A new puppy is a wonderful experience, but certainly not one that doesn't involve plenty of time, effort, dedication and hard work. House training is just one of the many important components of raising a happy and well-adjusted pooch. Some puppies, however, may take to house training faster than others.
No two puppies are exactly the same, and it's impossible to estimate the exact duration of the house training process. In general, puppies are basically housebroken when they are between 4 and 6 months old, according to the ASPCA. In terms of full dependability and minimal or zero messy accidents, anywhere between 8 and 12 months is a safer bet, though. Not all puppies retain habits at exactly the same pace. One puppy may take to house training in merely weeks, while it may take another pup months longer. If your puppy hasn't had any elimination "oops" incidents for 2 or 3 months, there's a good chance that he is housebroken, for all intents and purposes.
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
It also isn't rare for puppies to take one step forward and then two steps back while house training. Just because your puppy successfully waits until you go outside into the yard one day doesn't mean that the same will apply the next day. Young puppies are still in the process of gaining command over their bodily functions due to their still-developing rectal and bladder muscles. These muscles tend to develop fully by the time a puppy is around 4 months in age, although it always varies depending on the individual. Although your puppy may be fully aware that he has to go outside to do his thing, his body may not necessarily allow that -- and it's not the poor thing's fault.
Depending on your puppy's physical size and breed type, the general duration of house training may vary. Canines of larger breeds often take to housebreaking more rapidly, notes the Humane Society of the United States. This is in no way a steadfast rule, however. In some cases, a smaller pooch may learn to eliminate outdoors much faster than a larger one; it is impossible to anticipate. Some larger dogs may be more responsive to training because of their breeds' roots in closely working alongside humans -- for example, hunting dogs.
One tip for helping along a puppy's training process is stability. If your puppy has a predictable daily regimen and schedule for eating meals and going to the bathroom, it may be easier for him to retain the training he has received. If your puppy's feeding and outdoor sessions are chaotic, the process may take longer -- and be significantly more difficult, as well.