New pet parents may think house training a puppy is easy, but it’s no walk in the park. It requires patience, commitment, and most importantly, a positive attitude. No pet is perfect! Expect a few accidents when you first start potty training your puppy. After a few weeks, your pet should be fully house trained.
1. Establish a routine.
Pets thrive on consistency. Before you begin house training your puppy, create a schedule for feeding, watering, and bathroom breaks. Post it where it’s easily visible – a schedule only works if the whole family cooperates. Puppies need to be let out every two hours, after naps and playtime, and immediately after eating and drinking.
2. Reward good behavior.
Positive reinforcement is key to house training your puppy. The key is to reward your pet immediately after he or she goes potty. Don’t wait until you both are back inside – by then your puppy will have forgotten what the reward is for!
3. Watch your puppy.
A common mistake pet parents make is leaving puppies free to wander. When you’re house training your puppy, keeping an eye on him or her is essential. Keep your pet on a long leash when you’re not actively playing, even indoors. Watch your puppy for any signs he or she has to go out:
- Whining or barking
- Scratching or sniffing at the door
- Circling / pacing
4. Pick a potty spot.
To give your puppy even more consistency, pick one bathroom spot in the yard. Take your puppy on a leash to the same area every time. Pick one phrase to say every time, like “Go potty!”
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5. Confine your pet.
When you’re not with your puppy, confine him or her to a small area. A bathroom or laundry room is best, but crate training your puppy is also an option. The trick is to make the space small enough that your pet won’t want to soil it. At night or when you leave for work, confine your pet to a small space and cover surfaces with potty pads. If your pet wakes you up, don’t make a big deal about going outside – your puppy will think it’s play time!
6. Stopping accidents.
It’s normal for your pet to have a few accidents, especially when you first start house training your puppy. If you catch your puppy in the act, the right actions are key:
- Interrupt him by making a loud – but not scary! – noise like clapping once or stomping.
- Take your pet to the potty spot. If he or she finishes eliminating there, reward your puppy.
- Immediately clean the soiled area thoroughly. Pets often return to areas they have soiled before. If your puppy can smell his scent, he’s more likely to have an accident there again.
- Never punish your puppy for having an accident. Rubbing your pet’s nose in it, scolding your pet near the accident, and screaming or yelling will only frighten your pet.