When it comes to housetraining a puppy you really have to focus on managing your puppy between potty breaks. You have to keep a very close eye on your puppy at all times when loose in the house. This can be a very complicated task. Since we are very busy with a multitude of tasks housetraining can be a very challenging time for a lot of puppy owners. To make this time a little easier for you here are a few pointers.
Crate your puppy.
If you are not able to keep a close eye on your puppy then this is the time to use the crate. It is ok to put your puppy in his crate while you go shower or make dinner. Make sure you take the puppy outside for a pee break even if he doesn’t have to go. Then give him his high-value item when you put him in his crate. This can be a treat-stuffed toy or a chewy. This will keep him busy mentally while you are busy. Don’t feel bad if your puppy seems like he is in his crate a lot. As long as he is getting lots of pee breaks, training and exercise out of the crate between crate times he will be just fine. To learn about Cratetraining check out my article Cratetraining 101.
Take him out to pee often.
Puppies have very underdeveloped bladders. When housetraining your puppy you can help him out by taking him out frequently. If he has been busy playing take him out every 30 mins or so. If he is hanging out in his crate take him out every 2-4 hours. Overnight can be more like 3-4 hours. However, every dog is different. If your dog is drinking a lot of water he could require more frequent potty breaks. If your vet has ok’d you take your puppy out in public you can take your dog for leashed walks. This is a good way to completely empty your puppies bladder. Just make sure your puppy has had all three of his puppy vaccinations first.
If you work full time you might need to hire a dog walker or pet sitter to come let your puppy out once or twice a day. If you have family or friends available that could help that is also a good option. Another option would be to enroll your puppy in a doggy daycare. You could even utilize all of these options to make sure your bases are covered.
Reward the good.
If your puppy does his business outside successfully reward your puppy. This will send a clear message to your puppy that doing his business outside is good. You can reward your puppy with a high-value treat or a game/toy. Or both. Give your puppy lots and lots of loving for doing his business outside. If your puppy has an accident in the house simply scurry him outside. There is no need to do anything else. The rush of being shoved outside mid-pee is enough of a message that it is bad. If your puppy finishes his business outside reward him. Even if you had to scurry him out there in the first place. This tip will make the bathroom rules for your puppy very clear. Clear rules is what makes housetraining faster and with fewer frustrations. If your puppy is getting confused take a step back and try to figure out what you could be doing to confuse him. Multiple people taking care of the puppy? Make sure everyone is following the same protocol. Otherwise the puppy will get confused and it will take longer to housetrain the puppy.
My puppy pees on the floor immediately after coming in from outside.
This is a sign that your puppy is confused. He just doesn’t understand what is required of him. To rectify this bring your puppy inside on a leash. Keep the leash on your puppy and hold onto the other end of the leash. If your puppy attempts to do his business inside take him outside immediately. Repeat this as frequently as you need to. Doing this will help your puppy to figure out the rules. Only give your puppy freedom inside the house if he is doing better about not going in the house. As your puppy improves slowly increase the level of freedom your puppy gets.
Setbacks. We all have them.
If your puppy is doing very very well and then all of a sudden he is having accidents everywhere, take a step back. Everyone has setbacks. Even the dog. If you have to take a step back or even go all the way to the beginning again then do so. Remember, this isn’t a forever thing. This is a just for now. I have found from experience that when you take a step back and retrain something with your puppy that behavior becomes even stronger. So, instead of looking at setbacks as annoying or frustrating, think of them as a stepping stone. A stepping stone to a dog who has solid housetraining skills.
Housetraining is not a very easy task. However, it is necessary. The younger your dog is when you housetrain them, the easier it is for them to catch on. This means that if you are housetraining a 4-year-old dog who has never lived in a house before be prepared. The process is the same but it might take a little longer for your dog to figure it out. When it comes to housetraining the biggest thing I can say is manage your puppy well and be patient.