How to House Train a Dog or Puppy


(by Emma Collins)

Welcome to the club, pet parent! Let's jump right into learning the ropes of how to house train a dog or puppy.  

If you haven't noticed already, puppies and dogs don't come to your house knowing all the dos and don'ts. This is why, as a paw-rent, you have to be the one to house train them. 

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House training a puppy usually takes 4-6 months, but some may take up to one year. It depends on some factors, including age, potty training methods, learning history, and consistency. Here's a quick guide on how you can do it:

Step 1: Set a Routine

Puppy training is like teaching a baby to work on a set schedule. This would help your pet learn when to eat, play, and do their business. Normally, a pup can hold it in for one hour as they grow a month in age. Beyond this time, you can expect accidents to happen from time to time. 

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Here are some techniques you can use to help them familiarize with your routine:

  • Take your dogs or puppies outside regularly for at least every 2 hours when they wake up, as they play (or even after playtime) and after meals. 
  • Potty train your dogs by choosing their bathroom spot outside and always taking them there (on a leash, of course!). 
  • While they're doing their business, talk to them. Practice using a particular word or phrase that would serve as a signal or a reminder to relieve themselves. 
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  • Give your puppies some treats after their potty training outside. Do this right after they finish, before you go back indoors. This is important because it teaches them that doing their thing outdoors is the correct thing to do. 
  • Feed them on schedule. For puppies, it has to be at least three to four times a day. This would make house training easier for both of you. 
  • Collect your puppy's water container two hours and 30 minutes before bedtime to prevent indoor bathroom breaks. 
  • Don't encourage your puppy to play when it wakes up at night. This is in order for them to stick to a sleeping schedule similar to yours.

Step 2: Stay Vigilant with Your Dog or Puppy

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  • Keep an eye on them while they're indoors to check if they have to go. 
  • Remember that barking, scratching, squatting, sniffing, and mere restlessness are usually telltale signs that it's time to do their business.
  • Keep your dog on a leash — even in the yard. This is because every part of the house, including the outdoors, must be considered a part of house training. 

Step 3: Restrict Them to an Area When You're Busy

  • Prepare a space big enough for them to be able to stand, lie down, and turn around while you're preoccupied. 
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  • After confinement, take them directly to their bathroom spot. This teaches them not to eliminate waste indoors. 

Step 4: Plan How to Deal with Accidents 

  • Startle them by saying "outside" and take them to their spot. Give a treat when they finish their business there. 
  • Never punish your dog for relieving themselves indoors. Rubbing their waste in their faces or shouting at them would scare them. This would do more harm than good. Worst case, they would try to hide eliminating waste from you. 
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  • Clean the dirty area thoroughly because dogs are more encouraged to do it again in areas that smell like their urine or feces. 

Step 5: Plan for What to Do When You Have to Leave

  • Arrange for someone to watch over your dog and take them on bathroom breaks. 
  • Invest in a pee pad that can be used for alternate bathroom breaks. While this may delay potty training success, this would prevent any accidents while you're not around. 
  • Put soiled rags or paper towels in the designated elimination area to help your puppy find their spot. 
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Potty training your puppy is no easy task. It requires every thread of patience, persistence, commitment, and consistency you have in your body.

There will also be a lot of accidents that would test you, but when you follow these tips, you can easily integrate your little buddy as a part of your loving household. 


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