Tips For House Training Dogs

Your pup will eventually realize the grass is the appropriate place to relieve himself.
i Black dog image by Maksim Zinchenko from

The stains of dog urine and feces are nasty, but the stench is even worse. To an untrained pup, however, relieving himself indoors is the thing to do. Adult dogs usually take longer to house-train than puppies, but they also have fewer accidents throughout the day because they can hold it longer.

Frequent Bathroom Breaks

The only way to ward off an impending carpet stain is to take your pup out several times during the day. Although there are exceptions, the general rule is that how ever many months old your puppy is, that number plus one is how many hours he can hold his bladder. So if you have a 2-month-old puppy you just brought home, you should be making trips outside every three hours at the most. A young puppy may need to go out once during the night, but most can hold it in until morning. If you have an adult dog, take him out once every five hours to be safe.

Positive Reinforcement

The practices of rubbing your dog’s face in his own waste, yelling at him or even hitting him when he has an accident inside are outdated, dangerous and ineffective. None of those methods help your dog understand that the green grass is where he needs to do his business. He’ll just try to hide his accidents in the future. Instead, lift him up and bolt outside -- or guide him outside if he's large -- when you see him start to urinate or defecate. Once he relieves himself outdoors, make a huge deal out of it. Congratulate him, pet him and give him a treat. If you don’t catch him in the act indoors, clean it up and say nothing. To avoid not catching him, keep an eye on your pup at all times. Indoor leashes and gates preventing access to rooms you're not present in are helpful.

House-Training Pads

House-training pads are made of a soft, absorbing material that’s usually scented or controls the stench of urine. The pads keep your carpet clean, but they should never be used in place of house-training. Placing one or two by the door your dog knows to stand by when he needs to go out is the best strategy. By the time younger puppies let you know they need to go, you have about a minute or two before they simply can’t hold it anymore. The pads prevent needless floor stains in these cases.

Crate Training

Keeping your pup in a crate at night and when you’re away comes with multiple benefits. Your dog will eventually feel more secure and at ease in an enclosed home, and he won’t have the chance to squat over your clean floor. In fact, once dogs adjust to their crate, they’re less likely to urinate or defecate in it, because they see it as their home. The crate should be large enough to allow your pup to turn around, stretch out and feel comfortable, but not so large he can pace in it. If it’s too large, he may take a visit to the unused side and relieve himself. Always ignore your pup when he initially cries inside his crate. If he wakes you up crying, take him outside; he may need to go.

Remove Food at Night

Both puppies and adult dogs should eat a fixed diet. Food should never be left out for them to eat at their will. The amount of food you feed your pup depends on your dog’s breed and the type of food you provide. Schedule his meals so that he’s finishing his last one about three to four hours before you go to bed. He’ll be less likely to wake you up at night because he needs to relieve himself.

the nest