Best Ways to Housetrain Your New Puppy

Housetraining or housebreaking, a new puppy is by far the most important time investment that you can make in your new family member. A well trained and potty trained puppy becomes a true family member and a beloved and trusted companion. More dogs find their way to pounds and rescue agencies each year because they never mastered pottying in the place deemed appropriate by their owner. You don’t want to consider that option for your cute ball of fur. Before we discuss the ins and outs of house training, its important to understand that puppies have very small bladders and when they have to go, THEY HAVE TO GO. It is so very similar to potty training a two year old. For everyone knows, you don’t tell your two year old daughter who just started using the potty to wait until the commercial comes on to go to the bathroom. It is exactly the same with puppies. A puppy should be started on house training the minute you bring him home. Does he understand what to do? Will he cooperatively pee and poop where you tell him? The answer is simple: Probably not! All first attempts are more or less ways to help you manage the mess, but sooner or later, he will catch on and take some responsibility for his accidents, but not at first.

For house training to be successful, the single most important thing that a new owner must learn to do is observe their puppy. This doesn’t sound very hard; after all, what is more charming to watch than a new puppy! With that said how many puppies get into trouble for leaving little surprises all over the house, chewing their owner’s shoes, or eating interesting things found in the cat’s litter box? Observation is so important-simply being around the puppy is not enough. Puppies are very good at telling us things and that is what we need to notice in order to train. Since we can’t watch a puppy 24/7, we have some options.

First House training Decisions

Two decisions you will need to make before embarking on house training are location and words to use.

First decide where you want the puppy’s bathroom to be. Most choose a location outside, but it could be indoors on puppy pads or even a dog litter box which is useful for those who live in apartments or condos and do not have immediate access to the outdoors. Whichever location you choose, it is important to be consistent. Deciding that your dog should go outdoors, but provide a pad indoors for those times that you can’t take him out sends a confusing message to your dog and makes house training more difficult.

Secondly, it is important with any training to have words to use that the puppy will understand. Just as we teach the word, “sit,” we also need to use a word command for elimination. Decide ahead of time what that will be. Remember you will be using this word or phrase in public, so make sure what you decide to say will be comfortable to you. I like to say, go pee-pee and poop-poop, but I’m a mom and an early childhood educator, so these words are comfortable for me. You might say, “do your business, or go potty, or do your duty,” whatever works for you.

House training/Housebreaking Methods

Restrict the area where puppy is allowed to go. Small rooms with toddler gates work well when you are not directly interacting with your puppy. Alternately, some prefer to use the tether or umbilical method to keep the puppy under observation. This involves attaching one end of a leash to the puppy and the other to you, either to your belt or your wrist. You have the puppy with you at all times, so it is easy to tell if the puppy needs to eliminate. How do you tell? All dogs have body language that can be observed by their humans. A puppy that needs to urinate or defecate will begin to sniff the floor and walk or run in small circles, whine or begin to squat. Any of these signals indicate the puppy is ready to go and should be taken to the designated area.

Scheduling and consistency is very important in potty training your new pup. Young puppies will naturally need to eliminate after certain events:

1. After eating or drinking

2. After playing

3. Upon awaking from sleep

4. At other times, at least every 1 to 2 hours

Arrange your schedule so that you will have time to train your pup. Plan on at least a weekend of nonstop house training! Regular feeding schedules help speed up the process of house training. While it is convenient to provide food all of the time, regular meal times are preferable for putting the puppy on a regular elimination schedule. Water should be available for dogs at all times.

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