House Training 101: Learning the Basics
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.
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.