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House Training 101: Learning the Basics

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Know where to go
Consistency is key when training your pet where to relieve himself. The more often you take your dog outside when he has to go, the sooner he'll learn that he's always supposed to go outside. Once you become familiar with your pet's routine, you'll start recognizing the signs (circling, sniffing at one spot) that he has to go. As a general rule, you should take your pet outside:  

  • First thing in the morning and after naps
     
  • Before, during and after playing
     
  • 10-20 minutes after a meal
     
  • Before bedtime
     
  • At least once during the night until they reach 4-5 months old

Know what to do when you get there
Once you establish the designated elimination spot, follow a consistent routine every time you take your pet out. As he circles and sniffs the area, say "go potty," and continue saying it as he relieves himself. When your puppy has finished, offer calm praise and say "good potty."

Don't reward with a treat; the treat is the relief he feels from going potty. Your puppy will begin to associate "go potty" with the relief he feels and will soon go potty on command.

Helpful tools
There are some things you'll want to have on-hand to help with potty training.

Crate - dogs like having a safe "den" all to themselves. Check out PetSmart's Crate Buying Guide to help determine what will work best for you.  

Puppy pads - absorbent pads scented to attract dogs to a designated elimination spot.

Pet stain & odor remover - accidents will happen, and these cleaners are specially formulated to remove both the stain and the accompanying odor so dogs won't be tempted to re-mark the same spot.

Troubleshooting the challenges
Successful house training takes patience and commitment to be successful, and may take awhile. If your pet is still relieving himself in the house after several weeks of potty training, there may a number of causes: 
 

  • He may need more time; all dogs learn at a different pace
     
  • He may have a urinary tract infection or other medical condition
     
  • He may be feeling anxious or depressed
     

Talk with your vet for help in diagnosing and treating the issue. 

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Comments

23 Sep 2010 4:31 pm

kyrasmygsd said:

Hi tasha1527,
She's not too old to learn anything, even housetraining, but it might take a while to undo the years of bad habits she has learned. If you use a crate and make sure to supervise her very closely you should be able to avoid too many accidents. Some dogs have accidents as they get older because of health problems, so you may want to talk to your vet about her.

21 Sep 2010 5:53 pm

tasha1527 said:

my dog has been at my moms for over a year since i have moved to a new state and is no longer house broken anymore she is about 11yrs old and a little stubborn but smart. do you think she is to old to be broken again? my husband wont let me have her again if she is unable to be broken. :(

17 Jan 2010 11:32 am

peanuts_momma said:

I have the same problem, and he is also 9 months old. I don't know what to do either; and I know he knows it's bad, because he hides to do it and then acts as if he's in trouble until I find it and discipline him; in fact, that's how I know when he's done it!

15 Jan 2010 11:37 pm

flipper5 said:

My dog is 9 months, I have had her for a week, She is starting to go outside, but at time she is outside for 30 minutes, comes in and goes in the house, any suggestions. I have given her treats when she goes outside, but when I walk her she still does not know is ok to go potty.

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