Learning how to housebreak a puppy, before you bring him home, will ensure that life with your new addition is going to be a happy time for everyone.
However, it takes consistency and practice before you and your new puppy will figure out what needs to happen and this means it is impossible to know before you bring him home, what it is going to take. Each puppy, each owner, and each household is different.
The good news is that there has been a lot of people housebreaking new puppies since the dawn of people discovering man’s best friend. You are not alone in what you are trying to do, and even if it may seem like it at times, there are things that can make it easier.
Stop and Think
There are a lot of things that you should not do when trying to housebreak a puppy, even if you are frustrated because it does not seem to be going very well. Puppies are a lot like kids who need potty training.
Both kids and puppies are having to learn a new skill. They are both trying to do what you want for them to do, but it takes time. You do not potty train your child by punishing them. You should not do it with your new puppy either.
Some people use to say that they trained their dog by beating it when it had an accident. People will tell you that they stuck their dog’s nose into it, popped them, and took them outside. However, when it comes to potty training their child, they use positive encouragement, timing the bathroom breaks and congratulating the child for a job well done when it succeeded.
What is the true difference? Why treat one different from the other? They are both trying to learn the same things.
Your new puppy does not automatically know that they need to go outside. They do not know that it is unacceptable to go where they are. You have to show them where you feel it is acceptable for them to go to the bathroom. It is not going to be something they learn immediately, but if you are consistent in showing them, they will get the idea. A puppy wants to please the pack leader. If you are constantly punishing them, they will feel they are unable to please you, especially because they are simply doing what comes natural.
When bringing home a new puppy, it is a good idea to have a place for them set up. A crate is a lifesaver for anyone who wants to have a puppy in the house and successfully have him potty outside. In essence the crate will become its den and as a general rule, dogs will not use the bathroom where they sleep. That is why you may want to start out with a crate that is only a little bigger than they are. If you have a very large crate for a small puppy, they can simply walk to the other side to relieve themselves.
The thing is, puppies are like kids, they cannot hold it very well until they get older. When you first bring home your puppy, you should expect to take him outside every couple of hours and immediately after they eat. This means you should feed them and take them outside to the area where you feel they should go to the bathroom and tell him, “Go Potty”. Be prepared to stand there for a while.
Your puppy is going to want to play with you, but you should avoid playtime. Outside is not the area for it. When your puppy goes potty, then you can play. Pet her, tell her she is a good girl, etc. You can take her in and let her play with your family and explore the house. This is her reward.
If you take your puppy outside and stand there for 20 minutes and they have not slowed down enough to go potty or they are trying to lay down for a nap, take them inside and put them straight into the crate. Otherwise, if you take them inside and turn them loose, you are taking a chance that they will have an accident. Too many times of being allowed to go out and play, then come in and use the bathroom, will make them think that inside is where they should go potty.
Accidents happen, but you do not want to encourage accidents to happen. By putting them into the crate when they do not go outside where they should, you are not giving them another option beyond where they sleep. Let them stay inside of it for a few minutes, then take them back outside to try again.
Do not put them in the crate, leave them, and allow them to wander around the room, because they may go inside the house. After they have been in the crate a few minutes, take them straight outside.
Prepare for Accidents
Accidents do happen. Perhaps you took the puppy outside and he did go to the bathroom, so you took him inside as his reward. You and your family are playing with him and oops, he squats. Chances are good, he got distracted while outside and did not quite finish what he needed to finish. Do not make a big deal out of it, simply pick him up, take him outside where he is supposed to go and stay out for a little while with him. When you venture back inside, put him into the crate. This will show him that when he does that inside, play time must end.
While your puppy is in the crate, clean up the area where he had an accident. Spray scent neutralizer over the area and remove as much of it as you can. You may also want to try and keep your puppy out of that area for a few days or so. Dogs are creatures of habit. They go to the bathroom where they can smell themselves.
When you feel it is time for the puppy to come out of the crate again, take him outside. If he does not go, put him back into the crate. Your consistency will encourage him to do what you want for him to do. If you give him run of the house and you do not encourage him to do what you want, he will do as he wants, and that includes having him go to the bathroom where he wants to, when he wants to. This is not good when you are trying to housebreak a puppy.