How to House Train Your Puppy: 5 Easy to Follow Steps

Golden Retriever Puppy Accident

While bringing your new puppy home is exciting, it doesn't take long to realize that puppies can be pretty messy. Getting used to their new living quarters will likely come with some accidents. However, learning to house train your pup doesn't have to be a complicated process. 

Keep reading to learn when you should potty train your pooch, how often they need to do their business, puppy potty training tips, and how to teach a puppy to go outside or inside.

When to Begin House Training? 

As a new dog owner, you're likely ready to get a jump start on housebreaking your puppy to avoid accidents around your house. However, there's good news and bad news when it comes to your furniture and floors. 

While you can start introducing rules as soon as your pup moves in, it will likely take 4 to 6 months until your puppy is fully potty trained. This is when they start to control their bladder and bowels, and the housebreaking process becomes possible.

House training varies for different dogs, depending on their breed, intelligence, and personality. Some get the concept in a month or two, while for others, it takes longer. Most pups fully master potty training by six months, but more stubborn dogs or slower learners can take up to a year. 

How Often do Puppies Need to do Their Business? 

Now down to the nitty-gritty, how often do puppies pee and poop? Unfortunately, they pretty much have to go all the time. 

With this in mind, experts say to take your puppy outside at least every two hours, if possible, to prevent urinary tract infections and accidents inside the house. 

Typically, the longer a puppy can hold it, increases with age. At three months, they can go for about four hours at most without a potty break. At five months, they will likely be able to last six hours between breaks. 

Puppies under four months are the neediest during housebreaking. Like babies, puppies have trouble holding it overnight and will likely need a late night or early morning trip outside. It's best to keep these trips quiet and calm, so your puppy doesn't associate it with playtime and get overly excited.

When Do Puppies Have to go the Most? 

Age is not the only factor determining how often your pup will need a trip outside to relieve themselves. Your puppy's food schedule also interrupts how long they can hold it. 

Within 30 minutes after eating, your puppy will start to notice their stomach grumbling. Inevitably, after they eat, they will need to eliminate. Don't forget to include potty time into your feeding schedule, so you avoid accidents in the house. 

Similar effects happen when your dog lays down for a nap. Taking a trip outside after catching some z's will help avoid an after-nap accident. 

Also, small dogs have an especially hard time holding it because they have smaller organs and higher metabolisms than larger dogs. Checking on your tiny guy frequently will give you better success. 

5 Potty Training Tips

1. Stay consistent and set schedules

The best way to housebreak your puppy quickly is to stay consistent. By establishing and sticking to a routine, you train your puppy when to expect potty trips

  • Always take your pup out first thing in the morning and before bedtime. 
  • Let your puppy out after every meal.
  • Take your dog out after naps and playtime.

2. Know what signs to look for

When your puppy has to potty, they will likely become more active. This includes behaviors like pacing around a room or crate, walking in circles, and excessive sniffing. As they become more familiar with their routine, your pup may bark to alert you that it's time to go. 

Upon noticing these signs, take your pup out right away. Waiting too long can lead to your impatient pooch using the floor instead. 

3. Use positive rewards instead of physical punishment

While housebreaking can be a frustrating process, you shouldn't rely on physical punishment to teach your dog a lesson when it has an accident. 

Unfortunately, tough love doesn't translate to your pup, and rubbing their nose in an accident or spanking them will only teach your dog to fear you. 

Instead, if you catch your dog in the middle of an accident indoors, tell them "no" firmly and take them outside to finish. When your pup completes its business, positively reward it with a treat or toy to reinforce the good action. 

4. If you do not catch your pooch in an accident, don't say anything

On the other hand, if you notice an accident indoors after the fact, telling your dog "no" will only confuse him.. After all, dogs associate commands with immediate action. 

They won't understand that peeing on your floor 30 minutes ago is why you're irritated now. In their minds, that behavior is now in the distant past.

5. If accidents happen, clean it up right away

While you likely clean accidents quickly for obvious reasons like slippery floors and pungent smells wafting in your living space, there is another reason you should reach for the disinfectant materials fast. 

When your puppy relieves itself, it isn't just getting urine or feces out of their system. Also, it is giving off a scent, and no not just the stinky one. 

This scent is your puppy's marker for approved areas to relieve itself next time. If you don't wipe down the area quickly, your pup will begin to associate that wrong area with their go-to spot.

House Train a Puppy to Go Outside

Like we just mentioned above, your dog's scent prompts them where to go in the future when they need to relieve themselves. 

When learning how to potty train a puppy to go outside, stick to the same locations each time. Providing your pup with a sense of "their spot" will teach them to relieve themselves when you take them outside instead of waiting to go back inside the house to do so. 

Staying with your pooch outside also ensures you can monitor that it does their business. Moreover, it gives anxious pups more confidence to show you they mastered the skill.

With all that said, you still need to get your puppy outside in the first place Crate training helps to accomplish this feat. By training your pup with a crate, they establish a sense of their own living space by keeping their bed-confined and secure.

Inevitably, this helps them learn to alert you by barking when they need to leave their bedroom area to relieve themselves outside. 

Potty Train with Pads Inside 

Taking your pup outside isn't always possible. Up until this point, you may have wondered, how do I housebreak my puppy while I'm at work all day? 

It's best to take puppies under eight months outside at least once during the day, which likely cuts into your work schedule. Thankfully, finding a dog walker in your area to get the job done shouldn't be too hard. However, occasionally plans fall through. If you have to leave your pup unattended, what should you do? 

If you can't arrange for anyone to take your pup outside while you're at the office, you can use training pads to prompt your pup to relieve themselves on an approved area. 

Instinctively, dogs like to find a cushioned area to do their business, yet they know better than to use their beds for the deed. Training pads offer a solution, so your puppy chooses that spot instead of your couch or clothes. To help them learn quicker, put your pup and their pad in a tile or hard-surfaced room. 

Final thoughts 

It's important to remember, even if you are potty training a stubborn puppy, stay patient. The first year of a dog's life is the most time-consuming for the owner. 

However, once your pup does catch on to the rules, they will provide loyal companionship that is unmatched by many other pets. Sticking it out, staying consistent, and following the tips above will help make your housebreaking process as quick and straightforward as possible.

Related Stories