Housebreaking a puppy requires your attention, patience and understanding. This can be a trying time for both the puppy and you.

The key to successful housebreaking a puppy is consistency and preventing accidents. Don't leave an untrained puppy alone in the house. Praise him for good behavior.

You should start right away. A puppy can hold his bladder one hour for every month they have been alive. Watch for signs he needs to go outside like turning in circles. (Remember, it's important that your puppy is ready. Puppies under 4 months have little bladder control and under 9 weeks don't crate because they need to go to the bathroom 8 or more times a day. Ask you breeder or vet about your specific breed.)


Don't let your puppy have the run of the house, keep him in a contained are by using a child's gate, etc in an area where your are.

While training your puppy it's not a good idea to put him in the yard, bathroom or laundry room and leave. He's not used to being in these rooms and the smells are unfamiliar to him. He will start associating these rooms with being left alone. They are not his den and a safe place for him. They will use one corner of the room to potty in and stay in another section. Always take him out first thing in the morning, after he eats at least within 1/2 hour after, nap times, play times, and before bedtime.

There are two methods of housebreaking - paper training and crate training.

You may want to try paper training for a small breed if he is going to be an indoor dog. Just put layered newspapers in a corner away from feeding and water bowls. Take your puppy to the newspapers after meals. After he goes take top layer and leave bottom layer. Puppies go where they smell urine and feces so he will prefer the newspapers over an unwanted area.
For other dogs paper training may make it harder to train your puppy if you leave newspapers laying around when you really want to train him to go outside. It's better to just teach him he needs to go outside.

The most common method is crate training. Crates come in plastic or wire types. (For more information go to my article on Dog Crates.) Purchase one that your puppy can stand up in and turn around but not to big or he will use part of it for a bathroom. That of course will defeat the purpose!
Start a regular feeding and potty schedule.
Take him out after eating for 10-14 minutes. Tell him to "Go Pee" and when he does praise him.

Puppies usually have a bowel movement after each meal so give him time for this too. Alway take him to the same spot so he learns where he is to go. Play with him for 1/2 hour to an hour. Take him outside again then put him in his crate for a nap. Take him out every hour or so depending on his age to go to bathroom. If he goes praise him and let him play otherwise put him back in crate for awhile. You want to prevent mistakes and reward good behavior.

For the first month he will eating 3-4 meals a day and you need to keep to your schedule. Someting like this - potty first thing in morning, meal in crate, potty, playtime, potty, nap, potty, etc.

Don't confine puppy to a crate for long periods of time. Puppies under the age of six months can't go for long periods of time without going.

Don't punish your puppy if he has an accident indoors. He doesn't understand yet why he is being punished and he may learn to eliminate when you aren't watching even outside. He will then do it indoors when you are not looking. He doesn't understand if you find a mess on the floor, find him and scold him. He doesn't associate the two things at all.

Puppies can hold his bowels approximately equal to number of months of his age. If puppy is 4 months then it can hold for 4 hours. Ten hours is naximum even for dogs that are 10 months. Eventually a puppy will begin to learn to go to the door when he need to go out. Praise your puppy and let him out immediately! As he grows older, of course, he will be able to control his bladder and bowls for longer peroids of time.

Some breeds will take longer to train and not be able to hold it very long. For example some can only hold one hour when one year old.

One mistake people make in toy breeds is to pick them up and carry them outside to designated spot. They need to walk outside and learn to go to that area just like any other dog and tell them "Go Pee". Just because they are so tiny don't treat them different.

Always keep your dog's area clean of stools. They don't like to use an area that is filthy.

Just remember preventing accidents is the name of the game. Take him out often and you'll get faster results.

If you do catch him going inside, holler "no" and carry him out immediately! Take him to his area and tell him "this is where you go potty" and then praise him after he goes.

So remember when housebreaking your puppy the two keys - confinement so he cannot go in the wrong place like a crate and constant or regular access to the right place to go to potty. Of course, patience and praise!

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