When you bring home a new puppy or adopt an adult dog, one of your first concerns is likely to be teaching your new companion to eliminate outside. Our vision here at The Inquisitive Canine is, “to live in a world where dogs are encouraged to romp, bark, play, and enjoy life with their people.” We’d like to help get you and your new buddy started off on the right paw with this guide to house-training, so you can move on to harnessing the really fun stuff – romping, playing and enjoying life together!
Tips for House-Training
- Focus on where you want your pup to go potty.
- Reward her generously when she does go in the designated area outside:
- In order to teach your dog where to potty, you must accompany her outside.
- Take her on-leash to the same place every time.
- When she goes, praise and offer her a treat when she’s finished.
- If you’re at a dog-safe location, let her off-leash for a little playtime, as an extra reward.
- Avoid punishing her if she happens to eliminate in a forbidden area. Yelling, swatting, or pushing a dog’s nose into the place where they eliminated doesn’t tell them what you want. Punishment harms the bond and trust you are working to build and teaches your pup to be afraid to eliminate in front of you.
- Be consistent in your routine.
- Prevent accidents by setting her up to make the right choice about where to potty:
- Manage tightly when you cannot monitor her behavior and supervise your pup in the house.
- Use a crate when unsure if your pup is full or empty.
- Use short-term confinement training when appropriate:
- Use a crate for short absences – base time on age and learning history.
- Don’t leave your dog in the crate for too long or she will be forced to soil the crate, ruining her tendency to keep her sleeping area clean.
- Give your pup something to chew while in her crate (best to monitor)
- Take your pup outside immediately after letting her out of the crate.
- If you take your pup outside and she doesn’t potty, return her to her crate for 20-30 minutes and try again.
- Use a long-term confinement training area if you’ll be gone longer than your pup can hold it:
- Use an easy-to-clean, puppy-proof room, such as the kitchen or bathroom.
- Use baby gates to confine pup in the room.
- Place a potty area (puppy potty pad or litter box) at one end of the room and your pup’s crate (with the door open), a little bit of water, and a chew toy or Kong® at the other end.
- If you’re house-training a young puppy, recognize the physical limits of your pup:
- Younger puppies may need to eliminate every 2-4 hours when awake, lively and active. They can usually hold it for longer periods during the night.
- There’s a general formula you can use to estimate how long puppies can typically hold their urine: Their age in months, plus one equals the number of hours. Ex. A 3-month-old puppy can hold it for 4 hours. A 4-month-old can typically hold it for 5 hours and so on. This means your puppy will most likely need to be taken outside during the night.
To sum up, diligent effort on your part is the secret to successfully teaching your new pup the proper place to go potty. Do your best to be patient, be consistent, be proactive and remember to enjoy the time you get to spend with the precious new fur friend in your life.
Wishing you all the best for a lifetime of successful potty adventures and harnessing fun with your new pup!