How to Housetrain your puppy

Housebreaking dogs today requires a new approach.

Housebreaking your dog, when your not home.

Housebreaking a dog in today’s family, requires a slightly different approach than thirty years ago. When we used to housebreak a puppy, it was easy as pie. Our puppy went in his crate, we let him out every couple of hours to relieve himself and there was harmony in our world. Then as the economy changed and everything started getting more expensive, the day of the single income family became extinct. And the rise of the two income family became the norm.

Along with the evolution of the two income households, was the first hints of trouble on the puppy housebreaking front. No longer was there someone home during the day to take care of the housebreaking chores. Now it was left up to the puppy himself, to try and figure out. Unfortunately even if he was the Einstein of puppies, intellectually wise. He still had the bladder control of drunken sailor on shore leave.

Hell has no furry like a scorned puppy owner. That’s to say, we weren’t to impressed with puppy juniors abstract art form of browns and yellows, reminiscent in style to a child’s finger painting art.

Housebreaking your puppy in our world today.

Puppy housebreaking supplies you will need.

  • Dog crate, if choosing to housebreak using a dog crate. Buy a crate that your dog will comfortably fit in when he is an adult. As an adult dog, the dog crate must be large enough to allow him to stretch out his legs while sleeping on his side without his legs being all scrunched up. The dog crate can also be a useful deterrent for destructive behaviors. It doesn’t allow your puppy or dog the opportunity to chew stuff up, while your not at home.
  • Exercise or puppy pen, this is my preferred method. Probably because when I housebreak puppies, I’m housebreaking eight or ten puppies at a time. Even know you will only be housebreaking one puppy, If you have the space for a puppy pen it’s just nicer for your little guy. This way when your at work all day he will have ample room to play and exercise.
  • Lots of newspapers or puppy pads. Newspapers are preferred for two reasons, 1; The unsold newspapers you can get for free, from any store. 2 ; Because some puppies love chewing up the puppy pads, I don’t really recommend them. But the choice is yours.
  • Paper towels, 12 or 15 pack roll they go fast. Use an enzyme cleaner if your puppy will be going back into his area relatively quickly after cleaning. Otherwise clean his area with bleach.
  • If your floor is wood, tile, or carpet buy a 6’x9′ piece of linoleum flooring to go under your dog crate or puppy pen. Liquids routinely slop out of crate trays, so don’t think your floor is safe.

Whether your choice is a crate or a puppy pen, you line the entire flooring of your puppies area with newspapers. Must be a minimum of five or six sheets of newspaper thick, this guarantee’s total absorption of the urine. And makes it much easier for us to clean, if the urine never actually reaches the flooring.

Your puppy housebreaking efforts are going to take awhile. Most puppies don’t become reliably housebroken until their about eighteen months of age, give or take a month or two. Reliable means your puppy will be able to hold it, for eight to ten hours.

As your puppy reaches the age of four or five months, you can start removing small sections of newspapers and see if he continues to “hit” the remaining newspapers. Do not be in such a rush to make his “paper” area smaller. You want to firmly establish, his “habit” of going to the bathroom on the papers.

The Spirit Dog

P.S. Their are numerous housebreaking ads on the Internet that claim to be able to housebreak your puppy in 7 days. That’s the equivalent of a baby potty training ad that says, potty train your baby in 4 weeks. It’s just not gonna happen, so save your money.

Additional information

Housebreaking puppy training, The new logical approach

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10 Responses

  1. Hello Rachel,

    Your not going to confuse him, so don’t concern yourself to much about it. Most little guys like to sleep on their puppy pads at least you got lucky that he didn’t try and tear it up, which some puppies love to do.

    Four hours and than another three hours in the crate may be pushing it a little bit, so don’t get angry or surprised if he relieves himself in there.

    In regards to your kids, there’s a lot of adults that cannot handle that responsibility

    Anyway when your housebreaking a little guy, more room is better than a little room. Yea, I know everybody talks about the denning instinct that only really applies to older animals.

    Did you see this post ?

    Good Luck. And if you need additional help, ask.

  2. We brought Jackson, an Alaskan Malamute, home on Dec. 10th. He was 7 weeks old. I have housebroken several dogs over the years, but this one has me baffled. My main problem is that December means a lot of school vacation time and honestly, it’s not been very consistent. My kids can’t stand to hear the Malamute “howl” when he’s in the crate and I’m at work. So they let him out and let me tell ya, a 10 & 13 year old cannot handle the responsibility of housebreaking. We’ve made a little headway and follow the “rules” of praise & reward, constant supervision, a loud noise when we catch him in the act, proper cleaning with Nature’s Miracle, etc. I even kept a puppy pad down “just in case” and was actually surprised when he went to it on his own. Worked a couple of times, but now the little guy likes to sleep on his puppy pad!! This week everyone’s back where they are supposed to be. Have I waited to long to start the crate training method? We’ve put him in there a few times when we’ve been gone for a few hours, but not consistently as needed for housebreaking. Have I confused him with trying to meld three methods into one? Is it okay to switch methods midstream? He is now 11 weeks and he will be in the crate from 8 to noon, then 12:45 to 3. It’s the best I can do with our schedule.

