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House Training a Puppy

House training a puppy takes time, consistency and patience. The proper training methods can make it easier on you and your dog. This is a guide about house training a puppy.


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By 11 found this helpful
July 17, 2007

Crate training seems to be all the rage these days although it's relatively new. Possibly because more people are spending more time away from home. Both spouses working and so on. It's trendy, I suppose.

But in the not too distant past, people house trained their dogs successfully without a crate. Crates are useful for transporting and to keep your pet safe in certain instances. But in my estimation, not such a good way to house train an animal who will likely be spending his entire life with you.

Yes, this may be just opinion, but I have house trained all my dogs successfully and they have never been in a crate.

It is such a sweet and wonderful time having a new puppy in the house. But please, before you get him, do research, inform yourself on what his needs are. Do some research even to find what kind of dog will fit best in your home and lifestyle; high energy, low energy, loyalty to small children, and so on.


The more time you spend picking out a dog makes it better for all concerned. Of course if he is a rescue and needs you right away, just be sure you are prepared to make a few sacrifices and to be very understanding.

For those of us who rescue dogs it doesn't feel like a sacrifice, but there are families who are not so prepared to deal with soiled carpets, chewed things, including people, inappropriate barking, and all the other things that can come along with a dog whose needs haven't been met. It is between you and your family to honestly decide if you are willing to embrace a new animal and do what is needed to meet his needs and your own.

Make an active effort to have a responsible person around the home for at least a week or two at all times when your puppy first comes to your house. The more time you can spend with him when he is little ensures that he can be a safe, happy and well adjusted adult dog.


Puppies don't have very big bladders and can pee a lot of times in a day. Which is great for training. If you notice him circling and sniffing the floor you can be relatively certain he is thinking about going for a pee.

Gently pick him up and take him outside. He may lose interest in peeing once he gets outside, but be patient. If and when he does let him know how pleased you are, lots of praise and lots of love.

Sometimes he will totally forget about peeing and you can let him back inside, but watch him closely and repeat going outside when he starts to sniff and circle.

If you take him to the same place outside he will quickly learn from the puddles he has already made that this is a good place to pee. That's what he is looking for when he is sniffing the floor.


Accidents do happen though with puppies. If you catch him in the act, gently pick him up, don't say "good dog/bad dog", just suggest that we should go outside. Likely he's done, but give him 5 minutes outside and don't play with him at those times. Play time is for after he pees. Poops.

Right after meal time is poopie time. And you will see him doing the poop squat. Of course take him outside right after eating if you can; give love and praise for a job well done. He might go poopie other times too, just watch him. It's like having a toddler around the house.

If he does have an accident, don't make a big deal about it. I find that SpotBot is great for such things. But any spot cleaner will be useful. Take the dog outside, don't reprimand. And deal with the mess later.


Ignore bad behavior and reward good behavior.

Your puppy is motivated by wanting to please you. And he really is just a little kid--so be understanding. Watch the look on his face and the waggle in his tail when you tell him what a good dog he is. He loves it! And will do almost anything to get it. Teach him what behaviors will get the "good dog" approval.

If you must be away from home when he is new to your house, well I feel sorry for him. He has just lost his mother and his siblings if he had any and now he has to spend the day alone? And to add insult to this still is it fair to stick him in a crate? People often fail to realize what a big deal it is for the puppy.

You could confine him to a puppy safe room and do what you can to paper train him in the same way you would for outside, then move the papers outside as he gets bigger.


A dog will suffer and bear a lot of things because he loves you. But he has needs and as a responsible and loving dog companion, you can make the commitment to give him the love and patience he needs when he is little so that you can be assured that you warrant the abundance of love he gives you.

A lot of dogs end up in shelters with behavior problems because people failed to educate themselves on the needs of these beautiful animals before they got them. Animal shelters are sad places.

And good heavens, dogs are such loyal, responsive, smart, and loving animals. Dogs are not born with behavior problems. And since it is us humans who are bringing dogs into our homes, it is up to us to teach them responsibly and with respect and love for the wonderful creatures that they are.

