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House training a dog or puppy requires time, vigilance, patience and commitment. Training your dog to eliminate outside (in the area that you would like him too) includes both preventing accidents to the best of your abilities and rewarding success. Following these guidelines will help you to minimize accidents, but remember that no one is perfect and every dog will have a few.

1. Feed your dog on a schedule- He will eliminate on one too.
2. Keep his diet simple- avoid table scraps and canned foods, a high quality dry kibble will produce less waste.
3. Chose an area (about 10 square feet) outside where you would like your dog to eliminate. On rainy days or when you are in a hurry you will be glad that your dog does not have to take a walk to the tree at the end of the block to eliminate.
4. Take your pet out on leash to this area, pace back and forth (movement promotes movement), and chant an encouraging phrase like “go potty” or “do your business.”
5. Do this for a maximum of 3 minutes:

  • If he eliminates praise, play, and treat
  • If he doesn’t eliminate keep him on leash and go indoors, if you cannot keep him on leash and watch him confine him to his crate.
  • 6. Try again in an hour. Eventually your dog will eliminate appropriately and you can praise, play and treat.
    7. After each success allow 15 minutes of freedom in the house before placing back on lead, in small area, or back in his crate. Your puppy should not be allowed to roam free in the house until he is older and has learned some control.
    8. After 3 consecutive days of success, you can increase freedom by 15 minutes.
    9. If there is an accident decrease freedom by 15 minutes for 3 days.
    10. You want to slowly build up the amount of time that your pet can “hold it.” All puppies are different but a good rule of thumb is you take the number of months old your puppy is and you add one. That is the number of hours that your puppy can “hold it.” So if your puppy is 4 months old he can “hold it” for 5 hours. So if you are not available every 5 hours to let him out, make sure he has an area large enough to sleep in and also an area large enough to fit some puppy pads. An exercise pen works well in this situation. It must be tall enough so he can not jump out. Most puppies will begin to sleep through the night or only wake you once fairly soon after housetraining begins
    11. Adult dogs can “hold it” for the night and usually for 8-9 hours once they get on a schedule.
    12. If you catch your dog in the act of eliminating in the house interrupt him and take him to his potty place. If he goes then praise, play and treat.