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How can I train my puppy to use the bathroom outside?

My puppy keeps pooping and peeing in my house. How can I housetrain my dog?

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Send an email to ask@indyhumane.org to submit your question about animal behavior or welfare to our Experts. We’ll post answers to some of the best questions here. For urgent or personal questions, check out our Contact page, and for answers to common questions about IndyHumane, check out our FAQ.

How can I train my puppy to use the bathroom outside?

My puppy keeps pooping and peeing in my house. How can I housetrain my dog?

Housetraining a puppy is no easy task, but with time and patience, it can be done. Be sure you and your family are ready to take on these responsibilities before adopting a dog. It's important to be aware that there will be accidents along the way.

Consistency is an important part of the housetraining experience. The more consistency in the puppy's life, the faster you’ll see results.

Through the housetraining period there are three basic terms to remember: routine, supervise, and confinement.

Routine

  • Just like a new-born baby, it's best to put your puppy on a regular schedule.
  • In the beginning, it's a good idea to take them out every hour, after naps and play sessions, and after eating.
  • Choose a spot just outside the door that your puppy will associate with eliminating. Each time you take your puppy out, go to the same sport and through the same door.
  • Using the same words like "go potty" when your puppy is outside.
  • Consistency in feeding will lead to consistency in elimination.

Supervise

  • While inside, your puppy should be supervised at all times. If you see signs of possible elimination, like circling and sniffing, take your puppy out immediately to their bathroom spot.
  • Baby gates are a great thing to have around the house:  they will allow you to keep a better eye on your puppy and prevent accidents in difficult-to-clean places

Confinement

  • When you're unable to watch your puppy, confine them to a suitably sized crate: dogs are less likely to eliminate where they sleep.
  • A crate should be big enough for the puppy to comfortably stand, lie down, and turn around.
  • Your puppy should be taken out immediately after being let out of its crate.
  • If you work, it's a good idea to come home during lunch or to have a dog sitter let your puppy out during the day.
  • In general, puppies can hold their bladder one hour for every month of age.

If you catch your puppy eliminating in the house, make a quick, loud noise, like a hand clap or a loud “Ah!” noise to interrupt him. Then take him to his potty spot and reward with verbal praise and a treat. Once you find the soiled area, do nothing more than take your puppy outside, then clean up the mess – don’t punish your dog for the accident. After the act of elimination, it's too late to take action. Discipline and punishment will do nothing more than hinder the process, and can lead to your puppy being afraid of you or going potty in your presence.

Use the tips listed above to minimize the number of accidents you encounter. Allowing your puppy to continue to eliminate in the house will only lead to confusion on his part, frustration on your part, and a prolonging of the housetraining process.

By following these tips you'll be on your way to a housetrained puppy in no time. Having a positive attitude throughout the process will not only make training run smoothly, it will rub off on your puppy. Take "oops" moments in stride and continue to work on routine, supervise, and confinement. Practice makes perfect!

RELATED CATEGORIES: Dogs, Training

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having trouble training an adult dog; she is taken out at 5:00 am; again at 11:00 am, 3:15 pm, and 9:00 pm at night - still accidents are occurring off and on; I adopted this dog from Indy Humane Shelter last Oct.  She has been to vet and we find nothing wrong….any suggestions?  Put her back in crate?? I would think she could hold herself for 6 hours??  Getting very frustrated with this dog

By Gail Schimmel on 2011 03 07

My Jap. Chin is 5 years old and when I got him 5 years ago, he was only months old.  He had never been socialized and was kept basically in a crate, which he now hates.  He had bladder stones and had surgery app. 10 months ago and now he pees more than ever. I let them out ebery 4 hours day and night except when I work 3 days a week and on those days it is 6 hours from the time I leave until I get back.  He has pee pee pads which he uses but misses a lot of the time and urine goes on my laminate flooring which is detrimental to the floor and there is nothing much you can do about that. It is a challenge because shince he’s had his surgery, it appears he drinks more water. Oh well, trying to deal with this.

By Betty L Shaw on 2011 04 07

not a mention of food or water schedule ??
anyone who ever had a dog knows that shortly after eating they will poop. when a puppy take away the water after 7 PM and take them outside before bed time for a romp. they will most likely pee and that just might be the answer to the pee problme. Of course give them water in the morning with food and a similar romp outside. No water in the bladder means most likely no pee.

By Don on 2011 06 03

We adopted a beagle from an animal shelter. She is about two years old and is not housetrained. We have tried a million things, but can’t seem to break her. any suggestions

By Cassie on 2011 06 16


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