Teaching your dog the ropes on where they should do their business is one that requires great amounts of patience. 

If you have ever house trained a puppy, you know that it is quite the process and that you will be cleaning up plenty of messes. Successfully house training your pet, though, can be done and it is a skill that will benefit them (and you!) for their lifetime. 

House training a pet relies on the same approach as you would take with teaching commands or how to walk on a leash. This means rewarding your pet for good behavior. But how do you do this? 

You’re in luck! The team at Brodie Animal Hospital  is here with some simple suggestions for how to train your pet to go potty where they should. Let’s begin!

Basics of House Training Puppies

Training your pet to pee and poop outside means understanding their needs. When it comes to puppies, this training is likely their first experience with any kind of training. 

House training is a great introduction into positive training methods, or reward-based training. Because of the size of your puppy, they will need to be taken out more frequently, usually every 30 minutes and especially after eating or drinking water. Older dogs can wait an hour or so, but be mindful about supervising them at all times inside.

Adult dogs who continue to have accidents may be more challenging to train, but it isn’t impossible. 

Like puppies, you have to assume they need to start with the basics, including crating them when they are not able to be next to you. Crate training involves acclimating your dog to time spent in a crate. Make this time enjoyable by placing cherished toys, a bed, and dental chews inside, so they look at the crate as a den just for them.

The reason behind crating is that your dog won’t want to have an accident in a place they sleep. This is an instinct from their wild canid cousins, by the way. 

Rewarding Good Behavior

The basis of house training is to teach your pet where to go using rewards. These rewards can include a plastic clicker that many pets enjoy because they emit a click noise whenever pressed. Treats are the main motivator of most chow hounds, but one too many treats should be avoided. Opt for some small, rewards-based treats to do the job. 

Don’t forget verbal praise when your pet “goes potty” in the right spot. In combination, a treat, a click from the clicker, and a “good dog” praise, really reinforces your pet’s desire to please.

Where to Potty

Find a spot in the yard where you want your pet to consistently go during their training. This makes it easy for them to identify the correct potty spot. 

If your pet has an accident on a rug or other item, use the odor to your advantage. Place the dirty rug, item of clothing, or whatever it is that was used on the spot where you want your pet to potty. They will associate the smell with their own and will eventually learn that it is their new bathroom. 

The 1-2-3-4s of Training

Use repetition and reward to teach your fur friend where to go and when. They will adjust to the schedule of going outside after they eat, when you get home from work, and so on. Acclimate them to the right way to do their business through the following simple steps.

  1. Supervise your pet at all times. This is when they are first learning the basics of house training. During the first few weeks, plan on keeping your pet next to you, unless they are in a crate. When they start to sniff around or circle, that is your cue to exit to the yard.
  2. Use the crate properly. Keeping a young puppy in a crate through the night is a good practice to avoid accidents, but remember that they will need to be taken out often. Puppies need to go out every few hours at night and more frequently during the day. An older pet can be trained using crating methods, too, but never leave  your pet for more than a few hours in their crate.
  3. Use commands to redirect your pet. If you see your pet about to pee or poop inside, get them to the yard and exclaim, “outside” or “potty outside”, so this startles them before they make a mistake (without punishing). The commands, “sit” and “wait” can be useful during any form of training to keep your dog from having accidents or other negative behaviors.
  4. Use your rewards consistently. Your dog will quickly learn that going outside is associated with good things, be them clicks, “good dogs”, and other forms of praise and rewards.

How to House Train Your Dog

If you would like additional suggestions on how to house train your dog, we are here for you. Please give our team a call or set up a consultation. In time and with the right rewards-based training methods, your pet will be the star of potty training!