Housebreaking a puppy should be based on prevention rather than punishment. A key to housebreaking a puppy or dog for that matter is close supervision. In just a matter of seconds your puppy can have an accident, so to help prevent that from occurring you should watch for signs that your puppy needs to potty. If your puppy starts to run in circles, sniffing at the door or suddenly runs out of site, that he/she is trying to let you know it’s potty time.
Another way that helps in housebreaking a puppy is keeping his diet consistent. High quality premium brand dry puppy food is a better choice that canned food or table scrapes. If you need to change his food for any reason try and do it gradually over a period of 5-8 days, gradually increasing the amount of new food each day. Remember, the more changes you make the more difficult housebreaking your puppy will be.
During the day when your puppy can not be supervise I highly recommend your puppy or young dog be kept in a crate or a small confined area. If done properly crate training is a safe and very effective way of housebreaking a puppy . In order for the crate to be used in housebreaking a puppy it should not be used for long periods of time or for punishment.
This my sound like common sense but puppies need to urinate soon after they eat, drink water or sleep, those having troubles housebreaking a puppy tend not to think about that. Another thing that is over looked is the fact that most puppies over 13 weeks of age will need to go 8 or 10 times a day.
So, keep a record of your puppies potty times for a few days. The secret to housebreaking a puppy is figuring out the amount of time between potty times and subtracting about 15 – 20 minutes. For housebreaking a puppy we call the “Safety Zone”. By doing this we can figure out how long our little puppy can be trusted to hold out after his last potty break.
Another trick to housebreaking a puppy is not setting him up to fail, what I mean by this not allowing him access to areas carpeting, rugs, etc. Puppies like certain areas to do their business, when you find one (or he does), make a note of it and try and keep him away from it.
When your little angel does have an accident despite his best intentions use a neutralizer with an enzyme based deodorizer to clean the area…there are a number of pet safe products available and should be added to your housebreaking kit.
One area that is overlooked is submissive peeing, it is completely involuntary and scolding your puppy for it will do more harm than good and should be avoided at all cost.
The last thing you need to do when housebreaking a puppy is to use lots of praise. Find a trigger word both you and your puppy can live with and use that in combination with praise and rewards as soon as your puppy potties ( I use “go potty”). This positive reinforcement lets your puppy know that you’re pleased with him and he’ll try even harder to please you.
Those are just a few of the tips for housebreaking a puppy . I hope this helps both you and your puppy.