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  • Writer's pictureMargaret Trudrung

Expert Tips for House Training Your New Puppy

Housetraining can be one of the most frustrating challenges for new puppy owners. Fortunately, our dog training experts at Discovery K9 have put together these tips to make housetraining your puppy a breeze!

Establish a routine

Establishing a routine is an essential element of successful house training. Puppies and dogs new to the home do not have reliable bladder control or the ability to be left unsupervised without accidents, so it is up to you to create a routine that sets your best friend up for success! The more consistent you are, the more successful your dog will be! Here are some suggestions for establishing a routine:

  • Develop a consistent schedule for meals and breaks.

  • Don't allow your dog to have a "free choice" feeding schedule. Instead, feed your puppy his meals at the same time each day. Give him 15 minutes to eat, and then pick the bowl even if he hasn't finished! He will quickly learn to eat in the allotted time.

  • Your dog should have access to clean water during the day but consider picking up the water at least an hour before bedtime.

  • Only by controlling when and how much your dog eats can you predict when they need to eliminate and get them on a schedule.

Supervision and Crate Training

If your dog has an "accident" inside, this will set your training back! To prevent accidents, your dog or puppy should never be unsupervised in the home. During this time, you can use baby gates, close doors to rooms you aren't using, or even keep your puppy on a leash so you can supervise them. Anytime your puppy is free in the home, you must be ready to take him outside if he starts to eliminate.

You won't be able to watch your puppy 100% of the time; this is an excellent opportunity to utilize a crate! Introduced correctly, your puppy will love his crate and see it as a "safe space." In addition, most puppies instinctually don't want to soil in their crates, making it an invaluable tool during housebreaking.

Consistency is Key

To succeed with housebreaking or any new training skill, you should understand that your behavior is the key to your dog's success. You must be consistent with your behavior to see positive changes in your dog's behavior. It takes time for puppies to develop control over their bladder. They will need frequent "breaks" and time to gain bladder control. Give your puppy a chance to eliminate after any of the following:

  • Immediately after waking

  • After any "play" sessions or excitement

  • After drinking large amounts of water

  • Immediately after eating

  • If he hasn't been out for more than an hour

  • Anytime the puppy looks restless or shows sniffing behavior.

If you have an older dog new to housetraining, it is best to follow the guidelines just like you would for a puppy!

Tips for Success

  • Go outside with your puppy rather than letting him go outside alone.

  • Take your puppy to the same area of the yard each time.

  • Praise your dog for eliminating in the correct place! Remember, rewarding good behavior will increase the likelihood of that behavior happening again.

  • Be mindful that your praise doesn’t interrupt or startle your puppy.

  • Teach your puppy to potty on cue! Give your dog the command as he is eliminating so he begins associating the word with using the bathroom. You can use any word you want as long as you are consistent.

  • If you bring the dog outside and think he needs to potty, but he doesn't, take him inside, crate him for another 10-15 minutes, and then try again. Please don't assume he didn't need to go and let him loose in the house without supervision.

Accidents Happen

No puppy or person is perfect, and accidents will happen. What's important is how you react!

  • If you can catch your dog in the act, use your voice "No!" or "Uh-Uh!" to distract the dog, then immediately take them to an appropriate place to break. Remember to praise and treat when your dog makes the right choice!

  • NEVER punish your dog or rub his nose in the mess if he has an accident; this is antiquated advice and counterproductive.

  • If your dog has an accident in the house, it's because he can't hold his bladder for that long. So, give him more frequent breaks until he has better bladder control.

  • Don't expect your puppy to be fully housetrained until he is AT LEAST 6 months old.

  • Finally, another helpful method is to have a rolled-up newspaper ready. Then, if your dog has an accident, pick up the newspaper and hit yourself while saying, "I forgot to watch my dog!" Remember, housetraining accidents are your mistake, not the dogs!

If you are struggling with housebreaking issues or would like additional information, our trainers are here to help! Call or text 931.703.7787 or visit for more information about our dog training services.

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