House training your puppy is about consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement. The goal is to instill good habits and build a loving bond with your pet.
It typically takes 4-6 months for a puppy to be fully house trained, but some puppies may take up to a year. Size can be a predictor. For instance, smaller breeds have smaller bladders and higher metabolisms and require more frequent trips outside. Your puppy’s previous living conditions are another predictor. You may find that you need to help your puppy break old habits in order to establish more desirable ones.
And while you’re training, don’t worry if there are setbacks. As long as you continue a management program that includes taking puppy out at the first sign he needs to go and offering him rewards, he’ll learn.
Experts recommend that you begin house training your puppy when he is between 12 weeks and 16 weeks old. At that point, he has enough control of his bladder and bowel movements to learn to hold it.
If your puppy is older than 12 weeks when you bring him home and he’s been eliminating in a cage (and possibly eating his waste), house training may take longer. You will have to reshape the dog’s behavior — with encouragement and reward.
Experts recommend confining the puppy to a defined space, whether that means in a crate, in a room, or on a leash. As your puppy learns that he needs to go outside to do his business, you can gradually give him more freedom to roam about the house.
When you start to house train, follow these steps:
A crate can be a good idea for house training your puppy, at least in the short term. It will allow you to keep an eye on him for signs he needs to go and teach him to hold it until you open the crate and let him outside.
Here are a few guidelines for using a crate:
Whining, circling, sniffing, barking, or, if your puppy is unconfined, barking or scratching at the door, are all signs he needs to go. Take him out right away.
Accidents are common in puppies up to a year old. The reasons for accidents range from incomplete house training to a change in the puppy’s environment.
When your puppy does have an accident, keep on training. Then if it still doesn’t seem to be working, consult a veterinarian to rule out a medical issue.
Keep the following do’s and don’ts in mind while housetraining your puppy: