How to Housebreak a Puppy

Remember, You’re Smarter Than They Are...

You’ve brought your wiggling, licking, squirming bundle of joy home. He’s eight weeks old, and the world is his for the asking. What he doesn’t know is that he has to go outside to go potty. Up to now he went wherever he wanted because he was too young to train, but now it’s time. There are three ways to train a puppy, each with its ardent proponents. You may have to try all three.

All three methods have a few things in common. First, take the dog either to the pads or out the first thing every morning, rain, snow, sleet or shine. Next, every night at bedtime do the same process. Some trainers suggest a verbal command, such as “now” or “go” when you’re with the dog. Also, don’t combine the training activity with anything else. No walk, no play. Finally, lavish praise on the dog when he gets it right, and don’t punish him when he gets it wrong. Punishing after he’s gone is useless because he won’t make the connection between his accident and your finding it. He’ll think he’s being punished for what he’s doing now.

One more thing. Dogs usually need to go about a half hour after eating. So, be on the lookout. If you’re really intense, you can monitor his water consumption and plan ahead.

1. Paper training.
Whenever you see the pup starting to make his little sniffing sounds and wandering around the house, he’s ready to go. Quickly aim him for spread-out newspapers or maximum absorbency puppy pads. The pads are probably better because they’re thick, and the newspapers can leak onto the floor. During this training it’s probably best for the dog to be confined to non-rug areas.

As the pup gets used to the pad, move it closer to the door and let the dog know you’ve moved it. You can either catch the dog in action or place the dog on a used (so he gets the smell) pad in its new location. Eventually, move the pad outdoors, and the dog will know now where he’s supposed to go.

2. Dog Crates
After taking the dog out in the morning, crate the dog for a few hours. Dogs will not mess in their crates. Do not crate the dog for hours on end.  Make sure the crate has warm, cozy bedding and some toys and just enough room for the dog to stretch out. Take the dog outside again and  use the verbal command or just stay with him until he goes. Continue this process until the dog knows he’s supposed to go outside.

If you don’t intend to continue to crate the dog, it’s a good idea to train him to let you know he has to go, either by standing at the door or by scratching it--if you don’t mind a tattered door.

3. Eagle eye
Catch the dog every time he starts to make his telltale movements and get him outside. This requires you to be with the dog every hour of every day until he knows the routine.

Of course, during this training process accidents will happen. Clean it up and move on.

Eventually, the dog will get it, and there will be joy in Whoville. And when that’s done you have teething to look forward to next.