General Rules For Housetraining Your Puppy

Your puppy should be eating dry kibble puppy food.

If you want to feed your puppy a different brand of food than he was getting, do it slowly. Start by mixing one quarter new food to three quarters old food and slowly change the ratio until, by the end of two weeks, you’re feeding your puppy only new food. Changing a puppy’s food too quickly, can cause diarrhea, which will make housetraining more difficult – and messier.

Feeding should be on a set schedule.

You should not leave food available for your puppy except at feeding times. If your puppy has eaten enough and is no longer interested in his food, take his food dish away. Make sure your puppy always has fresh water available, except at night. Do not feed your puppy within two hours of bedtime.

Have patience.

It takes time for your puppy to get the idea of eliminating outside.

Do not punish or reprimand your puppy for making mistakes.

Your puppy will not associate the reprimand or punishment with the mistake.

If you catch your puppy in the process of eliminating in the house, a sharp NO! or a loud noise might stop him. In that case, just quickly pick him up and take him outside.

Putting your puppy outside every couple of hours is NOT housetraining.

Start leash training early.

Leash training should be started as soon as you get your puppy home.

Carry your puppy outside until he is leash trained. Do not drag your puppy outside with his leash and collar.

The number of hours your puppy can probably hold it is equal to 1 plus his age in months. That means a two month old puppy can probably hold it for about 3 hours, but don’t make him wait that long.

Until your puppy is a few months old, you might have to take  him out once or twice a night. It’s better to lose a little sleep and take your puppy out at night than to let him think that’s it’s okay to eliminate in the house.   Once he thinks it’s okay to eliminate in the house, it will take much longer to reliably housetrain him.

Your Puppy normally will not eliminate where he eats or sleeps – unless you give him no other alternative.

Puppy Housetraining Procedure

Follow this procedure and your puppy will be housetrained in the minimum amount of time. Because different breeds, and different puppies within the same breed learn at different rates, it may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. It is important to keep a consistent schedule.


Schedule to take your puppy outside to his potty area every 60 minutes and within 15 minutes of when your puppy has finished eating. Until your puppy is six months old, he should be eating three times a day.

It’s a good idea to keep a written record of each time your puppy peed and pooped. It could look something like this:

  Date        Time Peed   Pooped    Time Peed   Pooped

2/17/12     8:15      X        X                12:30    X        –

Reward your Puppy

Reward your puppy with lavish praise after he has either peed or pooped. You can also give him a treat. Make sure that the reward is immediately after he has finished eliminating. You can play with your puppy after he has finished eliminating, but do it away from the potty area.

If your puppy doesn’t go within 5 minutes after you take him to his designated potty area, bring him back in, and take him out fifteen or twenty minutes later. Keep an eye on him during that fifteen or twenty minutes. If you see him start to sniff the floor and circle around, quickly take him back outside to his potty area.

Pay attention to your puppy

Your puppy should not be left alone for long periods of time. If there is no one in your family that can take your puppy out every sixty minutes, and feed him three times a day, you may have to have a friend, neighbor or hire a dog walker to do it.

Pay attention to your puppy, watching him for sniffing or squatting. If you see him sniffing or squatting, quickly take him outside to his potty area.

Take your puppy out to his potty area within fifteen or twenty minutes after he has finished eating or drinking.

Don’t play with your puppy when you take him out, after he has finished eating or drinking, until he goes. Take him away from his potty area to play with him.

Take your puppy’s water away from him when you go to bed, and give him fresh water first thing in the morning.

Use the same door and the same route to get to the same spot that is our puppy’s potty area.

Give your puppy about five minutes, when you take him out on his 60 minute schedule, to excrete. If he doesn’t do anything after five minutes, bring him back in the house and put him back in his crate or in his confined area. Watch your puppy for any sniffing or squatting for fifteen to twenty minutes. If he starts to sniff or squat, take him out immediately. If he doesn’t sniff or squat after fifteen or twenty minutes, take him out for another five minutes.  Keep doing that until he pees, poops, or both.

Teach your puppy commands

Choose a word or phrase that you want to use for telling your puppy to eliminate. Words like “do your business”, “go potty”, or “go potty here”. Just don’t use a phrase that you would use in normal conversation. When your puppy starts to sniff, go in circles, or squat, start saying the phase you’ve chosen over and over again until your puppy finishes eliminating.

Once he’s done, give him lots of praise, If you keep using the same phrase everytime your puppy eliminates, he will soon associate that phrase with eliminating, and will eventually eliminate on command. It makes it very convenient when you have to take your puppy out in the pouring rain.

Install a doggie door

When your puppy is reliably housetrained, and you have a fenced in yard, you can install a doggie door. That way your puppy will be able to go out by himself. Just make sure the doggie door is large enough to accommodate your dog when he’s full grown. You will have to teach your puppy how to use the doggie door. Here’s how you do it.

Put your puppy’s collar and leash on him.

Take your puppy to the doggie door.

Put the hand loop of the leash through the doggie door.

Open the door, go outside and close the door with your puppy inside and you outside. Make sure that the hand loop of the leash is outside.

Using the leash, coax your puppy to come through the doggie door. Open it slightly with your free hand, if you have to.

When you puppy comes through the doggie door, give him lots of praise.

Now put the hand loop of the leash through the doggie door so that it is inside and you and your puppy are outside.

Open the door and go inside keeping your puppy outside.

Coax your puppy to come through the doggie door again, from outside to inside. Open the doggie door a little bit if your puppy doesn’t push it open by himself.

When he comes through the doggie door, give him lots of praise.

Keep repeating the previous steps until your puppy opens the doggie door by himself when you call him, both to go outside and to go inside.

Now, repeat the exercises without the leash.


If your puppy normally comes to you when you call him, without his leash on, he should come to you through the doggie door when you call him. If he does, your puppy now knows how to use the doggie door.

You can also train your puppy to ring a bell when he has to go out. Here’s how you do it.

Tie a small bell to the doorknob of the door you go out when you take your dog out to go potty. The bell should be even with your dog’s nose.

Every time you take your puppy out to go potty, say “go potty” and ring the bell, then open the door and go out with your puppy.

After doing this for week or two, instead of ringing the bell, just say “go potty” and see if your puppy will nudge the bell to ring it. If he does, he gets lots of praise and/or a treat, then you both go outside so your puppy can go potty. If he doesn’t, you ring it.

Continue doing this until your puppy gets the idea and rings the bell consistently when you say “go potty”. Always give your puppy praise when he rings the bell. And don’t forget to praise your puppy everytime he finishes going potty.

Now, stop saying anything, and see if your puppy rings the bell when you take him to the door to go out to go potty. If he does, give him lavish praise, and take him out. If he doesn’t, say “go potty” and take him out after he rings the bell.

When your puppy rings the bell reliably without you saying anything, wait to see if he goes to the door and rings the bell by himself when he has to go out. When he does, give him lots of praise and a treat, and then take him out. Congratulations! Your puppy is now housetrained.

Don’t forget to raise the bell, as your puppy gets bigger.

House Training Your Puppy

How To Teach Your Dog To Ask To Go Outside – Puppy Potty Training – Professional Dog Training Tips