Housetraining, potty training, or housebreaking all refer to one thing: how to get your puppy to go do his ‘business’ outside. Housetraining a puppy takes persistence and patience. Rome, after all, was not built in a day!
A number of things can make life easier and the puppy training process a faster one with hopefully only a few little lapses along the way. Remember, no matter how clever your new pet, he is a baby, and all babies have little mistakes from time to time.
*Disclaimer: The overall training process should be done by people who know what they are doing. If you want to train your puppy on your own, you should be well informed before you begin. The following online program will teach you a ton of useful methods, and we highly recommend it. It’s the training method we use for our own puppies as well.
If you like, you can get the cheat sheet of this post here. Thanks!
What a puppy owner needs to know about housetraining
Housetraining is best from when a puppy is about twelve weeks of age. He has learned a little control over his bladder and bowels. In preparation for the ‘big event’, you need to condition your puppy. The question is, how?
- Firstly, feed him three or four set meals each day.
- Take him to his designated potty spot about fifteen meals after each meal. This teaches him where his toilet is.
- Go with him and wait until he has completed his business.
- Consider putting him on a leash when taken out for potty business. This teaches him you mean business. It is not playtime.
- Besides after meals, take him to potty first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
Why is consistency so important?
Consistency establishes a routine. He starts to learn where his potty area is, and when you expect him to ‘go’. It also makes your life easier as you no longer have to second-guess whether your puppy needs to empty his bowels or bladder.
The mother cleans her puppies and the den. In nature, the mother takes her puppies out to see to their needs as they grow older. You, as the surrogate parent, take over this role. Gentleness, kindness, and reward with a lot of patience are key in teaching your puppy that your home is not his personal toilet.
Consistency with a feeding schedule is important. Small puppies are like little sausage machines. What goes in soon goes out. At first, they also have no control over the bladder and bowels. As with human babies, this is learned over time. Thankfully, unlike human babies, dogs grow and mature much faster.
Never, however, be harsh when he makes mistakes. Rather, focus on rewarding him for a job well done!
So how is your puppy housetrained after seven days?
The easiest method is crate training. If a crate is not available, consider a room or pen in which he can be kept during this time. It is easier cleaning one space than running around the home in a desperate effort to find the spots where he has relieved himself.
Crate training has many advantages:
- It is large enough to be his bed.
- Puppies do not like messing in their bed because they have to lie in it.
- It encourages him to control his bladder and bowels.
- His crate is his safe haven.
- It is a safe place to put him if you need to leave home for a little while.
What does a typical schedule look like?
It takes planning!
A typical schedule starts early morning. It goes something like this:
Step 1: Wake up and take him to go potty.
Step 2: Give him some time to play in the kitchen while you make breakfast.
Step 3: Time for food and water.
Step 5: A little play time before taking him outside (about 15 minutes after a meal. Older puppies
hold it in a little longer – about 30 minutes.
Step 6: Time for his crate (usually until a little before his next feeding time).
Step 7: Time for potty.
Step 8: Playtime in the kitchen.
Step 9: Feeding time.
Step 9: Playtime for a few minutes before taking him to potty.
Step 10: After potty, it is once more crate time. Again, this is until the next meal.
Carry on in this fashion until you, as his human, to go to bed. Remember to make sure he drinks water before his last potty time before bedtime! You do not want your puppy to dehydrate!
A puppy adapts to this routine very quickly, making your life easier and your pet a pleasure to have around. Once again, do remember there will be little slip ups. This is perfectly normal. He is a growing baby.
Potty training the conventional way
The conventional way of potty training is exactly the same as with crate training, except without the crate. It is a method that works just as well except potty training takes longer. Whichever option you choose, the end result is the same.
What do you do you catch him making a ‘mistake’?
No matter how well you keep to your schedule, mistakes do happen. If you see him starting to urinate, move towards him quickly (this might startle him into stopping), pick him up, and take him to his spot. If presented with a defecating incident, on the other hand, allow him to finish and clean it up.
It takes them longer to learn to control their bowel movements. Besides that, picking him up would most likely end with a mess. Let us rather not go there, shall we? Cleaning up after the fact is easier than spreading it around. Better luck next time!
What not to do
If he has had an accident, do not shout at him, hit him, or rub his nose in it. You accomplish nothing besides sitting with a frightened, nervous, badly adjusted dog. Do not teach him to associate potty time with fear!
Man’s best friend comes as a baby. He has grown up to do with you as his parent. Treat him well, encourage him, and reward him for his good behavior and when he gets it right!
Potty training in human babies takes weeks if not months. Your little four-legged pal is a baby only once. His little messes will not last forever.
Just persevere for pups sake!
Before you go clean that mess of yours, have a minute to watch this relative video: