Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Strategies for Housebreaking Your Puppy

Housebreaking your puppy can make or break the relationship you have with your dog. I have known many people who just never get past the housebreaking training. They get so frustrated after a few months of cleaning up dog poop, or steam cleaning their carpeting after accidents that they look for a new home for their puppy.

Take a look at Craig's List or the classified ads in the newspaper and you will see so many dogs from 6 months to 1 ½ years old that are being given away. The dog owners are fed up with the aggravation of a dog that cannot be housebroken. The fact is that all puppies can be housebroken if given the time and the patience.

There are many different housebreaking methods; most of them will do the trick. Go to the library, browsing the pet section. You will find a wide variety of dog training books which contain chapters on housebreaking your puppy.

The keys to housebreaking are to be consistent, and patient. You can't expect a puppy to be housebroken in a week. You have to consistently apply the training method you have chosen. Don't try to switch methods every few days, figuring another training method be more effective. This will only confuse your puppy while he is only trying to please you.

Physically, a puppy cannot be completely free of accidents in the house. His brain is not fully developed enough to control his bodily functions. This does not mean that the puppy is not learning, just that he cannot help himself at the moment. If you are persistent with the puppy's training, and follow through with your training method, your puppy will be completely trained between the ages of 3 to 5 months.

Female dogs are usually easier to train than males because they will urinate or defecate only once when brought outside. Male dogs, on the other hand, will urinate and defecate several times, marking their territory as a sign of dominance. A neutered male dog will also be easier to train because the urge to dominate is diminished. Keep this in mind when housebreaking your puppy.

Here are a few tips and strategies to housebreaking your puppy:

  • Decide the housebreaking method that you feel will work out for your situation.
  • Make a schedule to follow during the first few weeks of training: feeding, watering, and walking your puppy.
  • Control the amount of food and treats you give your puppy. Irregular feeding can make housebreaking much harder.
  • Make sure your pet has all the water he needs during the day, but limit water intake at night to avoid accidents. This is only temporary, until your puppy gets a little older, and can control himself. If your puppy appears thirst, certainly give him more water, but a limited amount during the night should be okay.
  • Don't let your puppy wander around the house while being housebroken. Dogs don't like to mess in their sleeping area, so limiting your puppy's space will make housebreaking easier.
  • If you see your puppy sniffing the floor, it probably means he has to go out. Distract him immediately and bring him outside.
  • Take your puppy to the same spot every day to relieve himself. The scent of previous visits will urge him to go quickly.
  • In the beginning, your puppy will need many trips outside. Gradually spread out the times that you bring him outside, making a regular schedule that fits your lifestyle.
  • Catching the puppy in the act is one of the quickest ways for him to realize he is doing something wrong. Be firm with him, keep him with you while you are cleaning up the accident, and let him know you are displeased. The puppy will feel completely guilty, associating your displeasure with his actions.

These are methods I have used through the years to train my puppies. They are traditional ways to housebreak a puppy. Depending upon your circumstances, whether you are in the city, working all day, at home, or in the country will determine the housebreaking method that is best for you and your pup. Do your research and begin the training. Good luck with your new puppy!

If anyone has any housebreaking ideas or methods that have worked, please leave a comment to help others housebreak their puppies.


  1. Thanks for the tips. I got a 10 week old puppy over the weekend, and started using the outline you gave on housebreaking a puppy. I was surprised at how effective it was.

    My pup has not had an accident in the house or during the night in the 4 days we've had him. I know this isn't a very long time, but I was expecting him to have accidents all the time.

    I've heard so many horror stories about housebreaking a puppy, and how much work it is.

    This has made housebreaking much easier. Thanks again.

  2. The first thing I plan to do after I get my own apartment is get a dog. I still haven’t decided if I want to get a puppy or an adult dog from a shelter. Right now getting an adult dog from a shelter (that has some training already) sounds like the better option as I don't know that I'll have time for Puppy Training. Either way this post has good advice I'll remember for when I get my dog.

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  4. Awesome guidelines! I know so many people that have given up. They think housebreaking your dog is just a 123 process when in fact it takes a lot of planning and patience as you mentioned.

  5. housebreaking an older dog
    wow... find it interesting... hope it'll be beneficial for me and my friends...

  6. greetings to all.
    I would first like to thank the writers of this blog by sharing information, a few years ago I read a book called costa rica investment in this book deal with questions like this one.

  7. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this. I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me. Thanks!

    Kind Regards,

    Elayne Taylor

    Dog Training Collars