8 Proven Tips on How to House Train a Dog Successfully

Cute dog near a wet spot on the carpet
(Photo: Pixel-Shot/stock.adobe.com)

It is critical to understand how to house train a dog. House training will ensure that your dog learns to eliminate in the appropriate place and avoids poor behaviour. It will also help you avoid problems in the future as your dog grows older.

I devoted a whole day researching strategies to make house training simpler for you. These are strategies I’ve learned from my personal experiences as well as those of other knowledgeable dog owners. The sad reality is that many internet sources fail to provide well-explained information regarding house training. My goal with this article is to fix that.

Keep reading to learn about the essential steps you’ll need to follow when trying to achieve housetraining success.

1. Establish a House Training Schedule and Routine

Dogs thrive when they are kept on a consistent schedule or routine. A typical rule of thumb is that a dog can control its bladder for one hour for every month of its age. So a 2-month-old puppy can wait for 2 hours before going. Be that as it may, it is essential that you do not keep them waiting any longer than this, as doing so increases the likelihood of an accident. Keep in mind that each dog is different, and the amount of time they can hold it will vary.

It is vital to take your puppy outside regularly. Aim to take your dog out for a potty break every 1 to 2 hours. In addition to this, there are other crucial times to be aware of that will influence how successful your dog is with house training.

These times are:

  • First thing in the morning and before going to bed at night.
  • After they have finished playing or after spending time in their crate.
  • After they have eaten and had some water.
  • Immediately upon waking up.

It is ideal if your dog only has one place to relieve itself. This kind of consistency will serve them well during house training. You should stand still and be boring when you take your dog outside to do their business. You don’t want your dog to confuse potty time with playtime. This trip should only have one goal, and that goal should be for your dog to go and eliminate. Any uncertainty here can be the difference between success and failure.

2. When Potty Training, Use a Crate

I’m sure having to crate your dog isn’t the most exciting idea. However, you’ll be surprised at how much easier potty training is with a crate-trained dog. It’s vital to select an appropriate size crate for your dog for this to be a success. This type of crate allows your dog to stand, turn, and lie down comfortably. Make sure the crate is not too big for your dog, as this may cause them to start eliminating in one corner and sleeping in the other. You will want to avoid situations like this. If you do happen to buy a crate that is on the bigger side, you can always add a divider to adjust its size.

You want to teach your dog that your house is also their house when potty training. The crate is your dog’s personal living space. By learning to respect the crate, your dog will start appreciating the rest of the house and learn to take their business outside.

Dog looking through a wire crate
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3. Feeding and Diet Plan

Creating a feeding schedule for your puppy helps make potty training simpler and ensures they eliminate at consistent times throughout the day. Due to this fact, you can plan more accurate potty breaks for your dog. It is essential to realise that setting up a good feeding schedule for your dog is dependant on many different things. Your dog’s age, size, and breed are all significant factors.

Furthermore, make sure that the food your dog eats is of the best quality and is suitable for them. Don’t be afraid to speak with your veterinarian regarding this. As part of your vet’s job, they will help you figure out what kind of food your dog needs and how often they should be fed. All of these factors put together will make for a much easier house training process.

4. Supervising

You know you’ve succeeded in house training your dog when you can manage and supervise their environment well. During house training, you should allow your dog access to the rest of the house while closely monitoring them. You will need to do this over some time. It’s all about managing the areas in which your dog can and cannot eliminate. You must ensure that your dog knows what these are.

If you haven’t already, use a leash the next time; you take your dog out to potty. Eliminating on a leash at home will help your dog get used to peeing on a leash whenever you take them for a walk. A leash will also prevent them from wandering around and becoming distracted by other things that might affect their ability to eliminate.

5. Praising

When your dog eliminates in the correct spot, reward them with their favourite treats or a quick session of playtime. Remember to do it right after they’ve finished. This will help build a positive association between your dog and eliminating outside.

Be cautious of rewarding your dog for phantom peeing. It is essential that you give your dog enough time to eliminate and that you do not rush them. It is entirely OK if your dog does not pee immediately. Let them go inside for 10 to 20 minutes before bringing them back out to potty again. Once again, don’t forget to praise them for eliminating in the correct place.

6. Puppy Pads

Puppy pads are not always the solution as they can often confuse your dog if they need to eliminate outside as well. Nonetheless, they can be handy in certain situations. You may have a job that does not enable you to see your dog numerous times each day. You might live in an area where taking your dog to pee is more than just simply opening the door and letting them do their business, or perhaps you live in a multi-story building.

Puppy pads are justified for all of these reasons. They will allow your dog to eliminate in a designated area while they are indoors. However, you don’t want to do this for too long as it will only extend the house training process. If your dog solely uses puppy pads, they may refuse to eliminate outside. As a result, it is essential that you only use pads if all other options are not available.

A-chihuahua-puppy-looking-while-sitting-on-a-puppy-pad-when learning how to house train a dog
(Photo: Mary Lynn Stran – stock.adobe.com)

7. Recognize That You Will Make Mistakes.

Accept that you will have a few mishaps, especially at the beginning.

Accidents, however, are not the primary worry. What’s important is how you choose to deal with the accidents.

Scolding your dog for making a mess inside will never help, especially if they have already finished. Rubbing your dog’s nose in poop or pee is another type of punishment that you should never use on your dog.

Instead, if you notice them eliminating in the house, pick them up and take them outside right away. Allow them to finish there and praise them when they finish. This way, they’ll know exactly where they should go.

If your dog soils an area, thoroughly clean it until the odour disappears. Puppies are more likely to eliminate in places that already smell like pee or faeces. The towels or pads you used to clean the soiled area can then be placed in the area where you want your dog to eliminate.

If your dog does eliminate in the house, you must supervise them closely to avoid repeat mishaps. If you do not intervene quickly, your dog may begin to believe that it is acceptable for them to eliminate in the house. 

If your dog came from a shelter or pet store, they are more prone to soil in their crate, so you may have to start crate and house training them from scratch.

8. Be patient

Many factors influence how long it takes your dog to become fully housetrained. For that reason, the time it takes to house train one dog compared to another will differ. Some of these factors include the age of your dog. How much experience they have with house training. What your house training methods are, and how committed you are to succeed.

Every dog has its unique circumstances. Some dogs will pick up the training in a couple of weeks, while others may take months, but with consistency and complete effort, you can have your dog fully house trained in no time.

What To Do Next?

As previously stated, a dog that is comfortable in its crate will make an excellent house training partner. With that said, why not read our post on how to crate train your dog right now?

Further Reading