How to Housebreak a Puppy
Each Puppy or Dog Is Different
Just like people, puppies have different personalities and something that works well for one puppy may not work well for another. One trait that all puppies share is their desire to play, learn, and please their "person." They learn quickly, but their attention spans are quite short. Training takes a bit of trial and error because there is no surefire way for training that will work for every puppy.
Getting Down to Business
A training cage or crate will be needed for this method of house training the puppy. Dogs are clean animals and will rarely go to the bathroom in the same place that they have to lay down. Size is important when choosing a box or a cage. Ideally, it should be large enough for the puppy to stand up, lay down comfortably and be able to turn around in. A full-size cage can be made smaller with dividers that can be purchased from the manufacturer or the store.
Obviously, you won't be leaving your puppy in the training cage or box if you are home and awake. It is only for sleeping or when you are going to be away from the house. Puppies need socialization, exercise, and other training too so for a happy, healthy puppy, leave them out with you when you are awake and at home.
A Quick Look at How to Crate Train
How old is your puppy?
How to Successfully Housebreak Your New Puppy
Success in housebreaking a puppy comes down to one word. Consistency. Younger puppies will need to be taken outdoors to relieve themselves more often than older puppies because just like human babies, it's hard for them to control their bladders. For younger puppies, every 4 hours is a good starting point and this includes at night. As the puppy gets older, the time can be stretched out.
Some people find success with using training pads but I have always stayed away from this method because of the fear of confusing the puppy. They are going to the bathroom in the house on the pad so they are being told that it's OK to go to the bathroom in the house.
Accidents are going to happen when housebreaking a puppy. Some people are quick to rub puppy's nose in it and give them a spanking. This doesn't prevent the puppy from going to the bathroom in the house because when they have to go, they have to go! This type of punishment can result in the puppy just going to the bathroom in the house in places that you can't see. When there are accidents, one method of cleanup that works well is using white vinegar on the spot where the puppy went. The vinegar takes the smell out of the area so the puppy won't be tempted to return to that spot and do it again.
When you take the puppy outside for bathroom time, give the puppy a lot of praise and a treat for relieving them self outdoors. This reinforces the act in the puppy's mind that if they go to the bathroom outside, they get a treat and make you extremely happy. Eventually, you'll recognize the puppy's signal that they have to go out and the schedule can be modified where it isn't quite as often.
Housebreaking a puppy is hard work! With consistent training, patience and a little bit of know how you'll have a great addition to your family and your flooring won't suffer in the process.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
How do I break a new puppy from using pee pads and get them to relieve themselves outside?
I've never used pee pads, and I’m not a fan of them because I've heard they can be confusing for a dog/puppy. They are used indoors, which means the puppy is going in the house. I'd suggest taking a puppy outside every few hours and giving them a LOT of praise when they do their business out there. The scheduled potty times have always worked for me. Also, I’d ditch the pee pads unless you absolutely have no choice.