  3. Hello Erica

    This may help, if you have the room.

    Also what is the consistency of her bowel movement ? A nervous animal will have loose stool. You didn’t mention how old she is, just that you have had her about six weeks. So I’m guessing she’s about three and a half / four months old.

    I know it’s currently driving you crazy but please read the “Logical Approach ” post.

    Then read this.

    Erica, if after reading the provided links you still need help email me. I’ll have questions I will need answered, to further help you out.


  4. We have had our puppy for about a month and a half. She goes fine throughout the night because we wake ourselves up around 3am to let her out and she rarely goes potty in our room. But, she constantly goes poo in her kennel. We tried to shorten her kennel, but she could care less that its there and steps and lays in it if the kennel is small or large. I or my husband comes home for lunch to let her out, so the most she is in the kennel is for 4 hours. I have video taped her and she will go about 5 minutes after I leave. It is starting to get frustrating cleaning the kennel and giving her a bath almost everyday. We tried the No-potty spray and that still did not work. We need help!

  5. Hi Ginger

    It takes puppies longer to learn how to hold their bladder, as apposed to their bowl movement. Not that, that helps you any.

    Only some dogs turn in circles before taking a poop, most dogs don’t do that. This is a baby and your not making any mistakes by missing something.

    I didn’t really understand when you said, ” However, if she is free in the house (she only is allowed in our family room or our kitchen) for more than 15 minutes she inevitably pees on the floor”. Does that mean she’s in other rooms, besides the kitchen and family room ?

    A couple things that may help is ,

    1- is that a reasonable accurate amount of time before she pees, the 15 minutes. Or is that more or less a guess?

    2- if this is an accurate time than take her back outside after 10 or 12 minutes, or put her back in the crate for a little while. Before taking her back outside.( we often have to experiment a little to find out what works best )

    3- When you do take her outside and she pees, how many times does she pee on that particular bathroom break, and what is her normal amount of urine. One or two big pees, or a bunch or little ones ? ( this is stuff that can really help us out in figuring out a more effective routine )

    4- Whenever you take her out , pay close attention to her body language as she goes. This will help you start to see what her signals are.

    A question I do have for you, when you take her outside to go to the bathroom, what are you doing while you are waiting for her. Is she on a leash or loose ?

  6. Hi – I have a puppy that is about 14 weeks old. She is sleeping from 10p-6 or 6:30a without needing to go out and can make it about 4 hours in her crate during the day without a problem. She also responds well to the “go potty” cue when outside whenever I take her out after crating.

    However, if she is free in the house (she only is allowed in our family room or our kitchen) for more than 15 minutes she inevitably pees on the floor (thank goodness the pooping seems to be all good).

    She gives no warning that I can recognize (like sniffing or turning in circles) as she sniffs constantly whenever walking around the house (we have little kids – so crumbs are everywhere). I am so frustrated, because I adore her and I know there is something I am missing.

    I really cannot take my eye off of her for a second and it is so frustrating that the minute I do she pees. As soon as she gets up and walks anywhere I have to assume she is going to pee – which does not give either of us much of a break! It seems like she would pee every 15 minutes if possible, but if I take her out too much she just sits there and stares at me???

    Please, if you have any advice – I’d appreciate it!

  7. Hi Samantha…

    How old is your puppy and is she a little guy or a big guy. And how long have you been trying to housebreak her.

    If you let your puppy roam around free she’s never going to figure out by herself that the newspaper is where she’s suppose to do her business. Very few puppies or dogs like staying in their crate in the beginning, They ALL get used to it, so start putting her in it.

    Click on the link that’s on the above post, that will show you what a puppy pen looks like ,if your not familiar with them. Also remember, she will go to the bathroom in the crate or puppy pen if your out of the house for a long time. That’s why you want a big crate or puppy pen, so when she does go, she doesn’t have to lay in it, until you get home.

    Putting her in the crate is much tougher on you, then it is on her. For her and your sake, put her in there.

    If you need me to be very specific on how to housebreak her, get back in touch with me. I’ll have some questions for you, that I will need the answers to.

    Bye Samantha

  8. I have tryed most of those my puppy does not like to be in a crate i have no idea wat to do with it anymore i put down papper for her wen i leave to go to work she still pees on the carpet i need help

  9. Hi, Cheryl ;

    Hey where in Nassau are you, we were in Babylon before moving north. Can you do us a favor and put a link for on your site. that’s our animal sanctuary.

    Thanks, have a great day.

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