|Puppy House Training FAQ's
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Here are some common questions and answers that help make housetraining work.
Q. Why confine the pup to his doggy den? Why not his playroom?
A. Short-term close confinement allows you to predict when your puppy wants to go so that you may be there to direct
him to the appropriate spot and reward him for doing the right thing in the right place at the right time. During the hour-
long periods of close confinement, as your puppy lies doggo in dreamy repose, his bladder and bowels are slowly but
surely filling up. Whenever the big hand reaches twelve and you dutifully release the pup to run to his indoor toilet or
backyard doggy toilet to relieve himself, your puppy is likely to eliminate pronto. Knowing when your puppy wants to go
allows you to choose the spot and most importantly to reward your puppy handsomely for using it. Rewarding your
puppy for using his toilet is the secret to successful housetraining. If on the other hand the puppy were left in his
playroom, he would most likely use his indoor toilet but would not be rewarded for doing so.
Q. What if my puppy doesn’t like going in his crate?
A. Before confining your puppy to his crate (doggy den), you first need to teach him to love the crate and to love
confinement. This is so easy to do. Stuff a couple of hollow chewtoys with kibble and the occasional treat. Let your
puppy sniff the stuffed chewtoys and then place them in the crate and shut the door with your puppy on the outside.
Usually it takes just a few seconds for your puppy to beg you to open the door and let him inside. In no time at all, your
pup will be happily preoccupied with his chewtoys.
When leaving the puppy in his long-term confinement area, tie the stuffed chewtoys to the inside of the crate and leave
the crate door open. Thus, the puppy can choose whether he wants to explore the small area or lie down on his bed in
his crate and try to extricate the kibble and treats from his chewtoys. Basically, the stuffed chewtoys are confined to the
crate and the puppy is given the option of coming or going at will. Most puppies choose to rest comfortably inside the
crate with stuffed chewtoys for entertainment. This technique works especially well if your puppy is not fed kibble from
a bowl but only from chewtoys or by hand, as lures and rewards in training. To use this method, each morning measure
out the puppy’s daily ration of food into a bag to avoid overfeeding.
Q. What if I don’t like putting my puppy in a crate?
A. Short-term confinement, whether to a crate or tie-down, is a temporary training measure to help you teach your
puppy where to eliminate and what to chew. A dog crate is the best housetraining tool to help you accurately predict
when your dog wishes to relieve herself and is the best training tool to help you to teach your puppy to become a
chewtoyaholic. Once your puppy has learned to eliminate only in appropriate areas and to chew only appropriate
objects, she may be given free run of the house and garden for the rest of her life. You will probably find however, that
after just a few days your puppy learns to love her crate and will voluntarily rest inside. Your puppy’s very own den is a
quiet, comfortable, and special doggy place.
If, on the other hand, your puppy is given unsupervised free run of the house from the outset, the odds are that she will
be confined later on-first to the yard, then to the basement, then to a cage in an animal shelter, and then to a coffin.
Without a doubt, housesoiling and destructive chewing are the two most prevalent terminal illnesses in dogs. Using a
dog crate will help you prevent these problems from ever developing in your puppy.
Q. Why not just leave the puppy outdoors until he is housetrained?
A. Who is going to housetrain your pup outside-a shrub? If the dog is left outside unattended, he will become an
indiscriminate eliminator. Basically, your puppy will learn to go wherever he wants, whenever he wants, and he will
likely do the same whenever you let him indoors. Puppies left outdoors and unsupervised for long periods of time
seldom become housetrained. Also, they tend to become indiscriminate barkers, chewers, diggers, and escapists, and
they may be more easily stolen. Outdoor puppies also become so excited on the few occasions they are invited indoors
that eventually they are no longer allowed inside at all.
Q. Why release the pup every hour? Why not every 55 minutes or every three hours? Is it really necessary to do it
on the hour?
A. Puppies have a 45-minute bladder capacity at three weeks of age, 75-minute capacity at eight weeks, 90-minute
capacity at twelve weeks and two-hour capacity at 18 weeks. Releasing your puppy every hour offers you an hourly
opportunity to reward your dog for using a designated toilet area. You do not have to do this precisely each hour, but it
is much easier to remember to do so each hour on the hour.
