Training your new puppy doesn’t have to be a hassle. There are countless unique approaches to training that can help your puppy learn your house rules…and fast! Remember: your puppy is easier to train than an adult dog. They haven’t learned any bad habits or behaviors so you’ll be starting from square one.
And the earlier you start with training, the quicker your puppy will learn good habits and behaviors!
From house training to potty training, there are many lessons your puppy must learn to “graduate” into a well-mannered, mature dog. You’ll need to be consistent and repetitive to give your puppy a chance to absorb the new commands, tricks, and behaviors you’re teaching them.
If you’re confused or intimidated, don’t be! We’re here to answer your questions on the best ways to house train your puppy!
How do you house train your puppy?
House training a puppy is about consistency and patience. Your goal should be to teach your furry friend good habits that’ll help them grow a strong bond with you.
To start house training your puppy, follow these tips closely:
- Create a daily feeding schedule.
Puppies learn best when there’s a consistent pattern to follow every day. Feed your puppy at the same time each morning and afternoon.
Take away their plate after they’re finished eating. This allows your fur-baby to expect their meals at certain times of the day.
- Never leave your puppy outside alone.
Puppy hazards are everywhere, even in a place as “safe” as your backyard. Puppies are a naturally curious bunch and won’t hesitate to lick anything they find.
If there’s a toxic plant or a discarded object on the ground, you may need to make an emergency vet visit. Remain with your puppy outside or puppy-proof your yard first before letting them out.
- Teach your puppy basic commands.
One of the most crucial lessons your puppy will ever learn is the basic commands. The basic commands set up the behaviors and habits your furry friend needs to be a happy, loving dog.
The top 5 basic commands your puppy should learn are:
- Come (when called)
- Lay down
- Leave it
Although it may not seem like much, teaching your puppy these commands will get them off to a great start! Your puppy should start learning these commands as soon as they’re home with you. That way, your puppy knows how to be a good boy or girl at home and even around strangers!
If you’re house training a puppy with a crate, try to use it as a training tool for a short time. A crate allows you to keep a close eye on your furry friend and teaches them to hold in their pee.
We recommend creating a cozy space inside the crate so that your puppy associates it with a den-like space. Your puppy’s crate should be big enough to accommodate their growing size but not too much.
Otherwise, they’ll think the corner of their crate is a toilet!
Your puppy should also have access to water, especially if they’re left inside their crate for more than 2 hours. Have someone else, like a family member, let your furry friend out for a break every once in a while.
Where should you house train your puppy?
One essential piece of house training that’s often overlooked is location. A great spot for training is key to building and maintaining your pup’s progress.
Choose an area where you will train your puppy every day. It can be inside or outside your home. Do not change this spot unless necessary.
If you choose an outside spot, make sure it’s free of distractions. For owners who choose to train inside, select an area that won’t be ruined by pee and other messes. Even if you’re using training pads, your flooring can still be at risk for damage so choose your training space wisely.
Have cleaning products ready to remove odors and messes. Accidents happen no matter what type of training you’re puppy is engaging in. Trust us, cleaning products always come in handy in unexpected situations.
Your puppy won’t return to the same spot if you spray it with a cleaning detergent.
How long does it take to house train your puppy?
Short answer: it depends. Most puppies are full house trained within 4-6 months but other puppies take a year or more.
A puppy’s size and breed are two important factors to consider. Smaller puppies have higher metabolisms so they’re more likely to go outside for potty breaks. They also tend to be stubborn and haughty, making command training a big challenge.
Bigger dogs have lower metabolisms, leading to fewer bathroom breaks. Larger breeds are also more complacent and obedient. Of course, this also depends on their background.
What were your puppy’s previous living conditions like? Will you need to break your furry friend out of their bad old habits? If so, you may need to reinforce their training more.
Puppies are young and curious little animals. Like young children, they are easily distracted by anything they see, hear or smell. It’s the reason why we emphasize repetition and consistency so that your fur baby has an easy learning experience.
How do you potty train your puppy?
Like other forms of training, potty training is easy when you have a set daily routine. Set up your alarm to go off at specific times throughout the day. These set times should occur 10 to 30 minutes after meals and/or water breaks.
