Adopting a new puppy is a great joy. They provide you with unconditional love and someone to come home to, and not to mention, they are so adorable! But puppies also come with added responsibilities, one of which most people aren’t excited for: house training. While this aspect of puppy parenthood may seem daunting, all it takes is some positive reinforcement, consistency, and a good dose of patience.
On average, puppies are fully house trained after six months, but some could take closer to a year. Size is sometimes an indicator of how long it will take. For instance, because smaller breeds have smaller bladders, they tend to need to go out more often. In addition, if your puppy previously lived somewhere where their bad potty habits were ignored, it may be more difficult to teach them to go outside. While this can be difficult, it is by no means impossible to housebreak these pups.
While you may have setbacks along the way, as long as you are consistent in your training program, your new best friend will eventually learn to go outside.
When Should I Start House Training?
Puppy training experts recommend that you start house training puppies between 12 and 16 weeks old. By this age, they will be able to control their bladder to the point where they can learn how to hold it. If you have a puppy who is more than 12 weeks old and is still going in their cage, it indicates that it may take to longer to house train them. This is because at that point, their habits have already started to form, so you will have to re-train them to go outside. However, this doesn’t mean that it will be impossible.
How to House Train Your Puppy
There are several considerations you should make when you are house training your puppy.
- When you are house training, you should confine your puppy to a space, such as a crate, room, or on a leash. The more your puppy learns to go outside to eliminate, the more freedom you can give him to have full access to the house.
- Stay on a consistent feeding schedule, and keep food stored away from your pet between meals.
- Take your pup outside first thing in the morning and then every hour or so after that. Also take them out after meals, right before bed, and anytime before you leave the house.
- When you take your dog outside, take them to the same spot every time. They will recognize their own scent and it will prompt them to eliminate.
- Make a point to stay outside with them until they are completely house trained.
- Reinforce the behavior with praise or treats, depending on what they respond best to. You might also reward them with a nice walk around the block.
Crate Training Your Puppy
A crate is a good short-term house training tool. Crating your puppy can be a great way to teach them how to hold it if you use it properly. Here are some tips:
- Invest in a crate that is the right size for your pup. They should be able to stand up, turn around, and lie down in it, but it should not be big enough that they can eliminate in a corner.
- Make sure your dog always has fresh water to drink in the crate. There are dispensers that attach to crate, similar to what is used for hamsters.
- It’s important that your dog not be left in the crate all day without having the opportunity to go outside. For the first eight months, your pup should be let out at least once halfway through the day.
- Look for signs your pup needs to go when they are in the crate. They might circle, sniff, bark, or whine.
- If your puppy is eliminating in their crate, don’t use it to train them. This can indicate several things: that they have developed bad bathroom habits in their previous living situation, they don’t get outside often enough, they are too young and need more time, or their crate is too large.
Other Tips to Keep in Mind
- Accidents happen. If your dog eliminates inside, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t understanding house training. If there are any changes in the environment, this might cause a setback. Don’t give up yet.
- Persistence is key in training. However, if house training genuinely doesn’t seem to be working over time, it’s important to take your puppy to the vet to make sure it isn’t a medical issue.
- Don’t punish your pup for accidents. All this teaches your puppy is to have anxiety around eliminating. If you find an accident later, it doesn’t help to rub their nose in it; your dog won’t make the connection, they will just fear you.
If you are concerned about your puppy having an accident in the house, putting down puppy pads may give you peace of mind. This way, even if your pup does go inside, you don’t have to worry about them causing any damage to your home. Shop New Puppy Pads for washable puppy pads today!