Housetraining basics - teach your puppy where to go


Understand the basics of motivation and how to teach your puppy to go potty in the correct location. 

This video shows the very basics of a housetraining scenario and describes how to get your puppy on a routine. It is highly recommended that you download my Housetraining Chart and use it to make your housetraining experience more efficient. It is very logical, but it will help keep track of the necessary information to learn your puppy's patterns. Also, see the video about what to do if there are accidents to learn what to do when this occurs. 

The Basics

The whole process of housetraining is actually very simple, but gets complicated when real-life challenges such as sleep, work, dinner and family get in the way! You should familiarize yourself with my long-term confinement video to help create an approved location when you aren't confident your puppy can hold it in the crate. 

To get started with teaching your puppy where to go, simply take him out of the crate, take him to a location and say, "Go Potty". Stand there for 3-5 minutes at the most.

If He Goes Potty

If he goes potty, give him some freedom based on his age. Since a puppy can hold it roughly one hour per month of age, use this as a guide. My recommendation for a 10-week-old puppy is to keep him out of the crate for 1 hour and in the crate for 1 to 1.5 hours. As he gets older, these numbers will increase. Some puppies can only hold it for 15-30 minutes at a time. That is where the Housetraining Chart and the long-term confinement area are really important to learn his patterns and to have him in a safe area if you think he has to go. 

Your puppy can go outside or on pads, whichever option you desire. As long as it is an appropriate location, that is what matters. 

Use an OUTSTANDING treat for 3-5 months after starting housetraining. Sometimes people stop giving treats too soon and have problems. Which would you prefer, giving a few extra treats, or accidents? Hmmm. . . . .

If He Doesn't Go Potty

If he doesn't go potty in 3-5 minutes, bring him back inside and gently put him back in the crate. Circle "0" on the crate and try again in 15-60 minutes. The post about what to do if there are accidents completely explains the use of the Housetraining Chart.

Don't Punish Going Potty

You can inadvertently punish your puppy for going potty if you immediately put him in the crate after he goes potty. A common example of this is if someone has to go to work in the morning and brings their puppy inside to rush to work right after he goes potty. Your puppy can learn that the walk ends as soon as he does his business. 

To avoid this problem, make sure you play with your puppy for at least 15 minutes minimum after going potty before putting him in the crate. 

Barking in Crate

You should normally ignore your puppy for barking in the crate. However, if you think he has to go potty, you can take him out to the potty area and perform the 3-5 minute waiting exercise described above. If he goes potty REWARD and learn his signals, if he doesn't go potty, put him back in the crate and learn to ignore those signals!

The Housetraining Chart will really help you identify signals and patterns. 

Use a Leash

It is important that you use a leash evening if you have a backyard, for the following reasons:

  • You can reward your puppy instantly since he will be right next to you
  • You can keep your puppy from getting distracted and "forgetting" to go potty
  • You can immediately take him inside if he doesn't go in 3-5 minutes

Consistency is Everything

This means that you have to look at all the variables such as time between potty breaks, amount of food and water, and all the other variables discussed in the post about what to do if there are accidents. Slowly add more time in between potty breaks, keeping in mind that your puppy's bladder will get stronger approximately one hour per month of age. So, you should be able to extend the time 15 minutes per week. 

See my other videos for more housetraining tips and other topics. 

Housetraining basics - where should your puppy sle...
Housetraining - what to do if there are accidents

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