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Housebreaking Your Puppy

Dog owners can often struggle with housebreaking their dog. Hopefully this article will help you understand what you need to do to be successful. 

 Your dog should be able to hold in his pee and poop 1 hour per month old. For example, if your dog is 4 months old, he can only hold pee /poop for a maximum of  4  hours.

At nighttime puppies tend to hold their pee/poop longer because they are sleeping ,there are no distractions and should be confined to a crate. When you are home, your pup will have to go to the bathroom more often.  The reason for this is when you are home he is more active. You should pick up his water bowl and only offer him water after a long nap, after you play or go for a long walk with him, and during his meals. Empty the water bowl only after he drinks and when he walks away from his water dish.  When he is not drinking, keep the bowl empty.    This way if the dog is thirsty he will lick the empty bowl and this will cue you to give him the water.  Keep in mind that after he drinks he will probably have to go to the bathroom within 15 to 30 minutes.

The key to housebreaking is to supervise him during outside bathroom time while he is attached to a leash.  The leash is very important tool for potty training. If the birds or squirrels distract him, give him a little tug on the leash and say “Go Potty”. This will teach your pup to focus on sniffing the ground and finding a spot to do his business. Always praise him when he goes to the bathroom outside and give him a treat after he finishes his business outside but before you go inside the house. If  he is distracted and doesn’t go to the bathroom and you know that he has to go, you can put him in his crate or confine him in a place that if he messes on the floor, it is easy to clean up.  I would confine him in a place where he can be supervised so that if you catch him in the act, you can rush him outside to finish up his bathroom activities. As your puppy gets older his schedule will change.  Once the housebreaking is more consistent or when he no longer has accidents, you can cut down on the amount of  bathroom walks. An adult dog should not be required hold in pee or poop for no more than 7 to 8 hours max.

— Helene Scott

Florida Dog Training School

Owner/Certified Master Dog Trainer

[email protected]

(813) 951-4480


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