House Training a Puppy

House training a puppy can be a frustrating task but here are a few tips to make it easier.  Its never too early to get started and I suggest getting into a good routine from the moment you bring your new puppy home.  I am a big fan of using crates and playpens for puppies and that will certainly make it easier to house train them.  Make the crate small enough that the pup does not do their business on one side of the crate and sleep on the other.  Most crates come with dividers for this.

A good rule of thumb is that your pup should be able to hold it about one hour per month of age (2 month old pup = 2 hrs).  This time frame usually doubles at night but its your job to pick up on your pups needs.  Some can hold it longer and some need to go out every hour.  

The more you take them out the more successful you will be.  Owners who wait for the dog to "tell" them they need to go usually have less success than those who take a proactive approach.  The goal is for your puppy to practice going to the bathroom in the right spot over and over again until it becomes habit.  If they go in the den over and over again that becomes a habit too, so be consistent and vigilant and you will have a house trained pup in no time.

A few good tips:

  • Create a bathroom diary of your dogs business.  This is the easiest way to tune into their rhythms and needs.  Many dogs go potty several times in a short amount of time and a diary will help you pick up on this pattern.
  • Puppies need to go after they eat, play and sleep.
  • You must take your pup out to their "spot" many, many times per day.  I suggest taking young pups (under 3 mos)  out every 90 minutes to two hours.
  • Ignore your dog until after they go and then praise with affection or a treat.
  • Never discipline your dog for accidents.  If you catch them in the act you should quickly take them to where you want them to go.  Clean up accidents with Nature's Miracle so the scent is completely removed and the dog is not attracted back to that spot.
  • Using structure in the form of a crate or playpen to keep tabs on your puppy in between bathroom breaks will make house training easier.  This prevents the pup from wandering into the den and doing their business.  
  • As they get older and can hold it longer you wait longer to take them out.  New pups go out every 90 minutes or so while older pups can be taken out every 2-3 hours.
  • Young pups will need to be taken out 1-2 times during the night. 
  • Routine and consistency are key

Good luck!