Bathroom Break: Housebreaking Tips for Puppies

Bringing a new puppy home is a happy and exciting time, but housebreaking can be a little...

Bringing a new puppy home is a happy and exciting time, but housebreaking can be a little frustrating and messy. Being patient, consistent and committed can help make the process go a lot smoother.

  • Consistent Schedule: A consistent feeding and potty schedule will help with the housebreaking process. When first training your puppy to go outdoors, bring him on a leash to the same spot every time and stay outside with him.  You should take your puppy outside in the morning, after a nap and after every feeding. Puppies typically need to eat about three to four meals a day.  Take him to go outside within 10 minutes after he is finished. Establishing a schedule will help prevent accidents around the house.

  • Crating: Crating can be a useful training tool if it’s the right size.  Crating your puppy should be a safe and happy experience for him.  Never use the crate as a punishment.    The crate should be just big enough for your puppy to stand up and turn around in a full circle.  However, if there is too much room, he may soil on one side and sleep on another.  Puppies should only be left in their crate for 3 to 4 hours during the day. Bring your puppy outside to go to the bathroom before and after you put him in the crate. 

  • Praise and reward:  When housebreaking your puppy, it’s important to stay consistent and positive.  Once your puppy has gone to the bathroom outside, you can reward him with praise and a treat.  You should never punish him for any accidents that may occur out of eyesight.  If you catch him about to have an accident, simply pick him up and move him to where you want him to go to the bathroom.   

  • Cleaning Up:  Accidents do happen from time to time while housebreaking your puppy and you may need clean up.  Dog urine contains ammonia and as the urine breaks down, the ammonia concentration increases.  Since puppies often go back to the same spot because they recognize their territory, it’s important to make sure the stain and scent are gone. Cleaning products that do not contain ammonia work most effectively.  Be sure to clean up the mess immediately.


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