Other tips to potty train your puppy include:
- Lead your puppy to their training pad or let them go outside during these hours. If you’re using a training pad, take them to a designated spot.
- Place them on the pad and use the command “Go potty” several times.
- Once they use the pad, praise your puppy and give them a treat. Make sure you let your furry friend have a final bathroom break before bedtime.
Never let your puppy out for potty breaks late at night. This could turn into a habit that will be difficult to break out of.
When should your puppy be potty trained?
You should start potty training your puppy when they are 12-16 weeks old. Young puppies do not have complete control of their bladder and bowel movements so they’re prone to sudden accidents.
By 12-16 weeks of age, your puppy has enough control of its body to learn to hold in its pee. If your puppy is older than 16 weeks and hasn’t learned good potty training habits, the process will take longer.
You will need to retrain your puppy’s habits and emphasize your rules. The best way to do this is to use positive reinforcement like praise and treats to the fullest advantage!
What are the signs that your puppy wants to go?
After your first day with your puppy, you’ll know how long your new furry friend can hold in their pee. Keep a watchful eye on your puppy for the rest of the week, but it should be close to consistent as their first day.
As you observe your puppy, watch for the following signs:
- Glancing (at you)
These little cues let you know that your fur-baby is waiting to relieve themselves. They may also try to leave the room they’re in or sniff a specific corner to pee in.
If you decide to keep your puppy in a crate or room during their potty training, they’ll learn to bark or whine so that you’ll let them out.
How often do puppies need to pee?
Most puppies need to go potty around 10 to 30 minutes after eating or drinking water. Since younger puppies (6 months old or less) do not have control of their bodily functions, they should be taken out every 1-2 hours.
Some experts like the AKC suggest that puppies are able to wait for the same amount of hours as their age in months plus one. This means that a 5-month puppy will need to go potty every 6 hours while a one-month puppy will need to relieve itself every 2 hours.
If your puppy is going on potty breaks every hour or more than their expected time, there’s something wrong with them. It may be that you’re overfeeding them or providing too much water. It may also be an underlying health issue.
Whatever the case may be, it’s important to consult your veterinarian so that they can get checked and receive the help they need.
What do you do when accidents happen?
By the time your puppy is 6 months old, they should have full control of their bodily functions, which makes them able to hold in their pee for a longer time.
As always, accidents happen—even after you think you’ve taught your fur-baby the ropes. If your puppy has an accident in between their scheduled potty breaks, don’t get angry. Don’t scold, yell, or swat them with a rolled newspaper.
These behaviors are labeled as “negative reinforcement” because they cause confusion in dogs, leading to resentment and fear. They won’t also learn anything from being yelled at.
Instead, pay attention to your puppy’s actions. When you notice they’re starting to squat near a corner, say the word “no” firmly and take them to their designated pee spot.
If your puppy is peeing in their crate, then it might be too big for them. Search for a crate that is just the right size for your furry friend so that they can lay down and stretch but not too big where they use the corner as a bathroom.
Clean up any accidents with a puppy-safe product that also reduces odors. Always reinforce your training by offering treats and praises every time your puppy pees in their training pad or in their spot.
Puppies should never be blamed for accidents so save yourself the hassle. Don’t worry, this part of your puppy’s training won’t last long. As long as you’re consistent and patient, your puppy will get the hang of their potty training!
At Petland Kansas City, we consider it our responsibility to prepare you for any surprises that come with caring for a new puppy! Every puppy is unique in its own way, so make sure you don’t constrain your fur-baby into a specific timeline for their training.
Some puppies learn quickly. Others need a few more months to get into the groove of the new rules they need to follow. Be patient and show love to your puppy, and we guarantee you’ll have a furry best friend for life!
If you need help with training, we’re always available to help. Our pet counselors have enough experience with training puppies to provide you with the best answers. Schedule an appointment to speak with one of our counselors!
Have a puppy that looks to bark? Check out our blog, How To Stop Your Puppy’s Excessive Barking to learn our helpful tips on getting rid of your puppy’s annoying behavior.