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Potty Training

Tips in How to House-Train a Puppy

Technique One

The average dog does not fully housebreak until he is about 5 months old. They tend to go through up and down periods during their growth development. If you take the following guide lines into consideration, the task of housebreaking should move along much easier.

Dogs are easy to train because they are pack animals with strong instincts to follow a leader. Learn to understand your dog’s inherited behavioral instincts and work with—not against—them.

Don’t expect to completely housebreak a puppy under 14 weeks of age. Very young puppies can’t hold bladder and bowel movements for long periods.

1.     Feed your dog a nutritious diet on a consistent time schedule and he will eliminate on a consistent schedule.

2.    Do not feed doggy treats or table scraps between meals during the training period.

3.    Teach control of bodily functions by creating a “den” and confine him to it until it’s time to go out. Supervise your puppy at all times when he’s out of his den.

4.    Select one location outdoors as his potty area. Use this location consistently.

5.    Take your dog to his potty area first thing every morning, after every meal or drink of water, after naps. After play periods or excitement, and before bedtime.

6.    In between, stay alert for such signs as whining, acting restless, sniffing the floor, or going around in circles. As soon as you see any of these things, rush him out to his potty area.

7.    Stay outdoors with the dog and praise him lavishly when (and every time) he relieves himself.

8.    Use verbal praise and petting.

9.    Clean up promptly after your dog.

Technique Two

     A puppy isn’t born knowing that your carpet is not an acceptable place to relieve himself. Here’s a relatively easy way to train him that doesn’t require punishment.


1. Watch your puppy’s behavior while relieving himself outdoors so you can detect the warning signs and intercept him when indoors.

2. Stay outside as often as possible during nice weather so your puppy can develop a preference for eliminating outdoors. Help him develop a liking for surfaces like dirt and gravel by taking him outdoors to eliminate after eating, playing and sleeping — or, ideally, every 15 minutes.

3. When it’s time, go straight to a pre-designated area and don’t leave until the puppy urinates.

4. Tuck your puppy into a cozy crate in your bedroom at night. Dogs are den animals and don’t like to soil the area where they sleep.

5. Carry the puppy outdoors when he becomes restless in the middle of the night, and wait until he’s finished relieving himself.

6. Supply a litter box (filled with sand or kitty litter) during the night, unless you plan on getting up every couple of hours to take him outside. If you do want to take him outside, set your alarm if you sleep too deeply to notice that your puppy has started fidgeting, and carry him outside at those times.

7. Carry the puppy outside first thing in the morning so he won’t soil the floors as he walks outside.

8. Be consistent with training. Consult a pet behaviorist if you have problems.

9. Reward your dog with very small puppy treats and praise every time he successfully eliminates outdoors.

Tips: Be sure to catch the puppy in the act while indoors, say “No!” sharply and carry the puppy outside even if he has already managed to go.

There are many techniques to Housebreaking a dog. Use a combination of many and find out which ones work best for your situation. Some even use a bell hung on the door knob to have the dog ring when he wants to go out.

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