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House training your puppy: DOs and DON’Ts

How to house train a puppy

For your puppy, house training is a huge step in their life. It’s one of the first chances for your puppy to learn boundaries in your home and with you, so it’s important to create a routine. If you need to, it might help to hire a trainer or behaviourist to help establish the ground rules up front.

We’ve put together some puppy house training tips to help you on the way.

House training DOs:

  • Establish boundaries for where going to the toilet is acceptable. Returning to the same spot outside will take the guesswork out of most trips.
  • Stick to a feeding schedule. Your puppy’s toilet routine will usually follow his feeding schedule, so you can use feeding as a way to regulate your pup.
  • Stick to a toilet schedule. The amount of time you need to completely house train your puppy can vary, but it’s important to stick to the same schedule for the duration of training. Have clear times throughout the day when you take your puppy outside to pee – generally about 15-30 minutes after your puppy has eaten. Note that puppies tend to need to go shortly after they eat.
  • When you begin house training your puppy, pay attention to signs that your puppy needs to go to the toilet. Keep him in sight as much as possible. If he starts to go in front of you, interrupt him and take him outdoors quickly. If your puppy exhibits signs like sniffing an area, whining (once he is better trained) or going to the door, clip a leash to his collar and take him to an appropriate spot.
  • Set verbal commands. Pick a phrase like "go outside," then say it calmly whenever your pup is going.
  • Praise your puppy and give him a treat immediately after he goes to the toilet in the right place. Over time, he will come to link your command words with the action of going.
  • Consult your vet if your puppy doesn’t respond to regular training techniques.
  • House training DON’Ts:

  • Don’t leave your puppy unsupervised for too long.
  • Don’t punish your puppy after he has gone to the toilet in the wrong place. Punishing your puppy after the fact could just make the problem worse.
  • Don’t hit your puppy. A puppy is unable to connect punishment with a past mistake and will believe you are angry for no reason, possibly leading to fear and confusion.
  • When you are house training your puppy, don’t rub his nose in his mess. This will just scare him and may cause him to avoid you.