Some dogs can be trained to eliminate outside within days with no trouble at all. And some dogs just don’t seem to get it – or they don’t want to.  I’d like to believe that all dogs can be housetrained if given the proper training and enough patience.  Dogs learn at different rates and some may take longer than others, especially puppies who have smaller bladders.  And I’ve run across particular breeds such as Yorkies which are often very challenging to achieve consistent bathroom habits. (Oh, and by the way, the term “house breaking” is no longer politically correct because it implies the use of force.)

Below are the time-proven methods for helping your dog to learn where to go potty.

 1.          Use a consistent door/location

Always take your dog out the same door and to the same place in your yard.  Dogs are scent animals and recognize their own odors.  Establish an area in your yard or wherever you regularly walk your dog and wait for him/her to eliminate there.

2.          Create a consistent schedule

Establish a routine feeding and walking schedule daily.  Do not deviate from this schedule, even on weekends.  Take your dog outside to the designated spot immediately after each meal, immediately after each playtime, immediately after awaking and right before bedtime.  Puppies need to go outside about every 2 hours. It’s also important not to allow your dog to free-feed, that is, graze all day. Free-feeding does not help dogs to regulate their bowels. And very few in-between meal snacks too!

3.          Never let your dog out of your sight

Until your dog is housetrained, do not let your dog in the house unsupervised.  Use either a crate to confine your dog when you cannot supervise him/her, or use a leash to keep him/her close to you.  This way, you be able to catch your dog in the act of eliminating in the house.  Then, you can immediately take him/her outside to the designated spot.  

4.       Reward, never punish!

Should you see your dog beginning to eliminate in the house, interrupt the behavior with “ah, ah, ah – outside!” and take the pup outside.  Never, ever scold your pup for eliminating in the house.  And dogs do not understand when you stick their noses in their housetraining mistakes, or if you hit them when they have an accident.  This only teaches them to fear you, to eliminate in the house when you are not looking or sneak off to another room and do their business there.  Instead, use praise and treats for when your dog eliminates when and where you want.  The very instant that your dog begins to eliminate in this place, say “Good dog!!!” with lots of enthusiasm, then give a treat when he/she is finished. Don’t wait until the dog has come back into the house. 

5.          Be patient!

If you are housetraining a puppy, expect training to take several weeks, depending on the breed, because of small bladders.  An older dog can be trained in a few days with the proper attention.  Expect your dog to make mistakes occasionally from the beginning.  Please be patient and continue to follow the principles.

6.          Thoroughly clean up all accidents

Carpet cleaner alone is not effective to remove pet odors in the house.  Use a pet deodorizer such as Nature’s Miracle.

If you’re still having problems after faithfully following these guidelines, first consult with your veterinarian.  Your dog may have a health problem such as a urinary tract infection.  If your dog gets a clean bill of health, then consult a pet behavior consultant.  A qualified specialist can take a good look at what’s going on in your house and in your relationship with your dog, both critical factors in determing the success of house training.