Housebreaking a Puppy

Housebreaking a Puppy

When you bring your new puppy home for the first time, it can be so fun and exciting. That is, until they have that first accident on the floor. The truth is, puppies are going to have accidents. You have to housebreak them. Housebreaking a puppy can be tiring, but if you are consistent it will pay off in the long run. You not only have to remain consistent, but you also have to use positive reinforcement and keep your patience. The goal is to build a good bond with your pup, while still teaching them good habits.

Housebreaking a Puppy – When to Get Started


If you didn’t already know this, it can take up to six months for you to fully housebreak your puppy. The size of your pup will have a lot to do with this. Smaller breeds may have a smaller bladder with a higher metabolism, meaning that they have to go to the bathroom more often. Also, if your puppy has already made bad habits when it comes to going potty, it can take a lot longer to break those old habits. Just remember that there are always going to be setbacks along the way, and you need to keep your patience.

It is best to wait until your pup is between 12 and 15 weeks old to start training them. That is because they have better control of their bodies, and are better able to hold it. When you first get started with them, there are a few steps that you will want to follow.

Steps for Housebreaking a Puppy

Step 1: Make sure that your puppy is on a regular feeding schedule. Taking away the food between meals keeps them from grazing throughout the day, thus making the housebreaking process easier on both of you.

Step 2: Make sure that you take your puppy out first thing in the morning. After that, you will want to take them out every hour or so, especially in the beginning. If you can’t do this, then puppy potty pads may be an option that you want to consider. After naps and mealtimes are also important times to take your pup outside.

Step 3: Make sure that you are taking your puppy to the same place each time you go outside. This will show them that you are outside to take care of business. If you take them to a different place each time, they may feel like it is time for play. This is your basis for consistency.

Step 4: Stay outside with your dog so that you can see what they are doing. You will want to do this until they are almost fully house trained. By doing this, you will be able to monitor their elimination and try to pick up on a schedule.

Step 5: Make sure that you are praising good behavior with positive reinforcement. Look for healthy treats that you can give your pup, or make homemade treats if you really want to have fun with it! You may also give them a nice walk around your block as a reward for positive behavior.

Crate Training Your Puppy

Many new pup owners will choose to crate train their puppy. There are a lot of people that have success with this method, and others may feel that it is not really humane. Here are a few tips that will help you if you choose to crate train:

  • Get the proper size crate for your dog. It should be big enough for them to comfortably stand up, turn around and lie back down; but you don’t want it too big or they may use one of the corners to use the bathroom.
  • Keep fresh water available for your pup while they are in the crate.
  • Have someone available to give your pup breaks from their crate throughout the day.
  • Cease crate training if your pup is eliminating inside of the crate. That just means that this probably isn’t the best method for housebreaking your puppy.

What to Do and What Not to Do When Housebreaking a Puppy

Here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to housebreaking your pup:

  • Don’t punish your dog when they have an accident in the house, as this will only teach them to be fearful of you.
  • Do make a loud noise, such as a clap, so that your dog knows that their behavior is unacceptable when you catch them in the act of eliminating inside. Then, take them outside and show them the proper place to do their business.
  • Don’t rub your dog’s nose in it out of anger, they are not capable of making the connection between your anger and their potty accident.
  • Do stay outside with your pup for a longer amount of time to avoid accidents. Puppies love to explore and may be in exploration mode rather than elimination mode.
  • Do clean up any accidents right away using a cleanser that will minimize odors to help prevent your pup from going back to the same spot to eliminate in the future.

As you can see, housebreaking a puppy can have its challenges. The good news is that there is hope. You can train your puppy to go to the bathroom outside. It may seem hopeless, especially in the beginning, but with patience and the right amount of positive reinforcement you will begin to see improvements.



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I've been a dog lover since the day I was born but it's the current four legged love of my life, Phoebe who inspired me to create the Munch.Zone.

We moved together from Israel to New York in 2013, love hiking together, and never pass up a trip to the dog park. Watching her over the years sparked so many questions about dog behavior and health needs, and it wasn't always easy to find answers. Thus, the Munch.Zone was born.

On any given day you'll find me watching Netflix originals, eating popcorn, and thinking about how to get into house flipping.

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