Housebreaking

The key to housebreaking a puppy is to watch them at all times and look for the signs that they need to go out which include sniffing while walking quickly, circling, and squatting.  A puppy will always need to go after they’ve woken up, often shortly after they’ve eaten or drank, and periodically throughout the day.  If your puppy is used to eliminating on the artificial turf or a pee pad, if you place it by the door to the outside you will notice them run to the pad when they need to eliminate and then you can quickly take them outside before they go.

 

If you take your puppy outside and they go, reward them with praise and/or a treat!  If not, take them back inside and continue to watch their behaviour.  If you don’t have a yard and must take your puppy out for walks to eliminate, don’t stop the walk and return home as soon as they have eliminated or they may hold it for longer to try to extend the walk next time!

 

Caught your puppy in the act of eliminating indoors?  Do not scold them or make a fuss but whisk them outside immediately.  Yelling at your puppy for eliminating indoors doesn’t teach the puppy that doing to is bad, it teaches the puppy that eliminating in front of you is the problem and they will likely hide from you to eliminate inside.  And if they believe that peeing or pooping in front of you is bad, how can you expect them to do it in front of you outside?

 

What happens when you can’t watch your puppy?  They should either be in their crate or kennel, a pen, or a puppy-safe room.  A puppy can hold their bladder one hour for every month of age (longer at night) so when they are quite little they can only be left in a crate or kennel for 2-3 hours before they have to go.  If they must be left for longer than that, a pen or room is preferable as they can have a bed, pee pad, a distraction toy, and water.  Puppies usually do not eliminate where they sleep, but if they are forced to be in a kennel for too long they will pee the bed and if this happens too often they can become accustomed to it and it will be harder to housebreak them.

 

Though they may be able to hold it overnight, they will have to go immediately after they wake up, even if it is before you do!  If you are crate training your puppy (highly recommended as it speeds up the housebreaking process), they may whine in the middle of the night when shut in the crate.  If you think they need to potty, take them outside with no talk, no cuddling, and no playing.  Whether they eliminate or not, do not give any praise and immediately go back to the crate.  You will not want the puppy to learn that fun can be had in the middle of the night so you will want to make any nighttime trips outside very boring.

 

Housebreaking takes time and patience!  The more you can watch them and successfully get them to eliminate outside, the faster they will learn.