One of the most stressful aspects of having a new puppy – and sometimes even a mature dog – is learning how to housebreak him. Typically, it takes four to six months for a puppy to become fully housetrained, so it’s important to have patience with the process. To help make things a little easier for you, we’ve assembled four of the most common housebreaking methods to try, plus a few general tips.
- Crate Training. Dogs don’t want to intentionally soil their own beds, so keeping your pet in a crate throughout the night or while you’re away from home can help teach him how to better control his bladder.
- Doggie Door. If you have an enclosed backyard, you can teach your dog how to let himself out through a doggie door. While this method may not be an option for everyone, it can be a convenient route for those dog owners who allow their pets free range of the house while they are away.
- Bells. Bells are a fun and different way to housebreak a slightly older pup. By using the bell method, you’ll give your dog the ability to tell you when he needs to go out. Place bells on the door you use to take him outside, draw his attention to the bell and if he touches it with his nose, give him a treat. Continue to associate the bell with going outside to potty and after some practice, he’ll soon be ringing the bell on his own.
- Potty Pads. For some dog owners – particularly those in apartments or with mobility issues – potty pads are an option for housetraining. Place the potty pad in a familiar area that’s easily accessible at all times and keep it there to avoid confusion. When it’s time for your dog to relieve himself, take him to the pad and encourage him to go using positive reinforcement.
Quick Potty Training Tips:
- Keep your puppy on a regular feeding schedule and remove any leftover food between meals. This will make his bathroom schedule more predictable, which can be helpful in avoiding accidents.
- Use consistent language with your dog every time you take them outside to potty so that they associate the command with the action.
- Make sure your puppy isn’t spending time alone or sneaking off into another room where he could have an accident. You can even keep him on a long leash while in the house to help you keep an eye on him.
- Take your puppy out to potty every morning and then once every 30 minutes to an hour after that when you’re first getting started.
- When taking your puppy outside, lead him to the same spot each time. His sense of smell will help him remember where he’s supposed to go.
- When your puppy takes care of his business in the right place, make sure to praise him or give him a treat to reinforce the good behavior.
Remember, when you’re housetraining a dog, you’re also retraining yourself and your family to adopt good habits. You have to be vigilant, consistent and timely to help enforce great behaviors with your new dog.