When to start housetraining
Start housetraining your puppy the minute you get home. When you bring your new family member home, put your pup (on a leash) down where you'd like him to go and give him about 10 minutes to go to the bathroom. If your puppy goes, be sure to say something like “go potty” as soon as he starts so that you can use that command in the future. When he's done don't forget to praise the heck out of him or her!
Must have: dog crate
Housetraining will be ten times easier if you have a dog crate for your pup! When you're not watching your puppy put him in the crate and because it's a small confined area this will become what they consider their home and will likely not have an accident in there unless it's a real emergency.
The general rule for a dog crate is that they can stand up, turn around and lie down in it easily. However, it shouldn't be so big that they can go potty in the corner and lie down across the crate. The Midwest Life Stages Crate is great because it comes with a divider so you can use it over the course of the dogs life and just adjust the size and you won't have to keep buying bigger crates as he grows. Just make sure you get the appropriate size for how big you estimate your dog will be.
Puppies have small bladders
Since puppies are small, their bladders are as well. You also have to keep in mind that not only are you training your dog to do their business outside, you're also training them how to hold it. If you've ever potty trained a child, you understand that the idea of “holding it” isn't something you're born with, it's a learned behavior.
Because puppies (and smaller dogs, too!) have small bladders and aren't used to holding it, you will have to let them out more frequently at first. My rule of thumb is every two hours is best, at least for the first few days. As your puppy gets good at holding it you can bump it up slowly. Maybe up to 3 hours for a few days, then 4 hours for a few days, etc.
Once your dog is trained he or she should be able to hold it for up 8 hours, depending on the dog. But you can't expect them to hold it all day. Remember to let your dog out before you leave the house and when you get back to prevent accidents!
- Always let your dog out 30 minutes after a meal, after a nap, after a bath and first thing in the morning. These are times when they'll almost always immediately want to relieve themselves.
- Praise is good when they go where you want, when you want. A small (pea sized) treat the second they finish and some petting is great positive reinforcement.
- It's better to prevent than punish. Punishment doesn't work well with dogs. If you can't watch your puppy closely, put him or her in their crate to prevent it from happening in the first place.
- Get used to the signs your dog gives before they go to the bathroom. Most dogs sniff/circle around right before they squat or lift their leg. If you can catch them before the act you can take them outside before they have an accident.
- If your catch your dog having an accident make a loud noise or clap to startle them and get them to stop. Then silently scoop them up and put them outside to go. They may or may not continue, but if they do, praise as usual.
It takes a while to train a puppy, but the more consistent you are, the better the results! Also check out these great tips for basic obedience training!
About the Author: Aileen is a wife, entrepreneur and animal lover. She lives in a small California town, with her husband and a handful of pets, where she spends her days doing freelance blog design. You can find more at Life by Aileen where she talks about chasing dreams and her attempts at a simpler life or follow along on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest.
Featured image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens.