Housetraining is teaching your puppy where is, and where is not, acceptable for him to relieve himself. Housetraining a puppy can be challenging, frustrating and sometimes takes a while to accomplish, but all your efforts pay off when your dog is well housetrained and will not relieve himself in the house.
A crate is a great aid in helping a puppy learn housetraining skills. All dogs are born with the instinct to keep their bed clean. As soon as a puppy is strong enough he would toddle away from his mom and littermates to relieve himself. By using a crate as the puppy’s bed, the puppy learns to control both bladder and bowels.
It’s important that you, as the new puppy owner, understand that the crate is not a jail. The crate should be a positive place, a place to sleep, to relax.
Choose a crate that will allow your puppy to stand up, turn around and stretch out. If the crate is too big, the puppy can relieve himself in a back corner and still have room to get away from it.
Puppies tend to need to go potty on a schedule; after waking up, after playing, after eating or drinking. If you feed your puppy on a schedule, so too will he have to potty on a fairly regular schedule. Picking up his water bowl in the evening, a bit before bedtime, will help him not need to pee in the middle of the night. Take him outside if you suspect he needs to go or it’s around time that he normally needs to go.
Take your puppy outside where you want him to relieve himself. Stand outside with the puppy but don’t interact with him. When the puppy starts to sniff and circle, just watch. After the puppy has started to relieve himself, say softly, “Go potty! Good boy to go potty!” (Using, of course, whatever vocabulary you wish to use.) When the puppy has completed his business, praise even more.
You will need to go out with him to this particular spot every time the puppy needs to go for several weeks. Yes, weeks! You cannot simply send the puppy outside. If you do, how do you know the puppy has relieved himself? The puppy may come inside and relieve himself on the carpet. Also, if you don’t go out with the puppy, you cannot teach the puppy the command you want him to learn or praise him for going in the proper location.
When Accidents Happen
When an accident happens, you must handle it very carefully. Don’t yell or scream and never rub the puppy’s nose in the mess! After all, relieving himself is not wrong – the puppy must relieve himself. If you scold him, the puppy may feel that relieving himself in front of you is wrong. This often leads to finding puddles in strange places behind the furniture.
If your puppy is having a few accidents in the house, make sure you are going outside with the puppy so that you can praise when he goes outside. Make sure the puppy knows when and where it is right to go. You will also need to pay more attention to the puppy’s schedule; are you getting him outside enough and at the right times? If you are going to be busy in the house, paying attention to something other than the puppy, put the puppy is a safe spot, like his crate.
Some puppy owners allow the puppy too much freedom too soon and this can lead to housetraining accidents. It’s easy for a puppy to have an accident if they are not monitored or can wander off to another room. However, a baby gate across the door way or hall can keep the puppy close and prevent accidents.
Successful housetraining is based on setting the puppy up for success by monitoring, allowing few accidents to happen, and then praising the puppy when he relieves himself outside.
If your puppy is progressing and not having accidents, keep doing what you’re doing!