A Brief Guide to Housetraining a Puppy

Housetraining a puppy may seem like a daunting task. However, it is essentially a simple process that only requires consistency and patience on your part. If you’re a new pet parent with no experience in potty training a dog, here’s how you need to go about it:

· Choose a Supplementary Training Method

Ideally, you should be taking your dog outdoors, every time they need to eliminate. However, this is easier said than done. Puppies do not always tell you when they need to defecate, resulting in accidents.

There are two tried and tested methods to prevent your house getting soiled by your dog:

Crate Training

Crate training involves keeping your pup into a crate (even if you detest it) while being potty trained. Dogs have the natural tendency to keep their space clean. When kept in crate, your pet wouldn’t defecate inside and will give you signals that he needs to eliminate by scratching or whining.

When using crate training method, do not choose a very big crate or your pup will likely designate one area of it for defecation. Also, make sure to immediately respond to your pet’s signals or the pup might end up eliminating inside the crate. This can lead to your dog developing the impression that it’s okay to defecate inside the crate, or anywhere in the house per se.

Paper/Pad Training

This training method involves using paper or specialized puppy pads to designate a spot for dogs to do their business inside the house, as an alternative to eliminating outdoors.

Begin with covering the entire floor of a room with paper and then gradually moving to remove the cover from a few spaces. Make sure to replace dirty pads immediately. Praise or treat your dog every time he eliminates on the right place i.e. on the paper and correct him, gently, whenever he doesn’t.

Paper training method comes in handy for people who are not always available to take their pets outside.

· Create a Routine

The key to preventing accidents at home is to take your dog out for bathroom breaks, several times during the day. However, you cannot just do it whenever you want. In order to get your dog develop the habit of eliminating outdoors, you need to build a routine and follow it consistently. The basic potty training schedule involves taking your puppy out at the following times:

  • Soon after you wake up
  • After every meal
  • After your pup wakes up from a nap
  • After playtime
  • Before bed
  • Before you leave them alone at home

Important: To help your pet get used to the schedule, quickly, follow a routine. Do all the activities around the same time, every day, so your dog doesn’t get confused. 

· Know How Frequently Your Dog Needs to Eliminate

Accidents are bound to happen if you do not take your dog out to do their business as frequently as they need to. Remember the rule of thumb – the younger your dog is, the more frequent they need to eliminate. To make things even easier, here’s a standard timeline for how often puppies need potty break depending on how old they are:

  • 2 Months – every 3 hours
  • 3 Months – every 4 hours
  • 4 Months – every 5 hours
  • 5 Months – every 6 hours
  • 6+ Months – every 6 to 8 hours

· Take Your Puppy to the Same Spot

Taking your puppy to a different space every time will leave him confused. To make sure your dog knows what you’ve brought him outside for, take him to the same spot every time.

To encourage your puppy to do his business quickly, choose a spot with minimum to no distractions. Also, avoid playing with your pet and do not give him any attention to make sure he doesn’t get distracted.

The Final Word

These are the key tips to potty training a puppy. To make this training process a little easier and quicker, begin it as soon as you bring a puppy home. Delaying housetraining will only lead to your dog getting used to defecating inside the home and once he does, it will be very difficult to make him unlearn the habit. In case, you have already made this mistake and are now struggling with housetraining your puppy, get help from a professional dog trainer.