Housebreaking is easiest and you can expect greatest success when you have a routine and you’re consistent. Every time they go potty, it’s solidifying in their brain where they should go so, it’s your job to make sure they’re going where you want them to!
When you first get your puppy, plan on taking it outside to the same spot every 2 hours during the day. Using the same spot will help them to associate quicker where you want them to go. They will also need to go out after eating, a rambunctious play time inside, or when they wake up from a nap.
When you first get your puppy, expect to get up with them if they wake up and cry in the middle of the night for the first few weeks. Your goal is to sleep through the night so, you don’t have to wake them up to go out every 2 hours but, be ready to take them right out and avoid an accident if they wake up and whine to go out. To make less potty trips at night, you can put water up a few hours before bedtime.
Potty on command
When they go potty, use the same word or phrase (i.e. “go potty”, or “get busy”, etc.) and soon they will associate that word with the action of going potty. Resist the urge to say that word to get them to go potty early on, for now you’re only training and that word has to be said when they’re actually doing it so they associate it correctly. When they’re older, then the word can be used to focus them outside and cue them in to doing their business. When they potty outside, give them lots of praise and a treat.
What to do when they have accidents
If you see them going potty inside, you can say “no!”, quickly pick them up and take them outside to their potty spot. If they start going potty in a particular spot inside, remove than option. Either by picking up the rug they’re going on, or closing the door to the room they like to go in, etc. If you find an accident in the house but didn’t catch the puppy in the act, just clean it up without saying anything. Scolding or punishing your puppy after the fact will only confuse your puppy.
How much do I need to watch them?
Well, the key to success is watching them and being consistent in taking them out. As you watch your puppy’s body language (inside and out) you’ll learn to recognize what they do just before they have to go potty. Knowing your puppy this well is helpful so you can take them out immediately when you see those signs, before they have an accident inside. Or so you will know when to say your potty command if they’re outside. When you can’t be watching them that closely, put them in their crate where they can still watch you and be a part of things but won’t have the opportunity to go potty in the house while you’re busy.
A crate is a great housebreaking tool to keep your puppy from going potty in the house or chewing things when you’re not home. As they sleep in their crate at night, and if you feed them in their crate, they will really love having their own little spot and you will likely just find them in there on their own if they’re looking for a comfy spot for a nap. Also, if they eat and sleep in their crate, they will naturally not potty in there because dogs do not want to go to the bathroom where they eat and sleep. However, this does not mean you can leave them in there for the entire day. No matter how much a puppy does not want to go potty in their crate, their bladder control is not developed yet to be able to hold it as long as an adult dog. When your pup is young, when letting it out of the crate, always carry it to the door to go potty outside. Otherwise he/she may not be able to hold it all the way to the door and may just go potty as soon as they’re out of the crate.
When you’re going through housebreaking a puppy, it may seem like you have your coat and shoes more on than off. But, if you discipline yourself to be consistent in taking your puppy out rain or shine, hot or cold, day or night, you’ll be through the housebreaking stage much, much faster. Before you know it, you’ll be reaping the benefits of a cute, furry, housebroken family member.
Remember, stay patient and consistent.