It doesn't really matter if you are house training a dog that is younger or older than 5 months. With either scenario, your training activities will be rather like potty training a human baby. The more time you devote to the task, the faster you will achieve your desired result, according to the Pet Place website. It is actually easier in some ways to train an older puppy because its ability to "hold it in" is greater.
Know What to Do
The tricks to properly potty training a dog are to know what you are doing, be patient and invest some time and attention to the process, according to the Pet Place website. It is easier to train a dog that is older than 5 months than a younger puppy because an older dog requires fewer potty times.
The younger the dog, the less control it has, which means that you need to take it out more often. A good rule of thumb is to figure that your dog can hold its urine for one hour longer than its age in months. So, for example, a 5-month-old dog should be able to hold its urine for six hours. If you crate your 5-month-old dog longer than six hours, you are asking for trouble, according to the Pet Place website. If your dog is in the crate too long and has to urinate there, this will create problems later in life because the dog has soiled an area that it instinctively wants to keep clean. You do not want to interfere with this instinct, if possible.
To train your dog, take it outside first thing in the morning and encourage it to urinate and defecate. It may be easier to do this while your dog is on a leash so that your dog doesn't become involved in more interesting activities. Use a word cue, such as "go potty," "hurry up," "make," or whatever word you choose to signify this action. Take your dog to the same area each time because dogs thrive on routines and consistency. Adult dogs can be set in their ways, though, so be patient during this adjustment time.
If you took your 5-month-old dog out at 8 a.m., the next time your dog will need to go out will be at 2 p.m. at the latest. You should repeat the same routine in the afternoon that you did in the morning. You will need to take your dog out again at 8 p.m.
The Bathroom and Eating Connection
Another rule of thumb to successfully potty train your older dog is to do it about 10 to 15 minutes after your dog eats. Eating stimulates the reflex to go to the bathroom. Not all dogs need to go in 10 or 15 minutes. You will learn how long it takes your dog over time. After your dog goes to the bathroom, praise it enthusiastically and give your dog a treat.
If your dog does not go to the bathroom when you are outside with it, take your dog inside, but keep it with you. If you let your dog run free, it is likely to urinate or defecate in your house. After 15 minutes of watching your dog, take it out again for another try. Repeat this process until you have success.
Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.