House training a puppy - a simple guide for all new puppy owners

The Blue Dog Blog graphics  11png

Guess what...puppies don't come fully house trained!  As a puppy parent you need to help them understand where to go to the toilet by house training them.  This takes effort and commitment on your part, but that will pay dividends going forwards by reducing the time it takes to toilet train your pup.

Starting your house training from day one will set your puppy up for success and reduce the time it takes to toilet train your puppy.

Top tips for successful puppy house training:

The Blue Dog Blog graphics  10png

1) Decide where you want your puppy to toilet

You might choose to start your puppy's house training outside straightaway in a designated toileting spot If it is safe and practical to do so. That's probably not an option if you are in a flat, have no outside area or if the weather is too cold ore wet. If teaching them to toilet outside is not an option, you can start toilet training your puppy inside using puppy training pads.

When using puppy pads, it can be useful to place them in one spot next to the door you use to access your garden.  This will help your puppy learn to go to that door when they need to toilet.

Often the use of puppy pads can add another unnecessary layer to the housetraining process. Wherever possible and if you have a safe outdoor space, it is helpful to ditch the puppy pads and train your pup to toilet outside as early as you can.  Ideally teaching them to toilet on different surfaces.  

2) Always supervise your puppy to prevent toileting accidents

Commit to supervising your puppy at all times to prevent them wandering off and peeing and pooing out of sight.  

Designate a 'puppy monitor' to keep an eye on puppy at all times.  Their job is to watch out for puppy showing signs of needing the toilet.  These may include sniffing, going to exits or circling.  As soon as they spot any toileting signs, the puppy monitor should take puppy immediately to the toileting spot.

When puppy has toileted it's important that the puppy monitor rewards them with a tasty treat for going to the toilet in the right place.  Reward based training helps a puppy learn that going to the toilet in the right place means pawsome things happen so they are more likely to do it again!

3) Create puppy zones in the home and garden 

Giving puppy free run of the house can make house training almost impossible.  If puppy can freely pee and poo wherever they are, they won't learn to toilet in the right spot.

You can't supervise your puppy for 24 hours a day,  so management of the home environment will play a huge part in toilet training and in keeping puppy safe.  

By creating safe zones and managing your environment you are limiting opportunities for your puppy to make a bad choice, and instead are setting them up for success.

Management options could include:

  • Closing doors to rooms you don't want puppy to access
  • Using baby gates on stairs and other doorways
  • Movable screens
  • Utilising dens and pens 
  • Popping them on a lead when outside to stop them wandering off
Find out more about some of the puppy zoning  products we have found useful.

4) Give them as many opportunities as possible to toilet in the right place and reward success

Puppies have tiny bladders which means that they need to pee frequently. Encourage them to toilet in the right place every hour or so to begin with and reward them whenever they toilet successfully.

In addition, take your puppy to their toileting place after:
  • They wake - puppies usually need to pee immediately after waking up so make sure you take them to their toileting spot without delay.
  • After playtime
  • Shortly after eating
  • Shortly after drinking
  • Before bed
  • Through the night as needed

5) Shrug off toileting accidents

If an accident does happen, and it no doubt will, don't tell your puppy off.   Remember that toilet training accidents are usually down to you, not your puppy. You may have forgotten to toilet them, missed the signs or let them wander unsupervised.  

Ensure that all previously soiled areas are thoroughly cleaned with a enzymatic cleaner to eliminate any odour and make sure you give your puppy the opportunity to get it right next time.

6) Get support from a qualified dog trainer if you need it

If you are struggling with house training or any other puppy training issues seek advice from a qualified dog trainer. 

I offer puppy parents  a range of 121 support options both in person and virtually.  Find out more about my puppy training services.

Services graphics Nov 22 15 1png

Subscribe to The Happy Pack for four pawsome free dog training downloads!

Free resource graphics May 2024 Facebook Coverpng