Your family has been blessed with a cute, cuddly new puppy. Unfortunately new puppies do not usually arrive housebroken. House training your new puppy can be easy and effective if you dedicate the necessary time, patience and consistency. A successful plan includes supervision, confinement and encouragement.

START AT THE IDEAL AGE.The best time to begin housebreaking a puppy is when it is 7 ½ to 8 ½ weeks old. At this age, you can teach the puppy where to eliminate before it has established its own preferences. Don’t worry if your puppy is older when you start; it will still learn; though it may take a little longer. Even an adult dog can be housebroken.

TAKE YOUR PUPPY OUTDOORS TO ELIMINATE OFTEN. Puppies are usually stimulated to eliminate after eating, drinking, playing and waking from a nap. Learn to be aware of these activities so that you can anticipate their needs and take your puppy out at the right times. You should be taking your pup out every one to two hours. As he grows older and your pup gets the hang of things you can wait longer between outings. Begin to condition your puppy to a command such as “out” as you take him outside. Take your puppy to the same spot every time, previous odors will stimulate him to eliminate. Stay with your pup the whole time. You need to be there to encourage and provide immediate praise for good behavior. Praising after the fact will only confuse your puppy. Mildly praise and encourage him when he starts to sniff around.

USE A KEY PHRASE such as “go potty” as he eliminates. This phrase will help your puppy learn that it is the right time and place to eliminate.

ONCE YOUR PUPPY ELIMINATES OUTDOORS, IMMEDIATELY REWARD HIM. Reward your puppy by giving him praise and or providing a treat. Throw a party! Let him know that he has done a great thing. Your puppy will be proud and happy that he has pleased you and the bond between you and your pup will grow stronger. Remember that you need to give him praise right away. Praise that occurs more than a few seconds afterward will confuse him. You want your puppy to know exactly what he was praised for.

SUPERVISE YOUR PUPPY INDOORS AS WELL AS OUTDOORS. Find a room in your house that allows you to watch him as much as possible or put your puppy on a leash attached to your waist. This will help you catch the puppy if it starts to eliminate indoors. If your puppy is getting ready to eliminate in the house, startle your puppy by stomping your foot or shaking a can of pennies. The puppy will stop what he is doing usually long enough for you to take him outside to go in the right place. Do not hit or yell at your puppy. This will only teach your puppy to go in the house when you are not looking.

PUT YOUR PUPPY IN A CRATE WHEN YOU LEAVE HOME. When you cannot supervise your puppy, leave him in a small puppy proof area such as a crate. A puppy will not usually eliminate in the area where he sleeps. For more info on crates refer to the crate training handout.

DON’T PUNISH AFTER THE FACT. If your puppy has an accident in the house, don’t get excited and don’t rub his nose in it. Punishment is the least effective and most overused approach to training and any correction after the fact will only confuse your puppy. Thoroughly clean the area where the puppy has eliminated in the house. We can recommend safe effective products that remove both odor and stains. It is important to clean the area completely, otherwise your puppy may return to the same spot again.

KEEP YOUR COOL. No puppy has ever been house trained without making a mistake or two. With patience and a consistent approach, your puppy will be as house trained as the rest of your family within 2 to 4 weeks. This same training technique can be used even for an adult dog; however; it may take a little longer. If you and your pup are having house training difficulties call our office and we will be happy to help you.