.

Housetrain Your Puppy

Give me time and I will learn!

The goal is to have your puppy get through the night without any accidents

All puppies are different, but a puppy can usually only hold in his waste for the same number of hours as his age in months. A five-month-old puppy should not be left alone for more than five consecutive hours without your letting him or her to go outside. Usually, a puppy can last longer at night, since he sleeps more and is relatively inactive. By the time your pup is about five months old, he should be able to make it through the night without going outside.

Below are some additional overall tips to help you housetrain your pup successfully:

Try to clean the spots where your puppy has an accident with a strong, enzyme based cleanser to help reduce any odor that could attract the puppy back to the same spot.

Once your puppy is house trained in your home, he may still have accidents when visiting others’ homes. And this is normal and to be expected.  Puppies need to generalize their learning to new environment, however, just because they seem to know something where to eliminate (or not) in one place doesn’t mean that they’ll automatically know that everywhere. You’ll need to watch your puppy carefully when you visit new places together and be sure to take him out often.

Further, if something in your puppy’s environment changes, your puppy most likely will have a lapse in house training.   If you bought a new piece of furniture, your puppy might think this is a new place to pee!

House training requires an investment of time and effort and sometimes you might think it will never happen, but you can do it.  If you’re consistent, your hard work will pay off. Hang in there! If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact a qualified professional or a dog trainer to teach you and your puppy how to successfully be house trained.

Below are some tips of what you shouldn’t do if your puppy is not quick at housetraining:

You should never rub your puppy’s nose in his waste if he isn’t successful at holding it.

Please do not yell or scold your dog for eliminating indoors. Instead, if you catch him in the act, make a noise to startle him and stop him from urinating or defecating. Then immediately show your dog where you want him to go by taking him outside, waiting until he goes, and then praising and rewarding him.

You should never physically punish your puppy for accidents (hitting with newspaper, spanking, nothing physical). Realize that if your puppy has accidents in the house, you were not adequately supervising him or her.  Your puppy is like a baby and if you don’t take him outside frequently enough and/ or missed his signals that he needed to go outside, it’s your fault not his!

Confining your puppy to a small area for hours each day is not a way to housetrain.  You need to teach him and let him or her out frequently.

If your puppy is eliminating in his crate, than don’t crate him and leave him there.

If your puppy enjoys being outside, don’t bring him inside right after he eliminates or he may learn to “hold it” while outside so that he can stay out there longer.

Do not clean with an ammonia-based cleanser. Urine contains ammonia. Cleaning with ammonia could attract your puppy back to the same spot to urinate again. Instead, use an enzymatic cleanser that is safe for your puppy.

Housetraining is a process but with time, effort and rewards, you can teach a puppy to be housetrained.  Positive feedback and love is also a great encouragement.


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