How to house train your puppy

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House training your puppy is fundamental to a happy dog-owner relationship. Kathy Santo, professional dog trainer, discusses the factors and steps involved in successful dog training which starts with consistency and requires patience.

How to house train your puppy House training your puppy is fundamental to a happy dog-owner relationship. Successful dog training starts with consistency and requires patience. Keep in mind the following factors and steps:
  • The first step to house training your puppy is to establish a routine. Puppies do best on a regular schedule, because it teaches them that there are times to eat, times to play, and times to potty.
  • In general, a puppy can control his bladder about an hour for every month of age.
  • Take him right out after he wakes up, during and after play time, and after eating or drinking, because these are times he's most likely to have to go. If you work and are unable to take your puppy outside as often as needed, you could hire a dog walker to give your puppy his necessary breaks.
  • Pick a specific bathroom spot outside and always take him there first when he's on a leash. While your puppy is going, say something like "go potty" so that you can eventually use that phrase to remind him what to do.
  • Reward your puppy every time he goes potty outdoors with praise or a treat, but make sure to do so immediately before he goes back into the house.
  • Try using an exercise pen to help you supervise your puppy so you can notice and react when he starts showing the signs of needing to eliminate—barking, scratching at the door, squatting, sniffing, or circling.
Transcript House training your puppy requires more than a stack of old newspapers. It calls for patience, commitment, and above all, consistency. Hi, I'm Kathy Santo for Iams with Howdini. And today we're going to talk about how to house train your puppy.
 
A trusting and consistent relationship is fundamental to successful house training. The more consistent you are, the faster your puppy will learn. House training a puppy can take several weeks and sometimes longer with smaller breeds. The first step to house training your puppy is to establish a routine. Puppies did best on a regular schedule, because it teaches them that there are times to eat, times to play, and times to potty.
 
As a general rule, a puppy can control his bladder about an hour for every month of age. So if your puppy is only three months old, he can probably only hold it for about three hours, if not less. Make sure to take him right out after he wakes up, during and after play time, and after eating or drinking, because these are times he's most likely to have to go. If you work and are unable to take your puppy outside as often as needed, you could hire a dog walker to give your puppy his necessary breaks.
 
I recommend picking a specific bathroom spot outside and always taking him there first when he's on a leash. While your puppy is going, say something like "go potty" so that you can eventually use that phrase to remind him what to do. You should take him out for a walk or play time after he's gone potty, or he might just learn to hold it to keep you outside. Reward your puppy every time he goes potty outdoors with praise or a treat, but make sure to do so immediately before he goes back into the house.
 
Rewarding correct behavior is the best way to teach your puppy. Be careful not to reward your puppy until he's completely finished, or he may forget to finish up outside and then have an accident inside. And remember, what goes into a puppy on a schedule comes out of a puppy on a schedule. So always take your puppy out after feeding. Try picking up your puppy's water dish about two and a half hours before bedtime, so he won't have as much water to try and hold overnight.
 
If you keep a consistent schedule, your puppy could be house trained by the time he's five to six months old. But don't be discouraged if it takes your puppy longer or has an occasional accident. Many factors, including breed of dog, consistency, and temperament, can contribute to a longer training period. If you feel that there's little to no progress, consult with your veterinarian to be sure that a medical issue, such as a bladder infection, isn't the culprit.
 
Supervision in the beginning is critical. Exercise pens are extremely helpful while house training. Keeping your puppy in a small space within eyesight will allow you to notice and react when they start showing the signs of needing to eliminate. Those signs can be barking, scratching at the door, squatting, sniffing, or circling.
 
If you're unable to monitor your puppy, you can confine him to an area small enough so that he won't want to eliminate there. A space just large enough for him to lay down with a couple extra inches is just fine. Many people choose to combine with a crate which can be very helpful for house training your young dog. For more information on crate training watch "How to crate train your puppy."
 
I'm Kathy Santo for Iams with Howdini, and I hope that you've found this helpful as you welcome your new addition to your family.
 
For more information on puppy care and training, visit iams.com/puppy.
meet theexpert
  • Kathy Santo

    Kathy Santo Professional Dog Trainer Kathy Santo is a columnist for the American Kennel Club’s Family Dog Magazine, and House Beautiful. Good Housekeeping has launched her as their online “Pet Expert” and in 2005 her dog training book, Kathy Santo’s Dog Sense was internationally released. more about this expert »

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