Housetraining Your New Puppy

No training is more basic for pet owners than that first important lesson: Do it outside!

Teaching your puppy to potty outside the home, not in it, usually starts between six and eight weeks of age. Dogs as young as four weeks have been started on the program, but at that age few have the muscular control to succeed.

Like any dog training plan, trainer patience is as important as the dog’s temperament. ‘Sit’, ’stay’ and other behaviors can often be learned in a few days. ‘Potty’ training your puppy sometimes takes weeks – maybe as short as two, often a month or more. Service dog training/assistance dog training also help


As with other learned behaviors, it helps to notice signs of the desired actions and enforce and direct them with a voice command followed by praise. In this case that technique works even more to the trainer’s advantage, since all dogs will naturally eliminate. The trick is to get your dog to do it when and where you want!

Watch for circling or squatting, then pick up the pup, say ‘outside’ and take him outside. The puppy may circle some more, but will often promptly squat. When your puppy eliiminates, say ‘Go potty’ ( or some other unique phrase) in a clear, firm (but not angry) voice. Wait until she is finished and then her praise lavishly.

You won’t always be able to catch the puppy about to begin, but don’t become angry or impatient when the dog potties indoors. It takes repetition for the dog to learn to tell you it’s time to ‘go outside’. It also takes time for the muscles needed to control bladder and bowels to gain control.

On average, young dogs need to eliminate every 2-3 hours,. If you haven’t spotted pre-elimination behavior within that time, take the dog outside anyway. Issue the command ‘Go potty’ and wait. At first, usually, the dog will have no clue what you want.

Especially, even when outside, it helps to wait and observe for the desired behavior then issue the command. That helps the dog associate the command with the behavior. If the puppy hasn’t gone after a few minutes and a few ‘Go potty’ commands, take it back inside for an hour. Of course, if you see the pre-elimination behavior in less time, go outside again immediately.

Dogs have an amazing ability to quickly learn what their ‘alpha’ (the leader of the pack) wants. This is almost always accomplished by associating a verbal command with behavior, followed by praise. Punishment is usually counter-productive, and nowhere more so than in waste elimination training. Never rub your puppy’s nose in waste.

Paper and/or crate training is preferred by some. A pup can be trained to eliminate on a newspaper, or on one of the chemically treated potty pads designed for the purpose. Some small breeds that live all day in the home may not need to go outside at all.

The technique has a couple of downsides however. Unlike cats, dogs will seldom go in a perfumed litter box. Newspapers will often leave an unpleasant smell in the house.

Also, long before the odor becomes unattractive to humans, dogs can smell their own distinctive scent. They don’t find their scent unattractive – quite the opposite. And therein lies the problem.

Dogs that are paper trained sometimes will prefer to potty indoors. Occasionally they’ll miss the paper by only an inch, creating a mess to clean up.


Once the odor is in the carpet, the dog will continue to seek that spot out as its proper ‘place to go’. This makes training the dog to eliminate outside even more difficult. Best to suffer a few accidents than to create a hard-to-overcome habit.

Lots of patience, praise and consistency are the keys to any dog training. Elimination training is the first order of business for you and your dog.

More from:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *