Housetraining - Sample Schedule and a Few Hints for Success
Establish a schedule. Dogs are creatures of habit; they like to eat, sleep, and relieve themselves on a regular schedule. Establishing and maintaining a schedule is easy to do and gets easier as your puppy grows. Pay attention to your pup's behavior so you can develop a schedule that works for both of you. First, learn when your pup naturally defecates - in the morning, at night, 30 minutes after eating, etc. Look at your schedule and determine what compromises need to be made to make this workable for everyone.
Puppies housebreak at different rates. Some breeds are tougher to teach to go potty outside than others. Your crate and a consistent schedule are two key ingredients to teaching puppy to potty outside. Even if you have an adult dog, you can adapt the puppy schedule.
YOUR PUPPY CAN HAVE AS MUCH HOUSE TIME AS YOU WANT TO GIVE HIM ONLY IF YOU CAN KEEP YOUR EYES ON HIM. IF YOU CANNOT CONTINUALLY WATCH HIM HE NEEDS TO BE PUT IN HIS CRATE.
Depending on the age of your puppy will depend on how many meals he eats a day. My puppies usually eat morning about 7:00 am and then again at 5:30/6:00 pm. They eat about ½ cup somewhat moistened Purina ProPlan Chicken & Rice Puppy Food. Feed Puppy at the same time each meal and use a potty schedule that corresponds to eating. Encourage your puppy to go by using a phrase that can be associated with the deed. You can use "Get Busy", "Go Potty" or whatever you like - just use the same command each time and praise as soon as the action happens. Housetraining is about PRAISE!!! Never treat train to potty outside. The puppy quickly learns to "squat" to pee just to get the treat and has not done their business.
Here is an example:
6:30 a.m. - wake up and take Puppy to go potty. Do not make the coffee first, take the Puppy out first.
6:45 a.m. - feed Puppy in crate and give him water. Give him 15/20 minutes then remove the dish. Do not talk to the puppy or acknowledge him. Let him concentrate on eating. Tell the puppy to "eat your breakfast" or "eat your dinner".
7:15 a.m. - take Puppy to go potty.
7:30 a.m - free time / play time in one room only,
7:45 a.m - in crate with some chew bones and toys to relieve boredom. Young puppies have small bladders and less capacity. They may need to go out every couple of hours during the day or even more often.
11:30 a.m. - take Puppy potty.
12:30 p.m. - take Puppy potty
12:45 p.m. - free time / play time in one room only.
1:00 p.m. - in crate. Puppies, like children, benefit from naps after play. Put Puppy in his crate with a few safe toys and let him "go sleepies" for an hour or so.
4:30 p.m. - take Puppy potty w/no stops to get him. Take him out as soon as you get home.
5:00 p.m. - feed Puppy supper in crate. Give him 15/20 minutes w/no interruptions.
5:30 p.m. - take Puppy potty.
At this point you do NOT let your puppy sleep until you/the human go to bed.
5:45 p.m. - free time/play time in one room only, where you can watch him or outside for a walk, teach to sit or hide & seek.
Evenings, especially in the summer when it is cooler, are a great time to take Puppy for walks and socialize him. In addition, this will help tire him out for the evening.
7:00 p.m. - pick up water for evening
7:30 p.m. - take Puppy potty.
9:00 p.m. - take Puppy potty.
9:30 p.m. - put Puppy in crate for bed (keep him up until you go to bed and the last potty break should be just before the house is quiet and you go to bed
This is just a sample schedule to give you an idea of the time involved in house training a puppy. When possible, your puppy should not be crated once you are home for the evening. This is when you spend quality time with him and work on basic obedience.
Look for signals between scheduled potty times that Puppy needs to go out: sniffing around the ground back/forth, circling, etc. When you see him start this, say a sharp "AAAAH! NO" to stop the action and then say in a happy tone something like "Want to go outside to potty?" Take Puppy outside immediately to his potty area and encourage him to go. You can use "Get Busy", "Go Potty" or whatever you like - just use the same command each time and praise as soon as the action happens. My dogs will stand by the door to signal they have to go out. I know people who have taught dogs to rings bells hanging from the doorknob.
Along with a solid schedule, puppy needs to be with you and not roaming the house unsupervised!!! This is a critical rule. Use baby gates or if you are walking about, umbilical cord the puppy to you with a leash. This way, puppy is never out of your sight. The best redirection (correction) is the one that happens the instant the behavior of inappropriate elimination occurs. If puppy is wandering the house and gets to realize there are times he can potty inside, he will continue to do so. In addition, a correction after the fact is a lost correction. If you are going to be in a position where you cannot watch him (napping, going out, bathroom, shower, making dinner, grocery, pick up the kids, etc.) crate him.
While outside give your puppy a chance to eliminate two or three times. Some puppies empty their bowel/bladders at one time and some take two or three attempts.
If you find your puppy is too busy exploring and playing to get down to the business of going potty put their collar/leash on them and take them out so they only have that space to explore and thereby getting to their business. No off leash time until they have pottyed.
In addition, NEVER leave the leash on puppy when he is crated or when he is not tied to you. A dragging leash can be tangled and puppy could get hurt.
Should Puppy have an accident in the house, you must catch him in the act for discipline to be effective - why in the above paragraph the use of gates and a leash was brought up. If puppy has pottied five minutes ago on your best rug and you just see it now, the correction is totally lost. Puppies and dogs forget faster and will interpret the discipline not being done because he pottied in the house but for something different. Clean up the spot well and with something that will neutralize the odor. Use one of the commercially made products or white vinegar and water.
When you catch him in the act, make a loud noise to get their attention and immediately scoop them out and tell the puppy..BAD BOY/GIRL!!! We potty OUTSIDE!!! Be mad, it is ok! Put the puppy down in the potty spot and tell them what to do. Give the pup a few minutes. If the puppy potties then praise if not, inside and in the crate for a few minutes then back outside to potty.
Puppies should not have house time if they have not pottied outside. If this means you take them out for 5 or 7 minutes, no potty, back in crate for 2 or 3 minutes and repeat until they finally potty that is what you need to do. Puppies will learn no house time unless potty outside.
I am against paper training or using those special pads that "encourage" Puppy to go potty on them. This teaches Puppy it is fine to potty in the house. If you want to redirect the training later, it's difficult. It is confusing. Unless you are disabled or for some reason MUST paper train, I encourage people to avoid it.