Housetraining Your New Puppy


litterboxFirst, do you want your dog/puppy to have good house habits? You say “yes”, but do you mean “YES!!!”? Unless you make this your NUMBER ONE PRIORITY you might not be successful and could end up with a canine that cannot ever be trusted loose indoors….

Dogs/puppies will not train themselves and they do not have natural instincts that will lead them outside to pee and poop. They must be trained to “hold it” until they can get to the place where they are allowed to eliminate. They must be shown where they will be allowed to eliminate. They must be praised and rewarded when they get it right.

  • FACT: Dogs are creatures of habit, they do what they have always done. When urinating or defecating, they do it where they have done it before. Allow the dog to urinate or defecate only where you want him to continue doing so.
  • FACT: Dogs react to smell. They urinate where there is a smell of dog urine. Get rid of the smell of “accidents” from your house by cleaning as soon as possible with a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts water. This will not hurt most carpets or flooring, but test first. Commercial products, such as Simple Solution, or That Citrus Stuff, may also eliminate the odor and visible spots on a carpet. Don’t let your pet see you do this clean up.
  • FACT: Dogs’ bodies respond to what and when they eat and what they do. Always take your dog outside immediately after sleeping or eating, and during play time. Feed puppies no more than three meals, adults no more than one or two meals per day; do not leave food down. Pick up drinking water early in the evening.


“Crate” your dog (confine him to a small area, such as a plastic dog crate large enough for him to stand and turn around in) WHENEVER YOU CANNOT WATCH HIM!

When you first get up in the morning, put the leash on the dog, urgently say, “Outside, outside!” and run him through the house out into the yard to the place you want him to do his thing. Carry the puppy if it is very young.

When he does pee in the appropriate area, praise him to the sky. When he poops where you want him to, praise him up! This tells him that he has done a good thing. Also give him a treat immediately (keep a dog biscuit or a few Cheerios® in your bathrobe pocket).

Add a command word as he’s doing it: “Hurry Up” or “Pee & Poop”… whatever words you feel comfortable with. But always use the same command. The dog will learn to associate the command with the actions; this will make life a lot simpler if you travel with him and need to get him to eliminate quickly at a rest area.

Stay out with him for another five minutes or until you’re sure he has finished everything possible.

Take the dog inside the house and give breakfast. Immediately after breakfast, take him out again to potty (see above directions). Be prepared to spend about 20 minutes (sometimes more time if necessary) outside with him while you wait for him to pee and poop. If he does not eliminate during that time you will need to stay outside longer… until he pees and poops.

Now your dog/puppy is “safe” to be in the house with supervision. You can play with him, sit with him on your lap, brush him, talk to him, work on a new trick or behavior, but don’t let him out of your sight. Spend some quality time with him. Then if you need to get busy with chores or just are not paying 100% attention to him, have him on a short leash tied to your belt. If you cannot keep him with you like this, then put him into his dog crate with a toy, chewy or a treat (crates are not for punishment)!

When it is time to come out of the crate, put on his leash or carry him immediately out to his “potty place”. Use the proper command, then praise and give a treat when he is done with his business.

He will need to go “out” after he eats, after he wakes up, after he has been playing. An 8 week old puppy will sometimes need to poop up to 8 times a day. An adult dog will usually poop 2 or three times a day. During the day you can assume a puppy can hold his bladder for about an hour for each month of age that he is (two months old, about two hours; three months old, about three hours). An adult dog can usually wait up to 6 hours before he needs to pee (if he is asleep in his crate he won’t need to “go” as often as a dog that is awake and busy).

If YOU DON’T ALLOW HIM TO HAVE AN “ACCIDENT” IN THE HOUSE… he will be housetrained in a very short period of time. Each time an “accident” happens you will have to start the training all over. So do it right the first time! If your dog/puppy is not housetrained it is not the dog’s fault… it is YOURS! Your fault for not being serious enough with the training.

I don’t know of any magic, or training tricks that will make housetraining easy for you. When you bring home a new dog/puppy, do it when you will have several days off from work and when you can put one hundred percent of your time into housetraining. If you want results and no setbacks, don’t assume that your spouse or children will train the puppy for you. They might help, but it is your responsibility to see that the training is carried out. A few days of intense supervision will pay off with a pet that can be trusted for a lifetime!

You could also use the rolled up newspaper system of housetraining your new puppy/dog. Take a section of newspaper. Roll it up tightly and put a rubber band around the roll. Then when you discover that the puppy has made a puddle on the floor take the paper and firmly hit yourself over the head while repeating….

I should have been watching the puppy,

I should have been watching the puppy!