How I Succeeded At Puppy House Training

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How I Succeeded At Puppy House Training

Having had dogs all my life, I can tell you that puppy house training has to be one of the most time-consuming. I mean, gads. It goes on for weeks, months. I’ve even had a dog that occasionally had an accident when he was 2 years old!

(Although, I admit it was my own fault for not giving him sufficient time to relieve himself before I headed off to work.)

I have to question some people who say they house trained their puppy in 2 weeks – some even less. It’s true you can teach your puppy to go outside in 2 weeks, but the training is far from complete.

You have to keep in mind that it takes time for a puppy to learn how to control his or her bladder. It doesn’t happen in 2 weeks. But I do know what they mean.

Nikki was a 5-weeks-old puppy when I got him. His house training was relatively quick, but there was a good reason. I kept my eye on him. When I saw the signs, I whipped him outside before he could do anything inside.

The problem was when I went to work. During those times, he stayed in the kitchen on newspaper. But when we were home, I removed that and put paper in front of the patio door to give him the idea of going to a door. It was easy to open the door and let him out.

And best of all, he learned that whenever he had to go, he went to the exterior door. And he gave me that all-important clue to take him out.

We lived in a 6th floor apartment at the time, so having the patio was an excellent alternative to being in a home with a door straight to a grass yard.

Wherever you live, this is one tip that always worked for me.

Put the newspaper (or special pad) right in front of or beside your back door. Teach him to go there. From there, it’s easy to just open the door and show him the outside.

This worked much better than my earlier method of putting the paper in the kitchen. In essence, I was teaching him to use the kitchen. And one day, I thought, why not train him to go where I want him to go instead? The back door. It worked!

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5 Responses to How I Succeeded At Puppy House Training

  1. In my household, I’ve been training all of my dogs to housetrain indoors since 1979. We use to live in highrise condos in downtown Toronto and Mississauga. That combined with the Canadian winters made paper training indoors a great option. When the pet industry came out with dog litter box systems, I jumped at it. Now my current Lhasa Apso dogs are both totally trained to use an indoor litter box. We go out for fun and exercise only. Canada would be a great market for Purina to bring their system here so I’m planning to push them to do that.

  2. Sylvia says:

    That’s interesting you say that. When I used paper training in this way with my Pomeranian, he took to it instantly. But when we got the American Eskimo who also learned to use it, the Pom stopped. He was the one who would flip the newspaper around. I think he felt “violated” because Nikki was using his space.

    Dogs can be funny sometimes. But it’s also important to remember that dogs are individuals. What works for one won’t necessarily work for another, as my story and yours show. Certainly, the absolute best way to house train is to keep an eye on the puppy and take him outside as soon as he starts showing the signs he needs to go.

    Sometimes, distracting him right at that moment will stop him and give him time to go outside.


  3. Sylvia says:

    Hi Chantel,

    I appreciate what you are saying. I went through that myself once with one of my puppies. It would appear to me that yours is confused because you left him in the kennel. It doesn’t take long at that age for them to be affected by that kind of disruption in their lives.

    Try to spend more time with him, not just taking walks, so that he once again feels like he belongs.

    As far as his indoor accidents, you might need to get a crate (I don’t particularly like doing that myself, but many do get great results). Keep him in the crate while he’s indoors. Make sure he can ALWAYS see you. If he’s locked away and cannot see what’s going on, he will become fearful. Remember that dogs are social animals. They love being around other beings.

    I don’t have any experience with using crates myself. Try running a search for articles on how to do it effectively. I’ll look into some books and see if I can find something for a later post.

    Also, keep in mind that puppies will fall back in their training. You think they’ve learned, but then they disobey. I find it seems to happen mostly in the first 8-12 months or so. This is quite normal behavior. You just have to do a “reminder” training to get them back on track.

    Most importantly, don’t keep changing tactics. Use one training method you used before for house training. If it worked once, it will work again. Just be patient and consistent.

    Keep your eye on him as much as possible when he’s indoors. The moment you see him circling, sniffing the floor or trying to squat, whip him outside. Find one spot where he will always go. Then, he will associate that spot with his toilet needs and will learn to go there automatically. Be sure to praise him when he does.

    If you’re having trouble with the urine odor in the house, there are some products at the pet store that will eliminate it, as opposed to covering it up. Dogs have an intense sense of smell, so if you don’t get rid of it, he’ll still smell it. One that I used many years ago was Nil-Odor. Don’t know if that’s available anymore but it worked well.

    Best of luck. I wish you success.


  4. Chantel says:

    Hi –

    All your information is very usefull and true, i had a puppy back home, and she was trained within weeks, even woke me up at night to go outside, and i never had any issues with her…

    But today, I have a 8 month old puppy, whom I got about 4 months ago, the first month he was trained, and he listened, and went outside.. we went on holiday for a weekend, thus having to put him in a kennel for 3 nights, and since then, he just goes everywhere in the house… No amount of newspaper, treats (when he goes outside), or assistance is helping… he just refuses to go outside now and when we get back from work, he didn’t leave a news paper in one piece and there’s “stuff” all over the kitchen floor.. every tile… it’s like he aims to make it all dirty…

    I’ve tried every solution that google offers, from washing the floors with vinegar, peroxide, baking soda etc.. nothing works, it’s like he’s attracted to that smell.. I messed vinegar on my slippers a while back, washed it and then he went and pee’d on it…

    To be honest, we have no idea what to do anymore.. we take him for walks, even 30 mintues to 1 hour, and he refuses to do it outside, once we are back in the house, he goes freely… and sneekily behind our backs… and damn is he fast… can’t catch him in time…

    Do you have ANY advice for us??

    Thank you, and appreciate it!


  5. Claude says:

    Putting newspapers or special pads by back door did not work for me as “Zaki” my toller puppy decided it was more fun to thread it to bits and I used to find pieces all around the house; some of them were not very pleasant to pick up.

    The way I trained him was to take him out in the yard as often as possible and to reward him with a titbit and by making a lot of fuss immediately he did something. I also took him out as soon as I came back home, the minute he woke up and straight away after a meal.

    It took me about 3 months to completely house trained him.

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