A new puppy in the house is an exciting time! Full of wiggles and squishy puppy goodness. But it also can be a bit of a challenging time for new owners as they navigate the first training phases. One of the toughest and time consuming is the house training step. But don’t worry, as long as you’re consistent and patient, most dogs can be easily house trained.
Remember That It Takes Time
One of the first things to keep in mind as you begin the house training process is that it takes time, so be patient! Some puppies can be trained within 4-6 months, but others can take up to a year. The key is to never, ever give up and always be consistent! The more you stick to your routine, the faster your puppy will become trained to only go potty outside. If it feels like it’s taking forever, or that he just doesn’t seem to be learning fast enough, don’t fret. Every pup is different and he will get there!
The Nights Will Be Long At First
Be prepared to get up at least a couple times a night for the first few weeks. Typically, by 16 weeks, your puppy should be sleeping through the night. But this can vary by puppy. Some begin sleeping through the night much earlier. No matter how long it takes, it’s important to get up and let him go outside to go potty when he needs to. This will help reinforce the house training. However, be sure to very simply get up, take him outside, let him potty, and then bring him right back inside again and put him back to bed. If you’re crate training, take him directly back to his crate and put him back away. It’s important not to pet him or play with him or do anything that might make him want to get up during the night for anything other than going to the bathroom. You want to teach him that if he whines during the night, he will only be let outside to go potty, and that is it. This will encourage him to sleep.
Watch Him Closely During the Day
Keep a close eye on him at all times as he’s hanging out around the house. Take him outside every little bit and give him a command like, “Let’s go potty!” or “Outside!” or “Potty!”. Right at first, you might have to take him outside as often as every 15 minutes. Then every 20 minutes. Then every 30 minutes. As your pup gets the hang of it, you’ll be able to stretch it further and further out. But be sure to follow his cues and if it looks like he’s sniffing for a place to go to the bathroom, take him outside right away. And don’t forget to praise him each and every time he goes to the bathroom outside!
If You’re Crate Training
If you’re going to train your new pup to sleep in a crate, use this as a potty training tool. Keep him in his crate at night and only take him out of it when he needs to use the bathroom. Work on training him to go to his crate when you say “crate” or “kennel” or “go to your bed”. Give him a treat every time he goes to his crate and praise him. It can take some time for him to get used to using their crate so stick with it and work on keeping it a positive experience for him. Also, keeping him in his crate when you’re not able to keep an eye on him will really help with house training. He won’t want to go potty where he sleeps, so it’s a great tool for teaching him to hold it until he goes outside!
When You’re Ready to Use a Pet Door
As soon as you feel like your pup is ready to start learning how to use the pet door, just as you did with the other steps, be patient and go at your dog’s pace. Hold the flaps open at first so that he can get used to using the pet door before the flaps actually rest on his back. Reward him with a treat and lots of praise every time he goes through it. Don’t forget to use commands with the pet door as well so that he can associate it with going outside to use the restroom. Say this like, “Outside,” “Potty,” or “Tinkle,”
With a little time and patience, your pup is going to be house trained in no time! Remember, this stage won’t last forever so take your time getting Fido trained to use the bathroom outside, and you’ll be really glad you took the extra time to get it right.