House training your dog is a critical step for a new dog owner. There isn’t much worse than a non-housebroken dog running wild in your home. They can very quickly make your house messy, smelly, and even hazardous to live in.
If your puppy is very young, that might create an even worse situation. Trying to train a puppy to “hold it” while you’re at work can seem impossible and is almost certainly going to be frustrating. It’s hard to know if they’re being naughty, or their bladder is just too small.
However, there is a process to follow for housebreaking. So if you don’t know where to start with house training, don’t worry! It’s not that hard to do. It just requires consistency and patience.
Here is an overview of the steps can follow to house train your dog:
1 - Choose a designated spot for your dog to go potty. This can be a specific area in your yard or a spot on a designated indoor area such as a puppy pad.
2 - Set a regular schedule for taking your dog outside to go potty. Take them out first thing in the morning, after meals, after naps, and before bedtime.
3 - Use a consistent command, such as "go potty," when it's time for your dog to go outside.
4 - Supervise your dog while they are outside and praise them when they go potty in the designated spot.
5 - If your dog has an accident inside, clean it up thoroughly to remove the scent and discourage future accidents in that spot.
6 - Reduce the number of accidents by gradually increasing the intervals between potty breaks.
7 - Be patient. House training can take time and may involve some accidents along the way.
Want to get a little more detail on the potty training process? Let’s dive in.
Pick a Potty Area
When it comes to house training your dog, one important step is choosing a designated spot for them to go potty. This could be a specific area in your yard or a specific spot indoors like a puppy pad. You'll want to consider a few things when choosing this spot.
First, make sure it's easily accessible for your dog and located somewhere they have permission to use. It should also be convenient for you—close enough to the house or a door that you can easily take your dog outside when it's time for them to go. The surface should be easy for your dog to use, like grass or a puppy pad. The spot should also be a good size—big enough for your dog to move around in, but not so big that they get distracted. And finally, try to be consistent with the spot you choose—it will help your dog understand where they should go.
Remember to supervise your dog while they're outside and to praise them when they go in the designated spot—it will help reinforce the behavior and encourage them to continue using that spot.
Set a Schedule
Another important step in house training your dog is setting a regular schedule for taking them outside.
This helps your dog learn when it's time to go and helps prevent accidents inside. It's a good idea to take them out first thing in the morning, after meals, after naps, and before bedtime. These are times when dogs are most likely to need to go, so taking them out at these times can help prevent accidents.
You might also want to consider setting an alarm or timer to remind you to take your dog out at regular intervals. And don't forget to use a consistent command, like 'go potty,' when it's time for your dog to go outside. This will help them understand what you want them to do and make it easier for them to learn
Use Consistent Commands and Queues
Using a consistent command when it's time for your dog to go outside to relieve themselves can be a helpful tool in the house training process. A consistent command helps your dog understand what you want them to do, and it also helps them learn more quickly. When you use the same command every time you take your dog outside, they will start to understand that this is what you want them to do.
It's important to choose a command that is easy for your dog to understand and that you can say clearly and consistently. Some people use commands like "go potty," "do your business," or "hurry up." Choose a command that works for you and your dog, and be sure to use it every time you take your dog outside to go potty.
It's also a good idea to use a consistent positive reinforcement queue when your dog goes potty in the designated spot. This can be in the form of treats, praise, or both. This will help reinforce the behavior and encourage your dog to continue using the designated spot.
Supervise Your Dog
Supervising your dog while they are outside is an important step in the house training process. One of the most effective ways for avoiding accidents inside is to keep your dog on a leash and with you whenever possible while they’re getting the hang of things. This way, you have the best possible chance of noticing when your dog needs to relieve themselves, and you can immediately take them to their spot.
Likewise, when you are outside with your dog, you can watch for signs that they need to go potty and take them to the designated spot when they do. This helps reinforce the behavior and helps your dog understand where they should go potty.
Speaking of accidents, there is no avoiding them. No matter how quickly your dog learns, they are going to make some mistakes early on.
