Housetraining Tips

Most puppies learn their “foot preference” in the first 6 months of life. If during this time you teach them appropriate places to potty, they will usually be housetrained for life. An older dog who suddenly starts to house soil should see a vet. An older dog who has moved to a new house or has never been house trained can be trained just like a puppy. Make sure to clean up all accidents with an enzyme cleaner to remove all smells (urine and poo smells say “go here!” to your dog). Dogs also usually avoid soiling where they eat or sleep–so leave them in a favorite snuggle spot (not the washroom!) when you leave and, if necessary, play with your feed location to reduce soiling (most dogs don’t like to potty where they eat).

  • A journal can be an invaluable tool for solving soiling problems. When and where does your dog have accidents? Is it all over the house, or just one room? Is it during the day, or night? Is the urine darkly colored or the stools loose and runny? Does the dog eliminate when you are home, or right after you leave? Does the dog cry a lot? Take notes on these topics and help us help you!
  • A dog with health problems may not be able to control their bladder or bowels. Worms, urinary tract infection, food allergies, SIBO, EPI and anxiety are just a few of the medical problems than can cause house soiling. Stop by the vets office and make sure your dog is in great health!
  • A crate can be used to help house training, but is not necessary. Dogs really do love their crates if they have a history of positive experiences with them. However, excessive use of a crate can cause boredom, frustration, anxiety, and even increase house training problems! Please use your crate responsibly (age appropriate, but we don’t recommend more than a *total* of 2 hrs a day).
  • One effective alternative method is to use baby gates or an expen to restrict the dogs access, saving your carpets and speeding up training.

Housetraining Set-Up

  • Block off other rooms–keep your puppy in the main room of the house–where you hang out an snuggle. Use baby gates or xpens to restrict your dog to a small area. This room should be a place where you spend most of your time. Dogs like to be with their human–especially when they are puppies! Most dogs also avoid soiling in places they sleep or snuggle.
  • If you must leave your dog alone, build a “room” with xpens. In your dogs ‘room’ place their kennel, food and water, and some toys. Allow enough room away from the kennel for your dog to potty if need be.
  • Pee pads can cause problems–dogs often just use the same room, not the pad! Avoid pee pads unless absolutely necessary.
  • Puppy proof your dogs ‘room’ by removing everything from your waist down that does not belong to your dog. Provide lots of safe fun things to chew on instead–different types of textures and shapes (Empty TP rolls, frozen carrots, real meat bones, cardboard recycling).
  • Walk your dog so he is ready for a nap before you leave–dogs who are sleeping metabolize slower and are less likely to need to potty.

Further Housetraining Tips

  • Never punish. If your dog is having accidents, then you need to problem solve and make it easier for the pup. Check your current protocol and adjust where necessary.
  • Take your pup out very frequently (every 15 min to 1/2 hr depending on age and ability!).
  • Feed your dog on a schedule. Most adult dogs are fed twice a day. Puppies may be fed as much as 4 times a day, depending on age. Most dogs eliminate about 20 minutes after a meal, plus or minus. Pups may eliminate immediately after meals or drinking.
  • Never punish. If your dog is having accidents, then you need to problem solve and make it easier for the pup. Check your current protocol and adjust where necessary.
  • Take your pup out very frequently (every 15 min to 1/2 hr depending on age and ability!).
  • Feed your dog on a schedule. Most adult dogs are fed twice a day. Puppies may be fed as much as 4 times a day, depending on age. Most dogs eliminate about 20 minutes after a meal, plus or minus. Pups may eliminate immediately after meals or drinking.
  • Never punish. If your dog is having accidents, then you need to problem solve and make it easier for the pup. Check your current protocol and adjust where necessary.
  • Take your pup out very frequently (every 15 min to 1/2 hr depending on age and ability!).
  • Feed your dog on a schedule. Most adult dogs are fed twice a day. Puppies may be fed as much as 4 times a day, depending on age. Most dogs eliminate about 20 minutes after a meal, plus or minus. Pups may eliminate immediately after meals or drinking.
  • Take your dog outside, on a leash, to the designated potty area 5-20 minutes after they eat. Take them out immediately after waking up or playing. Take them out every 30 minutes (every 15 minutes for young puppies). Some dogs need a little exercise to get the pipes going–think 5 minutes of play. Then become boring. Stand in the same area and let them sniff around while on leash. As soon as they eliminate, praise and reward and take them for a *fun* 5 minute (or longer) walk). If pup does not eliminate, return them to their room and try again in 5 to 10 minutes.
  • If your puppy is out for more than 10 minutes, they may need to eliminate again before coming inside.
  • Once your dog is “accident free” for 3 days, you can increase the time between walks. Try increasing by 5 minutes–if that works, go for 15 minutes. If he has any accidents, go back to a prior step and work from there.

Housetraining Resources

House to House Train Your Dog or Puppy – Humane Society

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/housetraining_puppies.html?referrer=https://www.google.ca/

House Training a Puppy or Rescue – Kikopup YouTube video

https://youtu.be/QvPiFcG7ROI

Excitement and Submissive Urination

https://positively.com/dog-behavior/nuisance-behaviors/potty-problems/submissive-urination/

Verena Schleich

Verena Schleich

Verena (KPA-CTP, Family Paws Parent Educator, and certified in Pet Loss Companioning) lives in rural Ontario, Canada, with her two dogs and a cat. She is also an admin on the Dog Training 101: Community Forum page on Facebook.