Housetraining Your Puppy

Housetraining a puppy can seem like a challenge, but with these simple directions you can start your puppy off right - and keep your home smelling fresh. Most puppies will make a mistake before they are housetrained so be prepared with an enzymatic cleaner made for cleaning up pet messes. Not sure what product to choose? Stop into our clinic store!

Puppies instinctively know they shouldn't soil their sleeping space. Teaching your puppy to enjoy sleeping in a kennel is important to successful housetraining. Begin training your puppy right away that a kennel is a safe and comfortable place. You can give your puppy her treats in her kennel. You can feed her meals in the kennel. Always leave a safe chew or interactive toy for her. Puppies soon learn to go into their kennels on command - or on their own!

When you need to leave your puppy in her kennel for a little while, she will probably cry, whine or bark at first. If you go give her attention or let her out, you have taught her that her crying or barking gets her what she wants! You would have trained her to bark in her kennel! Instead, have treats ready and wait for her to be quiet. The moment she is quiet, praise her and give her treats. She will quickly learn that staying quiet in her kennel earns rewards.

Walk your puppy safely. A simple nylon or leather collar, fit snugly so that it does not slip off, is appropriate for puppies. Bring treats with you! Stay with your puppy so that you can reward him every time he eliminates outdoors.

Take your puppy outside to potty every time:

  • Your puppy eats. Puppies will poop about 10 minutes after they eat.
  • Your puppy drinks.
  • Your puppy wakes up from a nap.
  • Your puppy plays.

Yes, you will be walking your puppy often, but this virtually eliminates the possibility of your puppy having an "accident" in the house! Keeping a schedule for your puppy - including meal and water times - helps with housetraining and in avoiding behavior problems.

Puppies can be sneaky! If you suddenly realize it is quiet and you don't see your puppy, it's safe to assume he has found someplace to leave a "present" for you. To avoid these accidents, we recommend you keep your puppy under touch supervision. Touch supervision means that at any moment you can reach out and touch your puppy. This can be difficult with rambunctious little ones, so keeping your puppy on a leash indoors will prevent those accidents. If you aren't able to focus on your puppy, it is time for him to be in a kennel.

Puppies are texture sensitive. Once they learn to potty on a surface (dirt, grass, tile, newspaper, carpet, etc), it can be difficult to teach them to go on another surface. For this reason, we recommend not using 'puppy pads' or newspaper for young puppies.

If your puppy has an "accident" in your house:

  • If you catch her in the act, immediately correct her gently by saying "No!" and touching her on the nose, and immediately take her outside to finish. When you bring her inside, put her in her crate so you can clean up without interruption.
  • If you find a mess, leave your puppy alone and clean it up. Bringing her back to the spot will confuse her and punishing her for it will only make her fear you. If you find a mess, take it as a reminder that you need to supervise your puppy better. Try putting her on a leash again indoors.
  • To clean a mess: Pick up or blot up the mess and use an enzymatic cleaner made specifically for cleaning up pet spots. Follow the directions carefully and be particularly ruthless when cleaning carpet (and the padding beneath).

Most puppies aren't housetrained in a few days - or weeks. Beyond training your puppy to potty only outside, your puppy must learn to leave your things (like shoes and garbage cans) alone. Keeping your puppy closely supervised gives you many opportunities to praise her for good behavior.

If you have followed these instructions and you're still struggling to housetrain your puppy, bring your puppy in for a check-up. There are health conditions that can cause difficulty in housetraining!

Posted on September 29, 2011 >> Article Archive