When your dog has an accident inside, it is important to clean it up thoroughly to remove the scent and discourage future accidents in that spot. Dogs have a strong sense of smell, and they may be more likely to go potty in the same spot if they can still smell their own scent there. By cleaning up the accident thoroughly, you can remove the scent and make it less likely that your dog will go potty in that spot again.
Puppies are especially prone to accidents. It’s not entirely their fault. Small bladders can only hold so much before they need to be emptied. So It’s important to have realistic expectations for your very young pups.
For this, you can use the month-plus-one rule. This rule works well as a guideline from the time your puppies weans off of their mother to about 8 months old. Simply take your puppy's age in months and add one to get the maximum number of hours that they should be able to go between bathroom breaks. That works out to about three hours at 2 months old, 4 hours at 3 months, and so on.
There are a few things you can do to clean up an accident effectively:
1- Use a good-quality enzyme cleaner specifically designed to break down and remove pet urine and feces. These cleaners are effective at eliminating odors and preventing your dog from being attracted to the spot again.
2 - Blot up as much of the urine or feces as possible using paper towels or a clean cloth. Be sure to blot, rather than scrub, as scrubbing can spread the mess and make it harder to clean up.
3 - Once you have blotted up as much as possible, spray the area with the enzyme cleaner and let it sit for a few minutes to allow it to work.
4 - Blot the area again with paper towels or a clean cloth to remove the cleaner and any remaining mess.
5 - If the accident was on a carpet or other fabric, you may need to use a carpet cleaner or steam cleaner to remove the stain and odor completely.
By cleaning up accidents thoroughly, you can help prevent future accidents in the same spot and encourage your dog to go potty in the designated area. It's important to be consistent with cleaning up accidents, as it will help your dog understand where they should go potty and prevent them from developing bad habits.
Gradually Increase the Intervals Between Potty Breaks
As your dog becomes more reliable with their house training, you can gradually increase the intervals between potty breaks and decrease the number of accidents. This will help your dog learn to hold their bladder and bowel movements longer, which is important for when they are not able to go outside.
Here are some steps you can follow to gradually increase the intervals between potty breaks:
1 - Start by increasing the intervals between potty breaks by 15-30 minutes. For example, if you are currently taking your dog out every hour, try increasing it to every hour and a half.
2 - If your dog is successful at holding their bladder and bowel movements during this time, gradually increase the intervals by another 15-30 minutes.
3 - Continue increasing the intervals by 15-30 minutes until you reach the desired interval.
Want a baseline on where your pup should be based on their age? Use the month-plus-one rule we outlined about above.
It's important to be consistent and to increase the intervals gradually, as this will help your dog learn more quickly and be more successful. It's also important to monitor your dog for any signs of discomfort or distress, as this may indicate that they are not ready for longer intervals between potty breaks. If you notice any problems, you may need to decrease the intervals until your dog is more reliable.
As you increase the intervals between potty breaks, you may also notice a decrease in the number of accidents. This is normal and is a sign that your dog is learning to hold their bladder and bowel movements longer. It's important to be patient and consistent, as it may take some time for your dog to become fully house trained. If you have any concerns or are having difficulty with the house training process, it's a good idea to consult with a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer.
Be Patient and Consistent
House training a dog can take time and may involve some accidents along the way.
It's important to be patient and consistent with your training efforts, as this will help your dog learn more quickly and be more successful. Accidents are a normal part of the house training process. It's important not to get frustrated or upset with your dog when they have an accident, as this can lead to anxiety and may make the training process more difficult. Instead, stay calm and focus on reinforcing the behavior you want to see.
By being patient and consistent, you can help your dog learn more quickly and be more successful with their house training. Remember to be patient and stay positive, as it may take some time for your dog to become fully house trained.
House training a dog is an important step in raising a happy and well-behaved pet.
By following a consistent schedule, using a consistent command, and reinforcing good behavior, you can help your dog learn to go potty outside or in a designated spot inside the house. It's important to be patient and consistent, as house training can take time and may involve some accidents along the way.
If you are having difficulty with the house training process or have concerns about your dog's behavior, don't hesitate to seek help from a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer. With patience, consistency, and a little bit of effort, you can successfully house train your dog and enjoy a lifetime of companionship and love.