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.
#1 - Establish A Routine And Stick To It
Routine is critical for ensuring that your young pup learns to relieve himself in the proper place.
However, 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 instead of taking your canine friend out for his morning potty break. It may be a relaxing weekend morning to you, but it's just another day to Fido.
#2 - 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 if -- accidents occur.
#3 - Move His "Business" Outdoors ASAP
Some dog owners resort to using wee-wee pads for indoor urination. Many experts indicate it is ok during the housebreaking process, but suggests refraining from their use later because it simply isn't a natural thing for a canine to do.
#4 - 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.
#5 - 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.
#6 - Make A Small Fuss
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.
#7 - 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.
#8 - 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. 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.
#9 - 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.
By Amy M. Armstrong
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.