One of the first tasks for any new puppy owner is puppy house-training. Along with regular training and basic dog socialization, puppy house-training helps set puppies up to become upright canine citizens.
No one wants their puppy having accidents in their house, so it is important to find the best way to house-train a puppy that works for your family and to begin right when you bring your new puppy home.
How Often Should Puppies Go Out to Pee?
The best way to house-train a puppy is to keep to a routine and take him out at regular intervals. For the first week you have him (9 weeks of age), you can take your puppy out every 30 minutes to an hour—this will help to avoid any potential accidents.
However, the general rule of thumb with puppies is they can hold their bladder for their age in months plus one. So if he’s 2 months old, he could potentially hold it for three hours (2 months plus one):
2 months: Every 2 to 3 hours
3 months: Every 3 to 4 hours
4 months: Every 4 to 5 hours
Once your puppy has adjusted to his new house (after one to two weeks), he should begin to adjust to the general rule of thumb very quickly. You should actively work to establish a consistent routine for your puppy’s potty breaks so that he can begin to understand the house-training concept.
Take him out regularly throughout the day as well as during the night. You should create a potty-training schedule that coincides with your puppy’s daily routine—let him out first thing in the morning and last thing at night, and after naps, play sessions and meals. As your puppy ages, you can start to gradually increase the time between these potty breaks.
Puppies generally have full bladder control between 4 and 6 months of age. This means that there is light at the end of the tunnel—with a little patience, you can teach a puppy to stop peeing in the house.
How to House-Train a Puppy With Praise and Rewards
Puppies learn through positive reinforcement. If their behavior causes a positive response, they are more likely to repeat it. This is the key to potty training and puppy house-training.
Owners should put themselves in a position to witness as many potty instances as possible. This means you should be watching your puppy every time you take him out so you can see him going potty in the appropriate spot.
When he finishes, praise and reward him. Through this positive reinforcement, he learns what is expected of him.
What If You Have to Leave the House?
If you need to pop out, take your puppy out to go potty first. Make sure that every outing fits around your puppy’s potty-training schedule and does not extend longer than their ability to hold their bladder.
So don’t leave your puppy for more than a couple of hours, and when you return, take him out to go potty again. Always praise and reward him once he’s gone to the bathroom in the appropriate spot.
What Are the Signs That Your Puppy Needs to Go Out?
While you’re at home, allow your puppy to roam the house, but be observant. You need to make sure you are watching for any cues that he may be using to try to tell you he needs to go potty:
Pawing at the door
Pacing or jumping where you hang his dog leash
You should be home with your new puppy as much as possible in his first few months so you can let him out very frequently and learn the signs that he needs to go. Some pet parents look to take the first few weeks off work to help establish a house-training routine and bond with their puppy.
A pet parent’s job is to set their puppy up to succeed. It’s your job to show him what you want him to do. Do not punish him when he gets it wrong. Speaking of punishment, don’t ever do it in general. It’s really that simple. Aversive techniques don’t work.
If you are happy with giving your puppy a designated potty spot in a specific area with dog potty pads, then they can be a helpful addition to your training routine.
By: John Woods
Featured Image: iStock.com/jonathandowney