How to House-Train Your Puppy

May 19, 2016

While there’s not a perfect time to bring a puppy home (in my opinion, any time is a good time), summertime means you won’t be house-training your new furry friend in frigid temperatures with snow piled against the back door.

Thinking about getting a puppy? We sat down with Charlie Marks, our Veterinary Assisting Department Head, to glean a few tips and tricks for house-training Fido.

Create a Routine

Take your puppy out frequently, and establish a spot for your puppy to relieve himself. Once your puppy has eliminated, reward him with praise or treats promptly.

“Stay consistent,” Charlie says. “Be sure that everyone in the home maintains the same routine.”

“If they’re not going,” Charlie explains, “Put them back in the crate for thirty minutes, then take them out to try again.”

Remember Mistakes Happen

If Fido slips up and has an accident in the house, wipe up the waste as soon as possible. Lingering smells can encourage your pup to eliminate in the same spot again, so be sure to thoroughly clean the area.

If you catch Fido eliminating inside, interrupt him and immediately take him outside to finish. Once he’s done, give him praise and return indoors to clean the area and extinguish the odors.

Because a puppy can’t control his bladder very long, be cognizant of the last time he eliminated so you can take him outdoors before he has an accident. When house-training, a good rule of thumb is an hour of bladder control for the age (in months) your puppy is. If Fido is four months old, you can anticipate he can control his bladder for up to four hours.

Things to Avoid

  1. Remove Fido’s water bowl a couple hours before bedtime to reduce the likelihood he’ll need to relieve himself during the night.
  2. Don’t purchase an extravagantly large crate. “Get an appropriately-sized crate,” Charlie says. “If the crate is too big, the puppy will use one spot to sleep and will use the rest of the space to eliminate.”
  3. If you can avoid it, do not use potty pads. This practice will encourage the puppy to eliminate in the house and will make it harder to completely house-train your pet.

House-training a pet may take awhile, but it’s worth the investment of your time. Have a tip to add? Share it in the comments below!

The Fourth of July is right around the corner, which can be a frightening and dangerous time for pets. Be sure to check out our holiday pet safety tips to ensure Fido feels safe and secure.