How to Housetrain Your Dog

Learn housetraining 101 and get the basics of housetraining puppies, step by step.

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA,
Episode #096

In earlier articles, I’ve talked about how you can undermine your dog’s housetraining, and also about indoor elimination that doesn’t reflect incomplete housetraining. But somehow I’ve never done that basic, from scratch, just-brought-my-doggy-home housetraining piece. Well, here it is.

How to Housetrain Your Dog

Good news: Housetraining is simple, really it is. Two rules cover it:

  1. Make sure your pupil has plenty of appropriately timed opportunities to eliminate in the right place.

  2. Supervise and/or confine your pupil in between toilet outings, so that she doesn’t have a chance to eliminate in the wrong place.

How to Tell When a Puppy Needs to Go

Here’s what the rules mean in practical terms. Very young puppies have almost no voluntary control over their bladder and bowel muscles; basically, by the time they feel the urge to go, they have gone. That means you need to get your puppy to the toilet area fast and often. For a 9-week-old, that can be every waking hour, plus the following:

  • immediately on waking in the morning or after a nap

  • after a few minutes of playing or chewing

  • a few minutes after eating or drinking

  • whenever there’s any excitement

  • whenever you catch them circling, sniffing the floor, or generally acting restless


About the Author

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA
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