By Sheraone from Ontario

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December 22, 2011

I have been training another new pup we just recently adopted. He has been having a few accidents on my beds. So I went to a furniture store where they sell mattresses and they gladly gave me the plastic off some of the beds.

I wrapped all our mattresses in the plastic and used packing tape to secure them on the bottom. So at least when he is finally trained I will have my mattresses. Thank God I do not have carpets! This saved me a lot of money; rubber sheets are expensive.

By coville123 from Brockville, Ontario

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By 3 found this helpful
January 11, 2012

The time to start training your new puppy is on the day it joins your family. Don't expect perfection. Puppies have accidents. They forget the rules at times and sometimes, their curiosity causes trouble for them in areas where rules haven't been established.

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April 2, 20052 found this helpful

When we first got our dog (10 month old rescue Pomeranian), we got just so far in housebreaking her and couldn't get any further. We could tell that she wasn't getting the message clearly on what we wanted and we were sort of at a loss on how to let her know that she'd done something wrong without yelling or (god forbid) hitting her.

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By 3 found this helpful
July 23, 2011

I had two 8 weeks old puppies to house train at the same time. I took them outside when they woke up, after they played, after they ate, and before they went to bed.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 15, 2007

When house training your dog, take it to the same place, every time you take him/her outside to do it's business. Tell your dog "hurry up" or "potty" as your dog does his business.

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By 1 found this helpful
February 5, 2014

According to the Humane Society if your puppy has an accident while being house trained, take the rags or paper towels you used to clean up the area and place them in her defined elimination spot outdoors.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 13, 2007

When house breaking your dog, remember it needs to go out before and after everything, before a nap, after a nap, before eating, after eating, before playtime, after playtime.

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June 28, 20050 found this helpful

If you get a puppy, keep it in an old baby playpen with newspapers layered over an old shower curtain or other waterproof mat. Then the puppy can stay in the room with you without causing "accidents" on the carpet.

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January 12, 20180 found this helpful

House training a puppy requires a lot of time, consistency, and a firm gentle approach. Just as you would not expect a toddler to be potty trained in a day, puppies are babies, they need your guidance to learn the expectations of house training. This is a guide about puppy peeing everywhere.

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October 20, 20170 found this helpful

House training a puppy is a necessary and sometimes trying part of pet ownership. The successful completion of this training is well worth the time invested. This is a guide about house training a Yorkie puppy.

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January 23, 20170 found this helpful
Toilet training 5 month old puppy takes patience and diligence. Get tips on how to potty train a puppy in this guide.

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By 0 found this helpful
February 12, 2008

When we get a puppy we start out with lots of love and affection. We get a nice size box and put a clock that ticks (sounds like a heart), a cuddly blanket and a hot water bottle which we place under the blanket.

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November 16, 20040 found this helpful

Convincing Your Dog to Potty in One Place. Adapted From: Dog Tricks For Dummies. Having a dog that eliminates in a designated place is a real advantage. Thank you to Racer for recommending this link.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

March 11, 2011

We have had our baby Bichon for three weeks. He is now about twelve weeks old. We simply cannot keep him in his bin because he barks and barks. So, we let him run free which I think has been a terrible mistake. Please give me ideas as to how to potty train him. I do have the pads and he occasionally uses them, but most of the time he does not. Help please. Thanks so much.

By Montana Jewel Therapy from The Last Best Place NW Montana


March 11, 20110 found this helpful

Lots of consistently scheduled outdoor potty breaks helps and it does take time for a one dog family to learn this. If an older dog were in the home who was trained, the new kid on the block would follow the leader. However, it's up to you to see the dog gets lots of outdoor visits and pay attention to how much water the dog is drinking. They can't hold a lot for a long time especially a puppy, so the outdoor visits should be more frequent. AND, take the dog to the same location each time it goes outdoors and say "potty time" or other choice phrase to the dog, so it finally grasps the concept. Give a treat, a pat on the head and "say good boy" when it goes potty outside.

