Here are some tips that will make housetraining faster and easier. It works on puppies or dogs. Even an adult dog can be put on this program and successfully be housebroken.
- You can train a dog to us a specific area of the yard by keeping your pup on a leash every time you go out, and go directly to the designated part of the yard. Later, he’ll only use that part of the yard. This lets you enjoy your yard without worry about stepping on something.
- Take the puppy outside after he eats, sleeps, plays/exercises, or comes out of the crate.
- Praise him verbally and with a pat when he does his business. Then go immediately inside. This will show him the purpose of going outside. I would not recommend leaving the dog out in the yard all day, because it confuses housetraining.
- For the first two to three days — while you’re home with him — put the puppy in his crate with something to chew so that he associates the crate with good things. Let him stay in the crate for an hour, then take him out and immediately go outside. Do this twice or three times per day.
- When you have to go back to work, make sure the puppy is empty (you may have to go for a walk to assure that he empties out), then put him in his crate with something to do (chew bone, etc.).
A puppy can be expected to “hold it” for the number of hours that matches his age in months. So a four-month-old puppy can only be expected to hold it for four hours. This is true up to about 10 hours. That’s as long as any dog should be expected to hold it.
- Dogs sometimes pick up from us that there’s something wrong with being left alone because of the way we act when we leave and when we return. Do not say “goodbye” to him or change your voice or make a fuss when you leave the house. Just leave. When you come home, again, don’t do the high-pitched, excited voice or the overdone affection (until after you both come back inside). When you walk in the door, calmly take the puppy outside before you do anything else. Your whole attitude should be, “See? There’s nothing to it.”
- Many people think that a dog is housebroken when he comes to you to ask to be let out, or scratches at the door. Don’t put the burden on your dog. Take him out on a regular schedule and he’ll know that there will be an opportunity to go soon. This will help him to hold it until the next potty break. Take him out first thing in the morning, after every meal, right before bed, and anytime you come home, no matter how long or short a time you’ve been gone. He needs to know that when you walk through that door, he’s going out.
- If a dog is having diarrhea, additional breaks might be needed. If you see your pup hanging around the door, let him out.
- If you take him out on a schedule, you’ll learn when he pees and when he poops. If you’re taking your morning break and he hasn’t pooped like he ususally does, you know that he’ll need to go while you’re at work. In this case, maybe a walk would give the results you need. Paying attention to what’s normal will help prevent a situation where he’s locked in his crate and half an hour later, he needs to go.
- If you let the dog sleep in your bed, be aware that when he wakes up and moves around during the night, he may need to go out. If you have him in a crate, you may have to set the alarm and take him out. If he cries at night, cover the crate with a blanket.
- If he soils the crate, don’t punish. Just take him out, then clean it up and continue with the routine. Being confined in a stinky crate is enough of a lesson for him.
- After a while (at age 9-12 months), you may not need the crate as much, and you can start letting him have the run of the house while you’re gone. If he makes a mess, go back to the crate for 3 months before trying again. By age 1 (or before), he should be trustworthy in the house while you’re gone. But keep the crate for him so he can go to his private place whenever he wishes.
If you have a doggie door, the procedure is the same, until he learns to go out by himself. But you should still be there early on to praise him and to train him to go in a certain part of the yard.
I’ve heard trainers suggest giving a cookie when the dog pees or poops. I don’t like this idea because then the dog becomes focused on the treat. Praise the dog and immediately go back inside. This will show the dog why you’re out there. This applies to yard training, of course. If you live in an apartment, you’ll just walk your dog on a schedule that he can count on.