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  • Writer's pictureLiz MacHaffie

Two Keys to Housetraining Your Puppy

Housetraining: It can be one of the most challenging parts of puppyhood, especially for owners. The more accidents your puppy has, the longer housetraining will take. But, there is good news:

The most common mistakes owners make when housetraining can be remedied with two key steps!

1. Reward or interrupt your puppy EVERY time they go.

Yup, this means a great reward for toileting outside (like a yummy treat) or being interrupted if he tries to go inside.

Poodle puppy eating a treat for housetraining
Feed your pup a treat right after he finishes going!

Dogs connect things that occur really closely in time. Your reward should come within a few seconds of your pup finishing his business. (If you wait until you get inside, guess who’s just going to want to go inside every time you take him out!)

Interruption should be quick, but not scary! Just approach and use quick words like, "Oops oops!".

If you aren’t catching your puppy in the act, his brain is rewarding him! (Going to the bathroom feels good!) This is why you want to catch every potty. Every. Single. Tinkle.

“But Liz, my puppy is smart and knows to wait until I'm not looking! What should I do?” I’m glad you asked…

2. Confine your puppy if you aren’t staring at him!

Let’s face it, puppies are ninjas when it comes to sneaking a potty in the house. Until he’s doing well under supervision, you’ll need to have him in one of two situations:

  • Directly supervised while you’re not distracted. (If you’re playing Candy Crush, you are distracted.)

  • Confined so he won’t go to the bathroom.

Sleeping puppy during housetraining
If your puppy isn't confined, he needs all your focus.

This sounds hard, but you have lots of options!

  • Put him in his playpen. (If he doesn’t go potty in it.)

  • Tether him to you with a leash.

  • Crate him.

  • Rotate who is watching him.

Housetraining can be tough, but you’ve got this. Having a good plan will help you raise a fully housetrained puppy!

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