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There are many ideas on housebreaking puppies.

  You will find that Gina has broken down a frustrating process and made it easy to understand. 

Gina Lyn Hayes 

Just Dogs Training

Housebreaking can be a very frustrating time in both the new owner and the puppy's life. It requires both work and serious consistency. Quite often, we have unrealistic expectations. We expect the puppy to learn immediately. If they have accidents, we blame them, instead of putting the blame more appropriately, on us, the new owners. At any rate, let's make this an easier time to get through!

If you have had a puppy in the past who trained itself almost immediately- understand that the new puppy that you have now may not be the same! You must accept this - no dog is the same as another. I hate to humanize, but no child or adult is the same, right? So why would we ever expect dogs to be the same?


First, you, as the new puppy owner, MUST be consistent. If you can not be, then you really need to look at why you have a dog. There is not magic wand for housebreaking - it's lots of work. Occasionally we get those pups that almost train themselves - But don't count on it!don's punish the puppy by sticking its nose in the poo or pee, or yell "NO", or give it the entire house when it isn't housebroken and then freak out when the puppy has an accident. Let's all take a deep breath and use common sense.

What does housebreaking mean exactly? To me, a puppy is housebroken when it no longer pees or poos in the home. But also, means, the puppy tells me when it has to go out. And it also means, that the puppy has learned to eliminate upon verbal command, such as "Do hurry ups" or "Hurry up, go potty". Crate trained does not mean the puppy is housebroken _ although some breeders would love for you to believe that! So we now know that each puppy is different, yelling or punishing the puppy is not going to expedite the housebreaking matter, and that we need to be consistent. So lets get busy!!


First, figure out where the puppy is going to pee/poo on a regular basis. Do you have a yard or is this an apartment with concrete sidewalks? Find the "spot" and remember it.

The first week I have a puppy their world is very confined. In my own home, my two room kitchen (not to big, but not to small) is gated off from the rest of the house when I have a litter or a new puppy. I recommend a wire crate, not to small, because I want the puppy to have lots of room to turn around or move about. This should

Not be an airplane under seat travel crate. For those that work or may be gone for several hours, I also recommend a exercise pen you can attach to the front of the wire crate. If I have to go to work, I will place a geriatric chux or overnight pad in one area of the play yard, along with a bowl of water, a couple of toys, a bone and a blanket in the crate.By the way I do not buy most of the pee pads that are sold nation wide. They are normally  very thin and puppies love to tear them apart. At any rate, the play yard may be the best solution for those who have to go to work and are unable to have someone come in and watch the puppy. If the owner is able, it would be wonderful to have someone come in midday and take the puppy out for  pee/poo time. The play yard allows for more space than just a crate, which makes new puppy owners feel less guilty about leaving the puppy alone. Unless I am talking the puppy outside to eliminate, walking the puppy or resting on the couch with the puppy the kitchen area is or crate area is that puppy's environment. Please don't get pulled into the guilty " the puppy needs more room" thought. I want to enjoy my puppy for many years, but I need to take the time to train so that we enjoy many years. As the puppy becomes more and more reliable with potty training, I expand their world slowly. If I've moved to fast and the puppy is having accidents all over, I immediately go back and start again. 

First thing in the morning, as soon as I get up - I take the puppy by leash (a flexi-leash or longer flat leash) outside. I go to the same potty spot each and every time. I stand in one spot and give command " Do hurry up" or "go potty". I don't say "Do pee pee/ poo poo". My reason is simple; "I don't want to embarrass myself" in front of my neighbors. Also, anyone who comes over to help me with my puppy, may not appreciate saying those words.  Also, I travel with my puppy, I'm not going to stand on a Manhattan street saying those words! I also want to teach the puppy to "Hurry up" which means to eliminate quickly. Pretty simple. huh?


Ok, we are now outside, and I've given the potty command. I stand in one spot for a maximum 5 minutes and give the potty mantra. If I walk around with the puppy, quite often they get distracted by scents, sights, sounds and forget about going. Or they eliminate a little  and we bring them in, only to have them eliminate in our home - Because they never finished the first place. I can always  take the puppy for a reward walk after they have pottied if I choose.


If I don't think they are done going, and 5 minutes have passed - I take them in the house and we confine them. I take them back out in 20 minutes and so the same steps all over again. We are actually teaching the puppy to eliminate upon command and also that command means to do it quickly. It is not any different than teaching a puppy to eat quickly, by picking up the dog bowl after 10 minutes and removing any leftover food. We do that with out issues - so should we stick to the 5 minute time frame! You'll see some puppy owners walking forever around and around  and around. The puppy has trained them well !!! A few years ago I received a delightful call from a very proud owner. He informed me how his dog was housebroke and even had a special talent! His dog "knew" how proud he was of his yard - so he refused to go potty in his yard. Instead the dog owner walked him up to 20 times per day.......who trained who?

For the first month, I keep a daily log in full and half hour increments. I take the time to write down the time I feed the puppy, when I take it out, what it does, or doesn't do when I take it out, and when the puppy has an accident in the house. This chart will help me track  and learn when the puppy need to poo, if it had accidents, are they around a certain time each day, what is going on when there are accidents, ect. This speeds up the housebreaking process. I usually allow one month for serious training where consistency from the owner is a MUST! But also gathering this information helps me know if my dog is sick, has an upset tummy, ect. (if I know when each day my dog poos or pees.

I feed a consistent diet. I use a good quality dry food. (kibble) If I want to add a training treat, I may add just the kibble or even cheerios, which is healthier and less likely  to upset a small tummy. By keeping a cleaner diet, it also helps with housebreaking.


Now let's move on to step 2 of the housebreaking process - Notifying the owner it need to go out - 

This is just as important. If I am taking a shower, I can not see the puppy walk over to the door and stand there for a minute and then pee. So, I need a more clear and loud alert from my puppy. I teach the bells. Very simple process, but each pup learns at it's own speed. String a set of bells (size appropriate to the puppy I would not use a set of heavy sleigh bells with a teacup Yorkie) from the door handle down to the floor or where the puppy can reach them easily with either nose or paw. Use the door that the puppy will be going out to potty. Every time I take the puppy out to go potty, I will ask " Do you want to go potty? Tell me".  I then take the puppy's paw and quickly ring the bell, saying "good boy/girl" and get them out immediately. I will do this routine over and over again, placing a really good foundation on the puppy until they have this alert down pat. The bells are easy and portable. I can hang them on any hotel door, a family members door - in other words, it makes it easier to travel with my puppy.


Good luck and enjoy this special time!  

Gina Lyn Hayes

Copyright 2009


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