Five Tips for Housetraining A Puppy

The problem is as old as when we first domesticated dogs about 15,000 years ago - how do you house train a puppy? And, nowadays, with our lack of time and energy, we wonder how quickly it can be done. Can it be done in a month? A few weeks? A week? Yes! It can be done in approximately a week and, though you may have accidents down the line at different stages of your puppy's life, it is a fix that will stay and can be re-learned quickly.

Very few puppies will be housetrained when you get them. If they're slightly older, such as 16 weeks, your pup may be well on his way (pups under ten weeks cannot control their urination more than a few hours). But, at this age, you're bound to come across little puppy piddles and poopie buried under the rug. The keys to training your pup quickly are: time, tenacity, patience and consistency. So, you may have to take a little time off work up front but it will pay off later.

1. Use the Crate! Once your pup is comfortable in his crate, use it to help with housetraining. Your puppy is unlikely to soil his area so the longer you can train him to be in the crate, the less likely he is to have accidents.

2. Watch That Dog! Keep on eye on your puppy as much as possible. The more times you can catch him just as he's about to go to the bathroom, the quicker he'll learn. Watch for the signs, and immediately grab him and place him outside (even if he's started peeing). The signs of an imminent bowel movement are: squatting, sniffing in out-of-the-way places, and turning circles. You've got to be quick because a puppy can find a spot and urinate in five seconds.

3. Praise, Praise, Praise! When you get your pup outside, praise him even if he managed to finish his business on your new sweater. Never admonish your puppy for accidents.

4. Enlist the Help of Others! The whole process will be easier and more effective if family members or friends can help.

5. Banish That Smell! When there are accidents, immediately clean the area with a cleaner that gets rids of urine smells, not something that just masks it. Your pup will return to the same places where he's urinated if you don't.

It may seem like a lot of work but the consequences of not housetraining your puppy early on are many. You'll have the stigma of an ill-mannered puppy on your hands when you take him places and it makes obedience training more difficult because your puppy hasn't gone through the first lesson of learning who the alpha dog is (you!). Also, training an adult dog takes much more work and they're not as easy to scoop up and place outside.

It's a fairly simple way of housetraining but it's very effective if you take the time and make the effort. Just remember to keep your eyes open, your arms ready to scoop up your furry friend and your cheerful face on even in the midst of puppy pee fire.

Photo: Meagan