3. How to Housebreak Your Puppy - Stages of Housebreaking
Housebreaking isn’t just opening the door and telling your puppy, “come on, let’s go out!” You need to do it in stages. And be patient with your puppy as you go through each stage.
The stages of housebreaking are:
• Paper training
• Direct training
• Going out on his own
What is Paper Training?
Paper training is good for your younger puppy who just left his family, and may never have been outside on the grass. He knows a newspaper, and is “trained” to use that up to now. So, this is part of the overall housebreaking.
Paper training is also good for people in apartments who don’t have a yard to take your puppy out to “go to the bathroom”. It’s still part of the overall housebreaking, but used while you teach him to go to the door and about the excitement of
going for a walk.
How to Paper Train
- Select an area of a room where you can put papers down on the floor.
- After the puppy eats, or when it acts like it has to “go to the bathroom”, put the puppy on the papers.
- Once it soils the papers, pick up the soiled papers and replace them with clean papers.
- Put one of soiled papers on top of the clean papers; this will act as the “okay! This is your scent and you can go here!” beckon
- As the puppy learns to go on that one paper, you can shrink the area covered by papers.
- You’ll end up with one paper, and at that time, switch to a piddle pad.
- Soon, you’ll only have to use a piddle pad for occasional accidents as you progress in their housebreaking.
What is Direct Training?
Direct training is teaching your puppy to:
• Go outside, or
• Go for a walk
Not only will you need to train your puppy In addition to paper training, you need to take your puppy outside in your yard, or if you live in an apartment, take him for a walk.
You don’t want to train them just to use a piddle pad; that’s training him to go in one spot while learning to go outside in the yard or wait until he goes for a walk before he relieves himself. Start direct training after the puppy is about 4 months old when they will start to listen to you.
How to Direct Train
- After eating, say “let’s go out!” and take the puppy out in the yard or for a walk.
- Walk to the door and either let them out, or put his harness and lead on and go out the door for a walk.
- If the puppy is young, you’ll need to pick him up and take him to the door or go outside and put him on the grass.
- Once they urinate and/or defecate, reward them with a “good boy!” and a treat.
- You can also play with them for a while for exercise and an extra reward.
- Get them to associate eating a meal with going outside or for a walk…it’s fun and they’ll get a treat too!
Going out on his Own
The ultimate goal is for your puppy to let you know when they need to go out or for a walk. Help them start to associate eating, with going out. This will get them on a schedule. How do you do it?
- After eating, ask your dog “do you want to go out? (or for a walk?)” Dogs are smart and learn those phrases very quickly!
- Show your puppy which door they need to go out, and put their lead next to it. When they’re ready, they should run to that door.
- They’ll associate that door with “out” and even if they haven’t eaten a meal, when they need to go out, they’ll come get you or stand by the door! “Let me out!”
- If you live where a doggy door will work, get one! Make sure no wildlife or other animals can get in. This will let puppy learn to go out any time of the day or night when he has the urgency to go!
Other Helpful Tips for Successful Housebreaking
Restrict your puppy’s movement. Train your puppy to crate when you’re not home and at night. That will become his new safe, comfortable den. And he won’t want to soil his den.
He will at first, but use piddle pads in it that can be tossed. And have two beds on hand that are washable. As he gets older, he will want to sleep in it and use it to escape from the noise and activities around the house.
- Find a good location to put the papers down for puppy. Either in a room without a lot of distractions, or in an area fenced off by an “x” pen.
- That will give puppy “his area” to use, and train him not go just anywhere.
- Set a schedule for feeding, going outside and walking. Get him into a routine!
- Don’t leave food down all the time. By feeding on a schedule, your puppy won’t be eating during the day and needing to go outside. That can result in accidents.