HOUSE BREAKING A PUPPY: ALL YOU NEED IS PATIENCE, LOVE… AND TREATS!
With proper supervision, your puppy can be fully house trained within four weeks. You can handle that! The key is close monitoring and consistency. If the process starts to drag on despite your best efforts, contact your veterinary clinic. Our team is here to help.
TEACHING YOUR PUPPY TO ELIMINATE OUTDOORS: GETTING STARTED
Before you start house training your pup, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Dogs don’t usually eliminate near where they eat, drink, or sleep
- They tend to urinate after they play, eat, and wake up
- Bladder and bowel control
- During the day, the time (in hours) your puppy can hold it in = their age in months + 1
- At night, they can manage 6 to 8 hours by the age of 4 months
HOUSE TRAINING YOUR PUPPY: INDOORS OR OUT?
Outdoors—no question about it. Why? Because indoor house training is not nearly as straightforward. Outdoor training sends the clear message that your puppy should be doing their business outside, not inside.
If you do choose to train them indoors, create a proper elimination area that:
- Is at least 4 times the size of your puppy now—or once fully grown
- Has an inviting texture like quilting, carpeting, or grass
- Is a good distance away from where your dog sleeps, eats, or drinks
- Is always clean
Whether you choose to train your pup to pee inside or out, to prevent accidents and confusion you should:
- Be consistent
- Control your puppy’s environment
- Follow our recommendations below
HOW TO POTTY TRAIN A PUPPY:
Take your puppy out at the first sign they need to go. These signs may include:
- Spinning in circles
- Going to the door
Learn to recognize your puppy’s signs.
Keep a close eye on your puppy at all times. That means in the house AND when you take them out. Tether them to your waist if need be. If you have to leave the house for a while or tethering them doesn’t work, isolate your puppy in an enclosed area like their crate or a separate room.
Not sure how to properly use a crate? Read our “Crate training” article.
TAKE THEM OUT OFTEN
Put your puppy on a leash and take them out after every:
- Sleep session
- Play time
Once outside, walk your puppy around a little and then stop. Give them time to sniff the ground first and then empty their bladder completely. Then move to another spot to encourage them to defecate. Why? Because dogs tend to prefer to pee and poop in different places. Always put your puppy on a leash when you take them out. Otherwise they might get distracted (chasing leaves, rolling in the grass, etc.) and forget to go!
If you’re house training your puppy indoors, walk them over to the designated elimination area.
Quick note: As you’ll read in the next section, always bring a treat with you when you take your puppy out or to the elimination area.
Once your puppy has done their business, it’s time for a reward. Give it to them right away—don’t wait until you’re back inside. Make sure it’s a treat they love, and use it only when puppers goes in the right spot. That way, they’ll learn to associate this important behaviour with a special reward.
Our tip: Place a bag of treats by the door you use to go outside or leave one in your coat pocket so you’re never empty-handed.
DON’T PUNISH YOUR PET!
If your puppy has an accident, don’t punish them. You don’t want them to associate going to the bathroom near you with punishment. It could further complicate the potty-training process. A puppy that fears punishment may:
- Hide when they have to go
- Avoid doing their business near you when outside on a leash
Focus on the two Ps of puppy potty training: patience and positive reinforcement!
If your dog has an accident in the house, spot clean with a mild, ammonia-free soap and then apply an odour eliminator like KOE® or Uri-Clean®.
Spend at least 30 minutes outside with your puppy so they can relieve themselves completely before bedtime.
And try not to give them any food or water starting about an hour before bed unless they’ve been physically active and need to hydrate.
To make sure the house training progresses and you both get a good night’s sleep:
- Isolate and confine your puppy in a crate or a separate room at night
- If they bark or drop any other hints, take them outside—but only once!
- Wait for them to do their business before going back in
- Put them back in their crate/room
- Sleep soundly and ignore them for the rest of the night!
If you use a crate or enclosure to confine your puppy, make sure it’s the right size. Doggy should have enough room to lie all the way down, but no more.
Never leave your puppy alone or isolated for longer than they can control their bladder and bowels.
Remember: You can expect them to hold their bladder and bowels for 1 hour per month of age, plus 1.
If there’s no other option, set up a temporary elimination area inside their enclosure or crate.
FOOD AND WATER
To facilitate the potty-training process, always give food and water:
- At set times
- In your presence
- A few times a day, based on your schedule
And while your puppy is still in training, don’t leave water out for them at night or while you’re away except:
- If they have a medical condition requiring access to water at all times
- In special circumstances, like a heat wave