Also, since you use the pee pads for your dog, take one of the used ones outside to the spot where you want him to go potty. This will help him identify the odor to what he's suppose to be doing out there besides sniffing around.

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By 0 found this helpful
October 24, 2017

So our dog is almost 9 months old. We tried crate training her as a puppy when we got her at 8 weeks old, but she still peed and pooped where she slept and then she'd lay in it and then need a bath. So we let her sleep with us in bed and now she doesn't mess during the night. However when we leave her at home no matter how long we are gone she will at least pee in the basement and sometimes poop.

We've tried confining her to just one room and now she's designated that room as her potty room. If we leave her out with our other dog who is almost 9, thinking she'll do better with companionship, she still will go downstairs and go potty. She still doesn't let us know when she has to go either. If she has to go during the night though she'll usually stand on us to get us up, but during the day she doesn't tell us. We are at our wits end with her not holding it for as little as 2 hours. Any ideas?


October 25, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

Dog not training.

Step 1
His mother probably did not keep him clean so he is used to sleeping in his own waste.

Step 2
Make a 50-50 solution of water and vinegar.

Step 3
After washing where he is going potty spray all over with vinegar.

Step 4
It might act as a repellent.

Step 5
Tether him to you when your home so you can catch him when he has to go.

Step 6
Scold him with the sound of your voice.

Step 7
Take him right outside to finish and give him a treat every time he goes outside.

Step 8
Praise him and play with him for a few minutes.

Step 9
Keep treats on you so you can reward right away.

Step 10
Take him out every hour be consistent it will be worth it in the long run.

Step 11
If he still pees then I would take him to the vets.

Step 12
He should catch on in 3 days if your consistent set a timer for every hour to remind you to take him outside.

Step 13
The more chances you have to reward him the faster he will catch on.

Step 14
Put puppy pads down in his crate to make clean up easier.

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By 1 found this helpful
February 18, 2016

I have a 7 week old blue Pit Bull, and it only took me 3 days to paper train him, and then house train him. Is it that they are smarter than most dogs, or do I have a strange dog? He still nips, but I expected that, but when I tell him to stop he does. Also, when is the right age to get him vaccinated for I lost my one Pit who was 8 years old, and I just can't lose Crosby (yeah that's his name). Please someone give me an answer.

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April 3, 20060 found this helpful

I have a German Shepherd female pup that, as of today, is 3 months old. I have a few questions. She has learned some things pretty fast, but doesn't always listen or do as she is supposed to. She will sit when told and go into crate when told, and responds to, "do you want a treat" and "are you hungry, want to eat?".

I have a dog door at home that she goes in and out of while we are home. She learned to use it from seeing our 4 year old German Shepherd go in and out and showing her myself. If we are home she will usually always go out herself to potty. But there are times I still find pee or poop inside and have to clean it up. She is in a crate while I'm at work for sometimes 5 to seven hours and she does fine and doesn't go in the crate. I still show her how to go out at night, that seems to be the bigger problem, not so much in day time when we are home. It's like she forgets she can go out of the dog door at night. Any suggestions?

Also, when do they usually begin to start to lose baby teeth? It looks like her baby teeth haven't hardly come in yet. I read they usually lose teeth then ears stand up around 4 to 6 months, but her ears are totally up in the air and stood up like that at about 2 or 2 1/2 months old.

Also, if she is play biting with me or our other dog and she gets a little rough I will pop her nose easy and say, "no", and she does not like to be told no. Sometimes she listens and other times she will bark back at me and chop her teeth loud. Sometimes it seems aggressive when she does it and other times it seems like she is just playing. Does that sound like she may have an aggression problem?

