The Joy of Housetraining

If there’s one word that takes the wind out of a new Puppy Parent’s sails, it’s “housetraining”. The dreaded process during which Puppy makes numerous“mistakes” in your house and you find yourself wishing you had bought stock in paper towels and antibacterial spray, right?


Not necessarily! Teaching your puppy where and when to relieve himself can go smoothly if you remember that consistency and supervision are key when raising a puppy. Here’s how to apply these to housetraining:


Where to Go

Pick a spot in your yard that is accessible, easy to clean, and away from foot-paths and kids’ play areas. Keep future landscaping projects or puppy containment options in mind so you don’t settle on a location now that may need to be changed in six months. Think proactively.


When it’s time for Puppy to go potty, lead him on leash to his designated potty spot. Allow him to sniff around a bit without wandering too far, and say, “Go Potty, Good Potty” as business gets done. Afterwards, praise lavishly and play.


It takes about three weeks of consistent use of the same bathroom area to create a habit. If you allow your puppy off leash in your yard prior to that habit being formed, don’t be surprised if he does his business elsewhere. If that happens, do not scold or punish him; just go back to his spot the next time (and the next!).


When to Go

Your puppy will rely on you to create a routine. She will need to go out as soon as she gets up in the morning and again about 20-30 minutes after breakfast (and every other meal). If she hasn’t gone out, she needs to be in her crate or very closely supervised.


Continue this routine throughout the day, bringing her out every 2-3 hours when she is under 10 weeks old, and every 3-4 hours until 14 weeks. At 16 weeks, Puppy should really be getting the hang of it and be able to “hold it” for five hours or more.


Accidents Happen!

An “accident” in the house during housetraining isn’t the puppy’s fault; it’s up to you, his family, to set him up for success. If a mistake does occur, do not scold your puppy as he will not understand what he’s done wrong and may attempt to hold or hide future bathroom attempts. If you catch him in the act, clap loudly to startle and scoop him up to finish his business outside in his designated spot. Praise him for a job well done!