Q. Why run the puppy to the toilet? Why not walk sedately?
A. If you take your time getting your puppy to his doggy toilet, you may find that he pees or poops en route. Hurrying
your puppy tends to jiggle his bowels and bladder so that he really wants to go the moment you let him stand still and
sniff his toilet area.
Q. Why not just put the puppy outside? Can’t he do it on his own?
A. Of course he can. But the whole point of predicting when your puppy wants to relieve himself is so you can show him
where and offer well-deserved praise and reward. Thus your puppy will learn where you would like him to go. Also, if
you see your puppy eliminate, you know that he is empty; you may then allow your empty puppy supervised exploration
of the house for a while before returning him to his den.
Q. Why instruct the pup to eliminate? Doesn’t he know he wants to go?
A. By instructing your puppy to eliminate beforehand and by rewarding him for eliminating afterward, you will teach
your pup to go on command. Eliminating on cue is a bonus when you are travelling with your dog and in other time-
constrained situations. Ask your pup to “Hurry up,” “Do your business,” “Go Pee and Poop,” or use some other socially
acceptable eliminatory command.
Q. Why give the puppy three minutes? Isn’t one minute sufficient?
A. Usually, a young pup will urinate within 30 seconds of being released from short-term confinement, but it may take
one or two minutes for him to defecate. It is certainly worthwhile to allow your pup three minutes to complete his
Q. What if the puppy doesn’t go?
A. Your puppy will be more likely to eliminate if you stand still and let him circle around you on leash. If your puppy does
not eliminate within the allotted time, no biggie! Simply pop the pup back in his crate and try again in half an hour.
Repeat the process over and over until he does eliminate. Eventually, your puppy will eliminate outdoors and you will be
able to reward him. Therefore, on subsequent hourly trips to his toilet your puppy will be likely to eliminate promptly.
Q. Why praise the puppy? Isn’t relief sufficient reward?
A. It is far better to express your emotions when praising your puppy for getting it right, than when reprimanding the
poor pup for getting it wrong. So really praise that pup: “Gooooooooood Puppy!” Housetraining is no time for
understated thank yous. Don’t be embarrassed about praising your puppy. Embarrassed dog owners usually end up with
housesoiling problems. Really reward your puppy. Tell your puppy that he has done a most wonderful and glorious thing!
Q. Why offer treats? Isn’t praise sufficient reward?
A. In a word, no! The average person cannot effectively praise a moribund lettuce. And specifically, many owners-
especially men-seem incapable of convincingly praising their puppies. Consequently, it might be a good idea to give the
pup a food treat or two (or three) for his effort. Input for output! “Wow! My owner’s great. Every time I pee or poop
outside, he gives me a treat. I never get yummy treats when I do it on the couch. I can’t wait for my owner to come
home so I can go out in the yard and cash in my urine and feces for food treats!” In fact, why not keep some treats in a
screw-top jar handy to the doggy toilet?
Q. Why freeze-dried liver?
A. Housetraining is one of those times when you want to pull out all of the stops. Take my word for it: When it comes to
housetraining, use the Ferrari of dog treats -freeze-dried liver.
Q. Do we really have to give three liver treats when the puppy pees or poops? Isn’t this a wee bit anal retentive?
A. Yes and no. Certainly you do not have to give your puppy exactly three treats every time. But it’s a funny thing: If I
suggest that people offer a treat each time their puppy eliminates promptly in the right place, they rarely follow
instructions. Whenever I tell people to give three treats, however, they will painstakingly count out the treats to give to
their puppy. Here’s what I am trying to say: Handsomely praise and reward your puppy every time he uses a designated
Q. Why play with the puppy indoors?
A. If you reward your pup for using his doggy toilet, you will know he is empty. “Thank you, empty puppy!” What better
time to play with or train your puppy indoors without facing the risk of a messy mistake. Why get a puppy unless you
want to spend some quality (feces-free) time with him?
Q. Why bother to take an older puppy outdoors for a walk when he’s empty?
A. Many people fall into the trap of taking their puppy outside or walking him so that he may eliminate, and when he
does they bring him indoors. Usually it takes just a couple of trials before the puppy learns, “Whenever my urine or
feces hits the ground, my walk ends!” Consequently, the pup becomes reluctant to eliminate outside, and so when
brought home after a long jiggling play or walk, he is in dire need to relieve himself. Which he does. It is a much better
plan to praise your puppy for using his doggy toilet and then take him for a walk as a reward for eliminating.
