13 Housebreaking Rules

Housebreaking can be a frustrating event for both you and your puppy. Here are some basic training techniques that will help you establish a smooth and speedy house training process.

  1. Crate Training: Puppies like to have their own space, so it is usually a good idea to plan for keeping your puppy in a crate during the early months. Crate training will help to eliminate accidents in the house. You will want to allow your puppy only enough room in the crate to lie down, turn around, and stand up. This will prevent your puppy from having enough room to establish a potty area and a living area in the crate.
  2. Food: Monitor all food intakes and do not allow your puppy to graze. Grazing, or allowing the puppy to eat food at any and all times, leads to unpredictable elimination habits. Be sure you know when your puppy is eating and drinking and always remember, what goes in must come out! Limit eating time to 15 minutes, and then pick up the food.
  3. Water: Keep an empty water bowl on the floor. When your puppy goes to the bowl, fill it with water and let your puppy drink as much as your puppy drinks normally. Then empty the bowl and replace it on the floor. This helps you manage how much water the puppy is drinking and how long it takes for it to come out. Puppies should always have water in the bowl when eating meals.
  4. Potty Time: After eating, puppies may take up to 30 minutes to go to the bathroom. Movement helps speed up this process, so take your puppy out for a walk or play with your puppy to establish a regular elimination schedule.
  5. Bathrooms: Take your puppy out the same door every time. When puppies are taken to the same door each time to eliminate, they learn where they are supposed to go to tell you when it is time to “go to the bathroom.”
  6. Puppy’s Potty Area: Take your puppy to the same spot in the yard to help your dog understand why you are outside. Give them a command such as “hurry up,” or “Go Potty,” and use the same command every time.
  7. Big Treats: Big treats such as rawhides or big edible bones should be considered to be a meal. Take your pup out after they finish a treat.
  8. Timing: While taking pups out every 30 minutes is often recommended in the earliest weeks, it is not recommended for too many days. Try to expand that time between early on, in the first few days. This helps your puppies bladder get stronger and your puppy learns to hold it longer.
  9. Napping: In addition to after every meal, always take your puppy out after a long nap and after your puppy has spent time in the crate.
  10. Watching: Watch your puppy closely and do not give your puppy a chance to sneak off to go to the bathroom in the house. If you cannot watch your puppy, put the puppy in the crate until you are available to be there to watch for the signals your puppy will give when asking to go outside.
  11. Corrections: Never correct a puppy unless you catch them in the act. Rubbing puppies faces in their accidents after the fact does not teach themwhat they did wrong.
  12. Taking Care of Business: Allow your puppy to take care of business before playtime. This will help your puppy learn, “If I go in the right place, then I get to have fun!”
  13. Praise, Praise, and more Praise!!!: Make sure to praise your puppy each and every time they go to the bathroom outside. You do not have to give your puppy a treat, as frequent treats leads to further training challenges and you may lead to health problems later on. Remember that enthusiastic “hands-on-praise” is best.

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