Housebreaking a Pup At Any Age

Whether you’re a first-time puppy parent or your little guy needs a refresher course on the basics of potty training, the rules are generally the same. It’s just a matter of being consistent, paying attention, and following your dog’s instincts about bathroom behavior.

puppytrainingBefore we begin, pat yourself on the back. You are doing an extraordinary thing by trying to train a puppy when you already have so much going on!

Most puppies have to eliminate every 30-45 minutes, unless they are sleeping. Their elimination schedule depends on when they last ate or drank water; rambunctious physical activity; and your personal schedule…this means you have some work ahead of you!

First, you should act as though you’re starting from the beginning of potty training. Regardless of your pup’s age, each situation should be handled the same.

  1. Choose a dedicated potty spot for your pup. If you have a cloth scented with her urine, place it on the ground the first time you take your her out. Scent-marking encourages a dog to go to the bathroom there.
  2. Follow an established routine (see below) and take her to potty after she wakes up in the morning, before and after meals, after playtime, after naps, and at bedtime.
  3. Walk her on leash straight to her potty spot and give the prompt or cue you’ve chosen, such as “do your business” or “go potty”.
  4. If she doesn’t go within 10 minutes, take her back inside, put her in her crate, and try again in about 15 minutes.
  5. When she’s done, praise her enthusiastically and give her a tiny treat.
  6. Between potty breaks, watch for signs she needs to go out — coming to a sudden halt, circling, sniffing in a dedicated manner, or dropping her bottom. If you do see her about to go, distract her and take her to her potty spot as quickly as possible.
  7. Confine her if you can’t watch her.

Here’s a sample schedule:

6a: Bring out to potty area.
6:10a: Breakfast
6:30a: Longer time outside, potty, playtime, socialize in gated kitchen area.
7:30: Bring out to potty area, crate.
10/11a: Bring out to potty area, play, crate.
2/3p: Bring out to potty area, play, crate.
5p: Bring out to potty area.
5:10p: Dinner
5:30p: Longer time outside, potty, playtime, socialize in gated kitchen area. Crate.
7-8p: Bring out to elimination area, Optional play and kitchen time.
10-11p – Bring out to elimination area, Crate for night.

She will likely have accidents in the beginning while she’s getting used to the new schedule. But once the schedule is set, and she can rely on it, you’ll be in great shape.

Happy Training!
Dana