House Training 101

House training a puppy can be quite a project!  If you have ever had to clean up behind a puppy who has not yet been house-trained, you know how preferable it is to get your baby house-trained as possible.  One more pee spot to clean-up isn't the end of the world, but let's get that puppy pottying outside!

     How old is your puppy?  If your puppy is at least 12 weeks of age, he should have developed bladder and bowel control, or enough at least to begin house training.  Much like potty training a toddler, you have to be sure they are physically developed enough and as ready as you are to begin the process.  It's never too soon to start encouraging your puppy to go outside, but it may be too soon to expect your puppy to potty only outside before 12 weeks.  Keep this in mind while training!

     Also, the general rule of thumb for puppies is that a puppy can wait one hour to potty for each month of age - for example, a four month old puppy can only wait four hours maximum.  Getting to know your puppy's habits can be very helpful as well.  Know how long he can last without going outside, and get to know what his indicators are.  Circling, sniffing, or whining means you'll want to grab your dog and head outside.  You'll want to give your dog every opportunity to eliminate outside appropriately.

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     Begin by introducing a routine to your puppy's daily life.  Take him outside first thing in the morning, shortly after every meal, after naps, after playtime, and just before bed.  Reward your dog with a small treat or a very excited "good boy!" when he eliminates outside.

     If your puppy begins to potty inside while you are watching, clap your hands sharply or make any noise to startle him.  Immediately take him outside to finish, and reward him when he goes.  if you find an accident inside the house from earlier, however, do not try to punish him for it; your puppy will not associate the punishment with the accident.  Be sure to clean up all accidents as well to keep your dog from returning to the same spot.

Perhaps the  most important part of the process is to take your puppy outside as frequently as possible to help encourage appropriate elimination.  Supervise your puppy when inside the house, and when unsupervised, consider restricting the puppy's access to the full house.  It can help to crate train simultaneously as dogs really do not want to potty inside of the crate. 

Remember, the more effort you put into helping your puppy learn to potty outside, the faster he will be house trained! Good luck!