How to House Train Your Dog

One of the most important things to keep in mind when potty training your dog is that there will be accidents. Don't expect him to be instantly perfect! For many puppies and adult dogs, being successfully housetrained takes several months. The two main methods of housetraining are pad/paper training and crate training.

How to Potty Train With Pads

If you decide to pad/paper train your pup, you will teach him to eliminate inside on an area covered with potty pads or newspaper. Once your puppy has mastered the idea of only relieving himself on the covered area, you can start removing sections of the pads or newspaper, slowly shrinking the area. Eventually, once this process is completed, you will need to teach your puppy to eliminate outdoors.

People who choose the pad/paper training method often do so because they know the puppy will not have outside access as often as he will need to eliminate. While some dog owners find success with this method, it can be confusing for your dog. Once a puppy is accustomed to eliminating indoors, it can be very difficult to deter him from this habit.

How to Crate Train

Crate training is a great choice for a dogs who know that their crate is a comfy, safe place. Dogs have sought out small dens that make them feel sheltered for thousands of years, so your pup will appreciate having his own personal space. Since dogs don't like to eliminate where they sleep, he will be anxious to leave his crate and eliminate elsewhere. This method is also effective when you're not able to keep a close eye on him.

Choose the Right Crate

A crate that's too big may cause your dog to "go" in one corner and lie in another without ruining his sleeping area, and a crate that's too small will be too confining and uncomfortable. Make sure the crate is big enough for your puppy to stand up, lie down, and turn around, and that it's well ventilated.

Stick to a Routine

The first step in successfully crate training your puppy is to commit to a regular routine for taking your puppy outside, so your puppy can learn that his chances to eliminate occur on a schedule. These trips outside should include:

  • First thing in the morning
  • After playtime
  • After napping
  • After eating
  • Right before bedtime
  • After you've taken him outside, give him some play time before placing him back in the crate. Between trips outside, keep a close eye on your puppy and carry him outside if you see any indications that he is about to eliminate.

    No matter which method you choose, be faithful to it. Housetraining success is achieved by consistency and a whole lot of patience!


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