How to House Train Puppies


If you think it will only take a few sheets of newspapers to house train puppies, you are sorely mistaken, because you need to be committed to and consistent in the task of training, vigilant, and most especially patient.

If you want to lessen the incidents of your puppy doing its business in your home, it would be wise for you to follow the procedures that will be described in this article. As a pet owner, you should be aware that all dogs, especially puppies, will at several points end up having accidents in your house. This is part and parcel of owning a pet.

What is most important is that you be consistent in observing basic housetraining rules, so that this acceptable behavior will become ingrained in your puppy. Take note that it may take a few weeks or even a month or two before you can completely housetrain your puppy, and it may take even longer especially in dogs of smaller breeds.

Fix a Regular Schedule


Puppies are just like babies in that they best follow a regular routine. By establishing a fixed schedule, you can teach them that there are times allotted for eating, playing and especially elimination.

In general, puppies are capable of holding their urinary bladders for 1 hour per month of age. For example, a puppy that is three months old can prevent urinating for around 2 hours. Do not allow your puppy to hold it for longer than two hours between potty breaks or else you will soon see it urinating on your floor. If you work in an office for much of the day, it would be necessary for you to hire the services of a dog walker who can see to your puppy’s potty needs.

It is important to take your puppy outside at least every 2 hours or more, immediately after it wakes up, during and after playtime, and after eating and drinking.

Early on, pick a potty spot in your garden or backyard and lead your puppy toward that spot with a leash. As your puppy is doing its business, make it a point to say a word or phrase – like “go potty” or “wee wee” – that it will automatically recognize as the command for eliminating. Go out on a much longer walk or for added playtime after it has completely voided urine or passed out stools.

Give your puppy a reward each time it successfully goes potty outside your home. You can either praise it or give it a doggie treat, but only give the reward quickly after it has finished doing its business, instead of when you are already back inside your home. By rewarding your puppy while it is still outside, you imprint upon it that doing its potty outside is the only way by which it could receive a treat. Make sure that you only give the reward after it has completely finished urinating or defecating. Do not distract your puppy. Giving it a reward too soon may lead to an accident when you get back inside the house because it will remember that it has to finish its potty.

It is imperative to have a fixed feeding schedule for your potty. Usually, if your puppy eats on time, chances are it will also potty on time. At the most, puppies are to be fed 3 to 4 times a day, depending upon how old it is. By feeding the puppy on particular times of the day, there is the greater chance that they will go potty on a timely consistency as well, which will enable you to have a more convenient time at housetraining.

Two and half hours before going to bed, make it a point to remove your puppy’s water dish, so that it will not drink and you won’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to take it out to potty. At the most, puppies can sleep for 7 hours without having to void urine or move their bowels.



If by chance your puppy does need to go potty in the middle of the night, don’t make a fuss about it. You will only make your puppy more alert so that it would want to play and not go back to sleep. Do not turn on all the lights, and don’t talk to or, much more, play with your puppy. Just take it outside and then take it back to bed.

Be Vigilant

Always be vigilant whenever your puppy is indoors so that it wouldn’t have the chance to eliminate inside your house.

Tie your puppy to you or a nearby furniture with a long leash if you are doing housework and don’t have the time to train or play with it. Be always on the look out for signs that your puppy needs to go patty. Some of these signs include restless pacing, sniffing, circling, squatting or even frantic scratching on your door. If you notice any of these signs, immediately take your puppy to its potty spot outside. Once it finishes its business, shower it with praise and/or give it a tasty treat.

You may also keep your puppy on a leash in your garden or backyard. However, apply housetraining procedures outdoors as well as indoors. Make sure that you allow your puppy some freedom both indoors and outdoors after it has been housetrained enough that it will not just do its potty anywhere.

Practice Confinement

If you are far too busy to keep an eye on your puppy, you should confine it to a small area that would discourage it from going potty in that spot. The spot should be spacious enough for it to be able to stand, lie down and turn around. It could be a small area of your laundry room or bathroom closed off by baby gates or similar obstacles.

Another good option is to confine your puppy inside a crate, also known as “crate training”. Check out the Internet for articles on how to perform humane procedures of crate training as means of confining your puppy. Take note of the time though because you will need to take your puppy to its potty spot after it has spent a number of hours being confined, and reward it with praise or a treat if it eliminates outdoors.

Dealing with Accidents

It is part and parcel of housetraining that your puppy will have several accidents in the beginning. When accidents do happen, observe the procedures below…

• Immediately interrupt your puppy if you see it doing its business anywhere inside the house.

• Make a noise to startle it (but not too loud that it will scare your puppy) or say “OUT!” or “OUTSIDE!” Pick it up, take it immediately to its potty spot and praise and/or reward it with a treat if it finishes its business there.

• Never punish your puppy for doing its potty indoors. If you find a pool of urine or feces on the floor, it is too late to correct your puppy. Simply clean the mess up. Never punish your puppy – like rubbing its noise in its urine or excrement, or taking it to its potty spot and scolding or pushing its butt onto the ground – as this will make the puppy fearful of you and of doing its potty whenever you are around. Punishment has the negative effect of making your puppy do its business in other, unreachable places in your home.

• Make sure that you clean up the soiled area thoroughly. Puppies have a tendency to do their potty in spots that reek of urine or feces. You can ask your veterinarian or your local pet store which products they could recommend for cleaning soiled areas.

It is vital that you observe the supervision and confinement procedures so that there will be fewer occasions of accidents inside your home. Allowing your puppy to do its potty indoors will make it confusing for your pet to determine where is the right place for it to do its business, and it will equally make the housetraining process much longer and more frustrating for you.

When Away From Home

Puppies below the age of 6 months are not capable of bladder control for prolonged periods of time (estimated at 1 hour for every month of age). If you are working for more than 4 to 5 hours daily, it is not a good idea to get a puppy; the better option is an older and already trained dog, who can wait until you get back home.

However, if you already own a puppy and you must go to work or are going on a trip, take note of the procedures below…

• Hire the services of a professional pet sitter or entrust it to a neighbor, who can take it to its potty spot.

• Another option is to train him to do its potty in specific locations inside the house. Take note, though, that this would require more intensive training, so that you will end up prolonging the process of housetraining. Also, there is a chance that training your puppy to do its business on newspapers will cause the development of surface preference, which means that they will continue to do their potty on any newspaper that you have lying around in the home.

Paper Training Your Puppy

If work necessitates that you should leave your puppy alone for prolonged periods of time, confine it to a small but roomy area that is sufficient for play and sleep, and allot a separate area for its potty.

In its indoor potty spot, cover it with newspapers or use a sod box. You can make a sod box from an old crate or a small, plastic swimming pool filled with sod. You can also visit your local pet supply store and check out the dog litter products that they have available.

If your puppy happens to void someplace else inside the house, put the soiled paper towels or rags in the potty spot. Because of the smell, your puppy will be able to recognize that spot as the place where it should do its potty.