Ten Commandments of Housebreaking Puppies

by Amy M. Armstrong Google
Even though they don't use it for their bathroom duties, puppies love to chew on toilet paper.

Even though they don't use it for their bathroom duties, puppies love to chew on toilet paper.

Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Aw, he's so adorable -- that is until your new puppy soils the carpet. Then he isn't quite so cute. While housebreaking a puppy can have its less than beautiful moments, it is part of the process you and your young canine friend must go through.

Establish A Routine

Cesar Millan, the dog behavior specialist popularized by the television show "Dog Whisperer," indicates routine is critical for ensuring that your young pup learns to relieve himself in the proper place.

Don't Change The Routine

This might seem like the same thing, but in practical application, it is not. Establishing a routine is one thing; sticking to it is a completely different matter on a rainy Saturday morning when you would rather sleep in, but instead it is time to take your canine friend out for his morning potty break. As indicated by "Woman's Day," it's just another day to Fido.

Limit Indoor Access

Give your pup access to only a certain number of rooms in the house. If possible, choose rooms with wood or laminate flooring rather than carpet. These are easier to clean up when -- not should -- accidents occur.

Only Go Potty Outdoors

Some dog owners resort to using wee-wee pads for indoor urination. Millan indicates it is alright during the housebreaking process, but suggests refraining from their use later because it simply isn't a natural thing for a canine to do.

Be Realistic

Puppies younger than 10 weeks have no control over their bladder or bowel functions. It means they need a potty stop for every hour they are awake. Reality dictates that unless you've been deputized as a defecation police officer with that being your only duty, chances are prime you will miss one of your pup's hourly Mother Nature calls.

Stay Calm

Accidents are going to happen. That isn't what matters. What does is your reaction. "Woman's Day" reports that canines easily sense negative energy, which only leads to instability and behavioral problems. Rather than yelling "no" when you catch your pup mid-stream in the house, restrain your own frustration, pick your puppy up, take him outside and allow him to continue his business.

Make A Small Fuss

Millan explains that giving a reward when Pup successfully goes potty outside is a crucial part of reinforcing the habit. This doesn't have to be a big or loud celebration, but a quiet simple approval or a treat will effectively get the point across.

Don't Punish With Physical Force

Under no circumstances -- even if your pup has diarrhea on your cream-colored carpet -- should you get physical during the housebreaking process. Never rub the puppy's nose in the mess or hit him, as it will cause the pup to fear you, only making future obedience training more difficult.

Keep Your Focus

While it may seem like an eternity during the housebreaking process, in reality it's a fairly short investment in a lifelong relationship. Millan indicates potty training shouldn't be a turbulent time, but rather a simple matter of putting a little extra work into the process of establishing a routine for your new friend. Most dogs are housebroken by 10 months of age.

Leave No Indoor Trace

Dogs use the scent left behind from their past bathroom duties to guide them as to where to go again. Since you don't want your rug to be his potty go-to place, immediately clean up any indoor mistakes using a product formulated to remove the stain and the odor, such as an enzymatic cleaner.

Photo Credits

  • Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

About the Author

Amy M. Armstrong is a former community news journalist with more than 15 years of experience writing features and covering school districts. She has received more than 40 awards for excellence in journalism and photography. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Washington State University. Armstrong grew up on a dairy farm in western Washington and wrote agricultural news while in college.

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