Thank you, I hope I didn't ask too much at one time. :o)

Nicky from NC


By Vicka (Guest Post)
April 4, 20060 found this helpful

Congratulations on having GSD's. They are fantastic dogs. Crate your dog at night until she can be trusted. Take her out to relieve before bed and not again til morning.It sounds like a lot of crating, but she will live. Just make sure she gets lots of exercise during the day.

If you don't have a collar on her, get the best leather or heavy ribbed fabric collar you can afford. It should be 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide and tight enough that you can slip 2 or 3 fingers in. DON"T keep it too loose. The collar will be your "steering wheel" and you should have her wear it 24/7. Check regularly for correct tightness as her neck will grow.

Never bop her on the nose, as that will make her hand shy. But when she is mouthy like you described, you need to INSTANTLY correct the bejabbers out of her by grabbing her collar while you are standing and IMMEDIATELY (timing is crucial) letting her know that is totally unacceptable. Personally, I have lifted my GSD,s off their front feet and told them in no uncertain terms what the deal is and we have three, all house dogs. If you have not corrected in this manner or are not comfortable doing this, have a professional assist you. A dog should never mouth your hand. You are the boss. Shepherds especially need to know who is in charge and it is NEVER the dog. Love her and play, but never relinquish your role as pack leader. Uncorrected mouthing can escalate to real problems.

This is long, I know but many large dogs end up in shelters because of bad manners.

Work with her by setting her up. That is eliciting the mouthy behavior (flip your hands around, talk excitedly) and then giving the correction if she mouths your hand. Just don't use her name in this exercise. Do this as often as you think about it during the day. When she is responding the way you want then play, treat or whatever, with lots of praise when she reacts as you wish. These are smart dogs and they will figure it out if we are consistent in showing what we want and will praise for and what is not acceptable. You have a small pack on your hands and that is fine, just be in charge.

Her teeth should be coming in any time and she may need extra "chewing". Check in her mouth to see if any teeth are loose. Usually teeth come in just fine, but it's good to check the mouth. Ears can be up, down, sideways and usually are up by 4-6 months. We even had a "conehead", her ears both leaned in from about 10 weeks til she was 5 months. What a cutie.

Good luck with your dogs.

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By Claudia-MD (Guest Post)
April 5, 20060 found this helpful

This sounds like a pretty well-behaved dog for three months. She just needs a little time. As for the play-biting, I think that comes with teething, but should be discouraged. Sounds like you found a good one.....good luck with her.

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By Me (Guest Post)
April 5, 20060 found this helpful

I agree. Hitting is never appropriate. I would suggest that playing stops, instantly, as soon as she bites. Get up & walk away. When she comes to you to play again, praise her. Keep doing that & she should catch on quickly, since that's what puppies live for, to play. She sounds very smart to have learned so much in a short time. Remember, training & playing should be fun for both of you.

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By Nicky (Guest Post)
April 5, 20060 found this helpful

Thank you all for the information :o)

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By antonio (Guest Post)
April 16, 20070 found this helpful

Hey guys, nice site, very informative. I have had german shepherds all my life and now im 29 and they still dont stop amazing me. Ill try to keep this short but i have about 4 dogs, all shepherds except one rottweiler, a male shepherd is the oldest and definitely the alpha out of them. Now the oldest dog had a grandson that was given away from a puppy about 3 years ago and was returned to me about 6 months ago. Since hes come back, the alpha dog (his grand dad) has not allowed him to join the pack, everytime he gets too close especially if the family is close by, he goes straight for him and fights him until he runs off. I have introduced pups to this pack that are fine with them, but this grandson is quite the outcast here. What should i do? He doesnt ever get beaten badly usually just nips at each other, just enough to sound and look scary.

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By 1 found this helpful
January 27, 2013

I am having house training problems with my 8 month old mini Dachshund. I live in an apartment and unfortunately I am not able to leave any door open to my balcony when I go to work. She is left inside for approximately 8 hours a day. I walk her every morning and evening. Every time I come home from work she has pooped on the floor. I leave a pee pad out every day and she uses this to pee on 80% of the time, but almost never uses it to poo, even if she has pooped out on our walk!