Get in the habit of taking an older puppy to his doggy toilet (in your yard or curbside in front of your apartment building),
standing still, and waiting for the pup to eliminate. Praise the pup and offer liver treats when he does: “Good dog, let’s
go walkies!” Clean up and dispose of the feces in your own trash can, and then go and enjoy a poopless walk with your
dog. After just a few days with a simple “no poop-no walk” rule, you’ll find you have the quickest urinator and defecator
Q. What should I do if I’ve done all the above and I catch the puppy in the act of making a mistake?
A. Pick up a rolled newspaper and give yourself a smack! Obviously you did not follow the instructions above. Who
allowed the urine-and-feces-filled puppy to have free-range access to your house? You! Should you ever reprimand or
punish your puppy when you catch him in the act, all he will learn is to eliminate in secret-that is, never again in your
untrustworthy presence. Thus you will have created an owner-absent housesoiling problem. If you ever catch your pup
in the act of making a mistake that was your fault, at the very most you can quickly, softly, but urgently implore your
pup, “Outside, outside, outside!” The tone and urgency of your voice communicates that you want your puppy to do
something promptly, and the meaning of the words instruct the puppy where. Your response will have limited effect on
the present mistake, but it helps prevent future mistakes.
Training Your Puppy!
1. First you need an appropriate sized crate. Preferably you want to get one of the crates that has a divider that can
grow with your puppy because if you get a crate that is too big when they are a puppy, they may still have accidents
in it. It needs to be just big enough that they can lay down comfortably and stand up and turn around comfortably.
2. Find bedding and toys for your crate to make it comfortable and appealing for your puppy. This area should be a
sanctuary for your puppy; so put their favourite chew toy in there with their favourite bed.
3. Place the crate in a busy part of your home that your puppy feels comfortable. You don't want your puppy to
associate the crate with isolation from everyone.
4. Don't ever use the crate as a punishment for the dog.
5. Use the crate when you are home. This way the puppy doesn't associate the crate as a bad place or where they go
when you leave them.
6. When you take your puppy out of the crate, always pick up your puppy right away and bring him/her outside to a
designated 'pee' area. This will help to avoid accidents. Praise your puppy when they go pee outside. Never scold your
puppy when they have an accident in the house, especially if you didn't catch it right away, just clean it up and
disinfect with non-ammonia based cleaner to remove the smell and avoid future accidents.
Crate Training is the start you need for potty training your puppy, as puppies naturally do NOT want to eliminate in
their sleeping area! So if you are not right beside your puppy in the early stages of potty training, use the crate as
When you have your crate set up, it is important to note that puppies have to eliminate within 10 to 20 minutes after
they eat or drink. Puppies will also naturally want to eliminate in the same spot, so find a spot in your yard that you
take them to, that feels safe for the puppy and is easy to get to once out of your house. The scent from previous
urinations on that spot will act as a trigger for them to go there again. It is natural for them to want to go in one spot
and keep the rest of their area clean.
1) Set a routine for your puppy.
2) Start by picking them up and bringing them directly from their crate to the outside in the morning. This is to make
sure that there are no accidents on the way to the door.
3) Give positive reinforcement when they do go potty outside!! This can be with a small treat or a gentle pet and
4) To start off the house training, take the puppy outside within 10-15 minutes after eating and drinking.
5) Take your puppy out every 45 minutes, then extending that time as the days go on. This gives very little chance for
accidents in the house in the first few days being in your home, so they get the idea quickly.
6) NOTE: The most important thing to remember when potty training your puppy is to never scold them for having an
accident. It will only cause more problems when training.
7) Always use positive reinforcement for good behaviour.
Bell Training can be a great tool for your puppy to show you that they have to go outside to potty. It is easier for them
to communicate with a bell versus sitting at the door, or barking when they need to go out.
To bell train, you are going to need to go get a bell that you can hear from a distance. Set the bell up hanging close
enough to the ground that your puppy can reach it with either it's nose or paw.
|Puppy House Training FAQ's