House training your puppy takes time, patience, consistency, time, positive reinforcement… Oh- and did we say time?! Before you consider getting a puppy it’s important to understand the commitment necessary for puppy training. If this article seems daunting, you may want to consider adopting an adult dog. There are plenty of dogs out there that need a loving home, and it’s amazing how fast an older dog can adapt and become a loving family member.
Experts say that it typically takes 4-6 months for a puppy to be fully housetrained. Smaller breeds tend to take longer since they have smaller bladders and require more frequent trips outside. By being proactive, preparing for inevitable set-backs, and by offering lots of encouragement it WILL happen!
It’s important to start good habits as soon as you bring your puppy home. Puppies have tiny bladders, so expect to bring puppy out to pee after waking up, eating, playing, etc. Basically the more you can bring your puppy outside and have him relieve himself out there (instead of on puppy pads) the more you are encouraging good habits. Most puppies won’t start learning to hold their bladder until between 12 – 16 weeks.
Crate training a puppy has several benefits; it reduces travel and transporting anxiety, it becomes ‘their space’ in your home, it can be used to teach the rules of the house, and it is invaluable for potty training. Most puppies won’t defecate in the space that they sleep so using a crate and letting your puppy out frequently for potty time, (as well as feeding, cuddles and playtime) will help teach him to hold his bladder.
Make sure your crate is large enough for your puppy to stand up and turn around, but not big enough for him to use a corner as a bathroom. Because of their small bladder it’s important not to leave the puppy in the crate for longer than 2 hours during the day.
Don’t punish. When you find a mess avoid yelling, scolding, or rubbing the puppy’s nose in it. Puppies are unable to connect your angry emotion to their action. Punishing your puppy for having an accident just teaches him to fear you. Instead quietly clean up the mess and provide lots of praise when he does his duty outside. It’s important to thoroughly clean the area. A dog’s nose is much more powerful than our own and his scent will encourage him to go in that spot again. Enzymatic cleaners will help eliminate odor. You can also spritz the area with NaturPet Outdoor Spray which contains odor eliminating ingredients and provides a nice scent.
Dogs are creatures of habit, so the sooner they understand where their business should be done, the sooner they’ll stop going elsewhere. They also love to please so be patient and provide lots of praise! Puppy Training is a lot of work but establishing good habits right from the start will avoid long term problems.