How to Housetrain Your Dog

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

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA
5-minute read
Episode #96

Carry your puppy outside to prevent those last-second squats by the front door. If you’re slick you can clip her leash to her collar as you go.

Housetrain Your Puppy By Taking Her to a Pee Spot Outside

Bring her outside, on leash, to a place where you’d like her to eliminate, and stand there quietly. Give her three minutes. If she does eliminate, praise calmly and warmly, give a treat, and take her for a walk. The walk is a reward for eliminating. It encourages the pup to eliminate as soon as she reaches the designated spot. If she urinates right away, and later defecates during your walk, you can reward the outdoor defecation; no need to reward any urinations after the first one.

If after three minutes she doesn’t eliminate, take her back inside, but keep her on leash with you, or tethered to a piece of furniture with a comfy bed to lie on, or in her crate, or in a small confined area like a playpen. Wait 15 minutes to 30 minutes and take her outside again. Repeat this process until she eliminates outside, then praise, treat, and reward with a walk.

Supervise Your Puppy Even When She’s Just Peed and Pooped

Supervise your puppy carefully--and remember, if you’re texting, you’re not supervising!

When you know your puppy or dog has an empty bladder and bowels, he can spend a few minutes unconfined. But you’ll need to supervise carefully, watching for any sign that he needs to eliminate again. “Supervise carefully” is code for “keep your eyes on him every single second.” As this implies, you and your puppy should be in the same room. By the way, if you’re texting, you’re not supervising.


About the Author

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Jolanta holds professional certifications in both training and behavior counseling and belongs to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She also volunteered with Pet Help Partners, a program of the Humane Society of the United States that works to prevent pet relinquishment. Her approach is generally behaviorist (Pavlovian, Skinnerian and post-Skinnerian learning theory) with a big helping of ethology (animal behavior as observed in non-experimental settings).