Dogs, and especially puppies, should be taught where the right place for relieving themselves is when they come to live with you. Unfortunately, just like babies, they don’t come already housebroken. That will be your delightful job. Here are a few tips to help your potty training efforts go more smoothly.
Now, we have all heard terrible stories about the perils of housebreaking a puppy. You may get frustrated every once in a while, but do your best not to let it get in the way of your primary goal – keeping puppy from pooing and peeing all over the house. When it comes to being consistent, this is where many dog owners have troubles.
When you take puppy outside to do his business, take the same route; use the same commands and praise him when he starts to go and when he finishes. Some owners like to stand indoors, especially when it is raining or very cold. The problem with that method is that a puppy might associate going to the bathroom with being left outside alone. This can set you up to find smelly “presents” all over the house. Your dog will either use the bathroom in his crate or elsewhere so he doesn’t have to go outdoors.
Experts give a little formula for trying to housebreak your puppy. The number of hours that a puppy should be able to go without using the bathroom is equal to their age (in months) plus one. A three-month old puppy should be able to last four hours at a stretch.
Take puppy outdoors to use the bathroom: when he wakes, every hour or so throughout the day and at night. Keep him on the leash so you won’t have to chase him if he gets distracted by any activity outside. Choose a command word that will mean “it is time to go to the bathroom.” When puppy chooses his spot, use that command in a gentle voice until he begins to urinate. Some dogs will poop afterwards, so keep repeating the command until he is done with that too; then, praise him for a job well done!
There will be accidents, but use them as teaching tools to teach puppy what not to do. Catch him in the act if you can. Disciplining a puppy when you find their “package” will confuse them. They will think that they are in trouble for whatever they are doing at the moment instead of something they did twenty minutes ago.
If you catch puppy in the act, your voice command will usually stop him in the middle. If you can catch him urinating, you’ll avoid getting a bigger mess. Pick him up and take him out to the bathroom spot. Use the bathroom command to hopefully get him to finish his business. Then, praise him like normal.
Housebreaking can be both rewarding and… probably fun for the first few times it does work! But, once puppy gets the hang of things you can breathe a bit easier (well, through the mouth at any rate).