One of the most crucial steps in training a new puppy is house training – a.k.a. potty training.
According to the American Kennel Club, house soiling is a common reason dogs end up in shelters. Some humans just don’t have the patience to clean up a stinky mess after a long day.
This is why it is crucial to house train your puppy while he is young. House training teaches him when and where it is appropriate to do his business. It is definitely not an easy task as some breeds can be more difficult to potty train. The key to effective house training is employing positive reinforcement instead of punishment.
So How Do You House Train a puppy?
There are two effective ways to house train a young puppy: crate training and paper training.
The idea of confining a puppy in a crate may sound cruel, but experts highly recommend crate training. Still, dog crates make life easier for many reasons – safety, travel, vet/groomer visits and medical recovery.
Dogs do not like soiling their living space and will seek out a place to eliminate. When they feel the urge to go, they will exhibit signs that they want out of their crate. Bring them out right away! If you let them eliminate inside, they might think that it is acceptable behavior. Do not crate a puppy longer than he can hold his bladder!
If you do not have a yard, paper training can be the ideal option. Through disposable pee pads, the puppy learns to go in an approved spot at home.
Puppy House Training Tips
The first step in house training a puppy is setting up a schedule. You should take the puppy out or to their designated potty area during these times:
- First thing in the morning
- After eating
- After drinking
- After playing indoors
- After a nap
- After chewing a toy or bone
- After spending time in the crate
- Before going to bed at night
What to Do During House Training
· Stick to a feeding schedule.
Whether you are feeding your pup twice or three times a day, give each meal at the same time daily. Dogs naturally eliminate shortly after eating so a consistent feeding schedule will lead to a consistent potty schedule.
· Take the puppy out often.
Puppies under 12 weeks old are still developing the ability to hold it in. Therefore, make it a habit to take them out after eating, drinking or sleeping.
· Choose an appropriate crate.
The size of the crate is extremely important especially for large breeds that grow rapidly. The crate should be large enough for your puppy to lie down, stand up and turn around. But, it should not be too big that they could sleep in one corner and pee or poop in the other. Crates often come with dividers so that you can make it the appropriate size for growing pups. Also, the crate should not be used as punishment but for instances where your pup is unsupervised.
· Spot the signs when they need to go.
Most dogs run around in circles, sniff the floor or whine when they feel the urge to eliminate. Learning to spot these signals will prevent unnecessary accidents in the house.
· Practice positive reinforcement.
The key to effective house training is practicing positive reinforcement. It will teach your puppy that going to the designated bathroom gets rewarded.
Every time your puppy eliminates outside or on the pee pad, give him a reward right away. This can be verbal praise, a pat on the head, dog treats or his favorite toy. The reward should be immediate so that he associates it with eliminating in the right place.
What NOT to do during house training
- Following an erratic schedule
Consistency is key when house training a young puppy. Failing to stick to a routine of feeding and potty breaks can create confusion for the puppy. This could lead to more accidents in the house and increasing frustration for the household.
- Crate training with potty pads inside crate
Paper training should only be outside of the crate. Some owners who live in high-rise apartments will use the puppy pads for convenience. As well, some pups are reluctant to go outside during brutal winters. Disposable pee pads can be a back up as well as training to eliminate outside if properly trained.
- Punishing your dog after a potty accident
Punishment is never an effective method for house training. Some people may feel that hitting dogs with a newspaper or rubbing the pup’s face in their poop is effective. These outdated techniques to “teach pups a lesson” only creates fear instead of distinguishing right from wrong. Remember that house training takes patience – both for you and your puppy.
Bringing a new puppy home is a big responsibility and house training is part of the job. Stick to a schedule and constantly supervise your puppy as you would a human child. The more frequently your puppy is allowed outside with supervision, the more quickly he will learn where to go. Keep your pup on a leash while outside so you can promptly reward him for good behavior.
If you need help with house training a puppy, talk to Kimberly at Positive Paws. We offer customized in-home training for your specific needs.