Bringing a new puppy home comes with the challenge of teaching him where and when it's appropriate to go to the bathroom. Mother dogs keep the den area clean from urine and feces until pups are old enough to follow her outside to relieve themselves. As this is a natural part of a dog's early training, you can teach a pup as young as 2 months old the basics of potty training.
Prepare Ahead of TimeYour pup needs consistency during the entire week of house training, so you or someone else dedicated to the process should be near him at all times. Plan an area where you will take your dog to do his business. An outdoor area should be easily accessible to the house, or he'll get distracted on the way to his potty spot. If you live in an apartment and want your dog to use training pads, select an area such as tile where any of his misses won't ruin the flooring. Invest in cleaning products that will remove the odor should he have an accident so he does not return to the same spot. Set aside one room of the house or a training crate where he'll stay contained between outings.
Time to PottySet an alarm to go off every hour for the first day while your pup is awake. Take him to his potty spot, point and tell him to go potty. Use the same command and gesture each time, so he'll know what you expect of him. Praise him when he produces results or give him a treat. Time outings so you take him out five to 30 minutes after eating or drinking a significant amount of water. Be sure to take him out last thing before bedtime. Your puppy will whine or move around restlessly when he needs to go out during the night. Take him out in the morning as soon as he is awake to avoid accidents.
See the SignsBy the end of 24 hours, you'll have a good idea how long your pup can wait between trips to his potty spot. The rest of the week entails being consistent, so the routine is well-ingrained by the end of seven days. When your pup is with you, watch for signals that he needs to go, such as whining, sniffing or pacing. Some pups give very little cue that they need to relieve themselves, other than leaving the room or going over to a corner. Keeping the pup in a contained area such as a crate or small room usually elicits whining or a sharp bark once the pup knows you'll respond by taking him outside to his spot.
When Accidents HappenNever leave your dog confined more than three to four hours even after the week is up. At about 6 months of age, he'll have enough control of his bodily functions to gradually get used to longer periods. The younger the dog, the more frequently he'll need to relieve himself. Should he have an accident between outings, don't yell at him, put his nose in it or swat him with a newspaper. Creating a negative association can confuse him and cause him to hide his bodily waste around the house. If he begins to squat while you're watching him, say "no" to make him stop and rush him outside to his spot. Clean up his accident using an enzymatic cleaner to help reduce odors. Reinforce good behavior with plenty of praise and treats.