If I am at home during the weekend with her or in the evenings, she still sometimes has accidents. I locked her outside for 1/2 an hour to "punish" her. Sometimes too in the mornings I wake to find she has pooped on the floor. I love her to pieces and I believe I do take her out more than she actually needs so I can't understand why she keeps doing this?


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October 11, 20110 found this helpful

I have a 9 month old mini Dachshund, my mom gave him to me as a birthday gift. I named him Tawny. I love him so much and bought all the things that he needed. He used to sleep with with me in my bed and always sleeps on my lap and sometimes sleeps on my chest when we watch TV. But I always have a problem with him with the house training. He poops and pees everywhere, especially in my bed.

I tried crate training him, but it doesn't seem to work, he won't stop barking. I live in an apartment and his bark echoes, so I really have no choice but to get him out of the crate. He also chews everything, such as my shoes and laptop's charger. One night I came home to find myself without the electricity. I thought it was just a blackout or something, then I saw my fridge's cord and electric socket it was plugged into were broken, he ruined it. He chewed the wires. He even poops in his dog plate.

I tried everything I can to housetrain him. This dog is loved and has a lot of attention. But I got really upset and crated him outside on my balcony. He won't stop barking, but if I let him inside the house again he'll break all my stuff and go pee and poop everywhere. He even bites me when I fetch him the ball.

He's been inside the crate for months now. I know it's cruel, but I don't want him to break anything that's important to me and worst he likes to chew wires. Lately I found his crate broken too. He broke it; I don't know how he did it. I'm losing hope and I don't know what to do. I love him as my own son. I'm thinking of getting rid of him if I can't get him trained. How am I going to train him if he is like that? Please help.

By Jamie V.

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By 0 found this helpful
January 7, 2016

I have a miniature Dachshund named Dude, and Dude has been a breeze for the most part to house/office break. Dude goes everywhere with me including my office for work, which makes training him a bit easier considering I don't let him slip at all throughout the day. The key I have noticed is consistency and keeping him on a schedule. Dude is ~5mo old at the moment and I've had him about 1.5 months and has been the ultimate sidekick.

Several times throughout the day, he will come up to me while I'm at my desk to tell me that he needs to go outside. So, we walk outside. Lately he has been doing this thing where he will not obey commands like 'come' (while I pat my leg and walk that direction). I know he knows what I'm saying because he listens and obeys fine while we're in the office or in my home. I repeat the command numerous times and he sits where he is and acts like he doesn't hear me.

I'll play out a scenario for you: Just a few minutes ago, he signaled for me to take him outside. I walk and let him follow me to the side yard. (I generally like for him to do #1 and #2, and he typically goes along and I reward him.) He continues to find a place to go #2. He finishes and sits. So I tell him to come, so we can walk around the other side of the building and hopefully he goes #1. He acts like I haven't said a word even though he's looking right at me in a way that says "I'm not going". So I continue to walk to that side of the building (he doesn't like when he doesn't have me in his line of sight to know where I'm at) while continuing to repeat the command. He runs to catch up with me and sits where he meets me. So I walk back to where we were originally and he doesn't move. This time he stays after he can't see me, even though I'm still saying 'come on'. I walk back to where he can see and obviously hear me, and repeat the command several times. He continues to be dismissive and ignore me. So I pick him up and walk him over to the area I want him to pee and he sits and will not move. At this point, I've run out of things to do to get him to come and walk around with me, so I say, "Let's go inside", open the door, and he runs in like he's expecting a wooping or some kind of scolding.

So here we are, sitting at the desk. He is laying across my chest with his head on my shoulder and shaking because he knows I'm frustrated. I realize these dogs are stubborn and want to do things their way, but I do not know what I'm doing wrong. We have always had dogs (Boxers) and have never had an issue with listening like this.

Anyone that has had a similar experience with a Dachshund, advise and/or solutions are greatly appreciated.

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