Best Way to Potty-Train a Puppy

by Pauline Gill, Demand Media
    A puppy can control his bladder one hour for each month of age.

    A puppy can control his bladder one hour for each month of age.

    Housetraining your new pup doesn't have to be frustrating. With a schedule, diligence and lots of praise, your family addition will learn that potty time takes place outside, not on the Berber carpet. Accidents are part of the process, so be patient.

    Crate

    The best way to potty train your pup is to use a crate. Purchase a crate that is big enough for him to stand, lie down and turn around in. To accommodate his growth, purchase one adequate for his adult size but block off the back of it. You don't want him to use the back of the crate for his potty area. Keep him in the crate except for playtime and potty time. Feed his meals in the crate so he relates the crate with pleasurable events. Line the bottom with disposable pads or towels in case of accidents. If he does have an accident, clean it up immediately to prevent scents from permeating the bedding area.

    Feedings

    Pups need to eat three times a day. Keep yours on a strict schedule. Do not leave food out for your pup to eat any time he wants. The goal is to schedule his potty times. Most pups will need to eliminate shortly after eating. Once your puppy finishes his food, take him out and give him 15 to 20 minutes to potty. The last meal of the day should be two to three hours before bedtime. This will help limit potty outings during the night.

    Potty Schedule

    Let him out of the crate first thing in the morning. Lead him or carry him outside to the area you want him to use for his potty place. Once he potties, praise him, pet him and spend some time playing with him. If he doesn't potty, take him back to the crate, wait 10 minutes and take him back out again. Return him to his crate. Take him out every one to two hours throughout the day when you bring him home, then extend the time between breaks gradually. Take up his water before he goes to bed. His last time out should be just before bedtime.

    Considerations

    Monitor your pup when he isn't in the crate. If you are playing with him on the floor and he starts to look for a place to potty, pick him up without hesitation and take him outside. Don't scold; he'll associate scolding with eliminating, complicating your training. For the first week, keep the crate in your bedroom for nighttime sleeping. A young puppy may need to go out a couple of times during the night. Don't play with him during these events. Let him do his business, then praise him and take him back to his crate. If he has trouble sleeping during those first nights, wrap a wind-up clock in a towel and place it in the crate with him.

    About the Author

    Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.

    Photo Credits

    • Cute sleeping puppies!! image by jeanctc from Fotolia.com