How do I house train my puppy?
Updated: May 1
It doesn’t get much more exciting than welcoming a new puppy or dog into your home – your new loyal companion is guaranteed to become a part of the family straight away.
As your new pet gets settled in their home, you’re going to need to teach them how to behave and what’s expected of them, and a big part of this is where they’re supposed to go to the toilet.
It can take several months for your dog to become completely house trained, but you can help them along the way by getting to know their schedule, understanding how to deal with accidents properly, and knowing how best to teach them. If you’re reading in a hurry, we’ve condensed the basic steps into this helpful guide:
Recognise when your dog needs the toilet watch them closely and learn their routine.
When your dog needs to go, let them outside or pick them up and take them out.
Use simple phrases like ‘toilet’ or ‘be quick’ to encourage them.
When they finish their business, reward them with a treat or a minute’s intense play.
Be prepared for a couple of accidents while your new pet is learning.
How do I know if my dog needs to the toilet?
If you have a relatively set routine, it’s likely that your dog will wake up, eat, and want to play at around the same times each day.
It’s up to you to establish a routine and learn when your pet will want to relieve themselves, which can also help you familiarise your dog with going to the toilet in the right place as quickly as possible. For example, if your dog’s business usually follows their breakfast, you’ll want to take steps at the right time each day so they can get used to where they’re supposed to go.
What do I do when my dog needs to go to the toilet?
It’s natural that you’re going to spend a lot of time watching your pup when they first arrive, which will help you keep an eye on them and notice little habits such as sniffing the ground and circling when they’re looking for a spot to go to the toilet.
Dogs, especially when they’re puppies, can’t hold water in their bladder for very long. It’s a good idea to take them outside around 10-20 minutes after they’ve had a drink, and after they’ve been playing or sleeping too, to establish a routine and let them know where they’re supposed to do their business. It’s crucial that you don’t give your pet any attention while you wait for them to go to the toilet, and use a simple command like ‘toilet’ or ‘be quick’ to encourage them.
Make sure you give your dog lots of praise while they’re going to the toilet, followed by a reward, such as a treat or 60 seconds of intense play to help them associate relieving themselves outside with good things happening.
How do I react if my dog has an accident inside?
While they’re a puppy, your pet’s still learning and won’t always remember what they’re supposed to do. When your new dog does have an accident inside, it’s important not to shout at them or treat them negatively, which could make them afraid of going to the toilet in front of you.
Always keep in mind that scared dogs don’t learn, which is something that will help you in other parts of training your pet too.
If you spot that your dog is about to go, try to pick them up and take them outside, and if they do start, you can try clapping your hands to interrupt them before taking them out. If you’re bringing a new dog into your home, it’s essential that you’re prepared for a little cleaning up.