The key to house training your puppy is to prevent accidents inside and reward elimination outside.
Crate training is a wonderful aid to house training because dogs will typically not soil their sleeping area.
When housetraining a puppy, it is important that you take him outside at the times he is most likely to relieve himself. These times include:
- First thing in the morning
- After each meal
- After playtime
- When coming out of his crate
- Once an hour when you are home
Go out with your puppy each time so you can provide feedback when he relieves himself.
Choose an area outside where you will take the puppy each time. Pace back and forth for a maximum of five minutes. Do not interact with the puppy. If he relieves himself, provide huge praise and a treat when he finishes. Then, if you have time, have a play session or go for a walk. If he doesn’t relieve himself, go back into the house and either put him in his crate or supervise him by keeping his leash on. Try again in a half hour. When he eventually goes, pour on the praise and goodies.
While inside the house, your puppy should be supervised at all times. Learn the signals that indicate he needs to relieve himself (circling, restlessness, sniffing). Whenever you see these behaviors, say, “want to go out” and take him outside.
If you catch your puppy in the act, gently scoop her up and take her outdoors to her potty spot. When she goes there, praise effusively.
If the puppy has an accident in the house and you did not see it happen, you must not punish him for it because he will not connect the accident with the punishment. This will only cause your puppy to be afraid of you. Simply clean it up (with an odor neutralizer) and pay better attention next time.