How to Housebreak a Pitbull

by Katherine Barrington, Demand Media Google
    Pitbulls are known for their muscular build and protective instincts.

    Pitbulls are known for their muscular build and protective instincts.

    Now that you've brought your pitbull puppy home, it's time to housebreak him. Don't worry, housebreaking is not the difficult, time-consuming process you may imagine. Because pitbulls are such an intelligent breed, housebreaking your pitbull can actually be accomplished fairly quickly.

    Items you will need

    • Baby gates

    Step 1

    Pick a section of your yard as the designated area where you want your pitbull to do his business. By training your dog to eliminate only in one area of the yard he will quickly come to understand what you want him to do when you lead him to that area.

    Step 2

    Lead your pitbull to this designated area several times throughout the day, especially after meals, and give him time to eliminate. Pitbulls can be easily distracted, so make sure not to reward your pitbull or play with him until he does his business.

    Step 3

    Use a command phrase like "go pee" or "go potty" every time you take your pitbull to the designated area of your yard. Over time, your pitbull will learn to connect the command with the action and he will respond automatically to the command phrase without you having to lead him to the designated spot.

    Step 4

    Praise and reward your pitbull when he follows your command and does his business in the designated area so he learns to connect the desired behavior with your praise and reward. Pitbulls are a very affectionate breed, so giving your dog a belly rub or a few minutes of playtime will help him to form a positive connection with following your commands.

    Step 5

    Establish two specific feeding times for your pitbull each day - one in the morning and one in the evening. Pitbulls typically need to eliminate between one and two hours after eating so by establishing a feeding routine you will be able to predict when your dog will need to go outside.

    Step 6

    Section off an area of the house using baby gates to keep your pitbull in overnight and when you cannot watch him. A small space such as a bathroom or laundry room will work -- it should be large enough for your pitbull to stand up, lie down and turn around but there shouldn't be much extra space.

    Step 7

    Avoid keeping any food or water in the room with your pitbull while he is confined -- you may even want to take away his water dish and avoid feeding him within three hours of bedtime. This will make it less likely that your pitbull needs to go during the night and will thus reduce the risk of him having an accident in the house.

    Step 8

    Be patient with your pitbull throughout the housebreaking process. If you become angry with your dog, he may sense your frustration and could develop a negative association with the training. If you hit your pitbull, he could develop aggressive tendencies or become fearful of you.

    Tips

    • When housebreaking your pitbull, be as consistent as possible. It may help to have only one member of your family be in charge of the housebreaking so your pitbull doesn't become confused if other members of your family do things a different way.
    • As an alternative to sectioning off a portion of the house to confine your pitbull, you may also consider using a dog crate. If you do choose to use a crate, be sure to pick one just large enough for your dog to be comfortable and line it with a blanket or dog bed.

    Warning

    • Never punish your pitbull for accidents he may have in the house during housebreaking. If you yell at your pitbull or rub his nose in the mess, he may not connect the punishment with the behavior and could merely become confused.

    About the Author

    Katherine Barrington has written on a variety of topics, from arts and crafts to pets, health and do-it-yourself projects. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a creative writing concentration from Marietta College.

    Photo Credits

    • Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images