Lots of dogs are turned into shelters each year because they soil in the house. Owners despair of ever successfully housebreaking their puppies. It doesn’t have to be that way. Housebreaking your puppy can usually be achieved in just a few weeks if you will follow the suggestions laid out here.
1. Put your puppy on a schedule
. As soon as you bring your puppy home you should try to put him on a good schedule. This means feeding your puppy his meals at the same time each day. Take your puppy for walks at the same time each day. Even if you have a fenced yard, you should escort your puppy outside at the same times each day. By putting your puppy on a schedule you can set his “internal clock” so he gets used to relieving himself at approximately the same times.
2. Take your puppy out first thing in the morning
. Puppies have small bladders and they can’t wait. Take your puppy outside to relieve himself as soon as you wake up in the morning. For the first few weeks you may need to wake up extra early to take your puppy out.
3. Put the food and water away at night
. In order to help your puppy make it through the entire night without having an accident, put his food away by around 7 pm. Put his water away by about 10 pm, or the last time you take him out for a walk in the evening. Otherwise, if your puppy has access to food and water later in the evening, he will have accidents during the night.
4. Show your puppy where he’s supposed to go
. When you walk your puppy or take him into the backyard, show him exactly where you want him to potty. You can even buy potty pads that have a special scent to encourage him to potty and eliminate on them. This can be a big help in encouraging your puppy to use the right spot.
5. Watch for signs your puppy needs to go out
. Remember that young puppies don’t have good communication skills at first. Your puppy doesn’t know how to tell you he needs to go out. Watch for signals that he needs to go outside such as glancing at the door; going back to places where he’s had an accident; looking for a private spot; going behind furniture; and looking at you. If you see some of these signs then take your puppy outside right away. Even if it’s a false alarm it’s better than having an accident.
6. Consider using a crate at night
. You can help housebreak a puppy by teaching him to sleep in a crate at night. Puppies don’t want to soil their sleeping area so your puppy will try to wait until morning to potty. Be sure to take him outside immediately when you wake up.
7. Praise, praise, praise!
Housebreaking is just like any other kind of training. Your puppy will learn best if you remember to praise him and telling him he’s doing well when he gets it right. Praise him and give him a treat when he relieves himself outside. Make a big fuss and let him know that you’re proud of him.
If you follow these suggestions, and you have a little patience, then your puppy will be housebroken in just a few weeks. It takes some breeds a little longer than others. Toy dogs are sometimes slower to learn than large dogs. And males are sometimes slower to learn than females. But your puppy will learn.