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How to best house-train your puppy

Puppies aren’t so cute when you’re constantly cleaning up accidents

Stock image. Torsten Dettlaff
Stock image. Torsten Dettlaff (Pexels)

Puppies are cute and cuddly, and they’re known to warm people’s hearts and light up their faces -- right up until the moment when those wide smiles turn to looks of disgust when said puppy decides to do its business in the middle of the family room.

But as the world celebrates National Puppy Day on Tuesday, heed these tips of advice to help properly potty train your pup, according to WebMD.

After all, you want to keep your dog cute and cuddly in your mind -- instead of having him turn into a sign you’ll need to buy a lifetime supply of house cleaner.


How long does it take for a puppy to be house-trained?

It depends on how big the animal is supposed to get.

Smaller breeds have smaller bladders and need to be let out more often than bigger breeds. Typically, four to six months is a good estimate, but some breeds might take up to a year.

When should you start house-training a puppy?

Between 12 and 16 weeks old is a good time because that is when puppies have enough control over their bladders.

The ‘do’s’ of house-training a puppy

  • Confine the puppy to a defined space. This can be a crate, in a room or on a leash. The animal can have more room to roam once it’s learned it needs to go outside to do its business.
  • If using a crate, make sure it is the right size. It should be large enough to stand or turn around in, but not too big where the corner can be used as a bathroom.
  • If a puppy is caught using the bathroom in the house, clap loudly so they know they are doing something wrong. Then, take them outside gently and offer praise or a reward when they do their business outside.
  • If you are away for long stretches of the day, make sure the crate has fresh water and that someone can let the puppy out for a bathroom break in the middle of the time away.
  • Keep the puppy on a regular feeding schedule and take away food between meals.
  • Take the puppy outside first thing in the morning, last thing at night before bed and every 30 minutes to an hour during the day.
  • Make sure the puppy does its business in the same spot outside, as their scent will prompt them to go.
  • Stay with the puppy outside until they are house-trained.
  • Give the puppy a treat or praise when they use the bathroom outside.
  • Clean up accidents with enzymatic cleanser instead of ammonia-based cleanser in order to minimize odors that will attract the puppy to the same spot.
  • Stay patient and vigilant with training, even when accidents occur.

The ‘don’ts’ for house-training a puppy

  • Don’t punish a puppy for having an accident. It teaches the animal to fear you.
  • Don’t rub your puppy’s nose in a mess it made. Puppies can’t connect an accident and your anger.
  • Don’t use a crate if the puppy is going to the bathroom in it.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.