There’s nothing quite like bringing home a new dog to be a part of your family.  Whether it is a new puppy or an older rescue dog, having a new canine to love is awesome. What is not awesome, however, is cleaning up accidents off your carpets and rugs. Luckily, with patience, persistence, and consistency house training can help nip those accidents in the bud within a few weeks.

Create a Routine

The first thing you want to do is establish a set routine.  Consistency is key with house training so stick to your schedule as much as possible. This will teach your dog that the day is broken up into times of play, potty, eating and sleeping. It’s important to take your puppy outside frequently, first thing in the morning and at least every two hours throughout the day, and especially after eating or drinking.

Also, create a feeding schedule to help you know when they will need to go potty.  Feeding them at the same time every day will help make elimination more consistent. Lastly, get in the habit of taking away their food and water dish 2-3 hours before bedtime to help them not have to go potty in the middle of the night.

Pick a Potty Spot

Designate one area of your yard to be their potty spot.  Take them out on a leash to that same spot every time.  As they go use a cue word, such as “go potty” or in my family we say, “do a good boy.”  Then after a while you can use that cue word before they go inside to remind them to go outside.  When my dog looks like he needs to go we’ll say, “Rigsby, do you need to go do a good boy?” and he’ll take off to the door if he needs to go. Make sure to give out lots of praise and treats when they go potty outside, the positive reinforcement is imperative.

Supervise and Confine

You need to supervise your dog at all times in the house.  When you’re not able to watch them or have to run an errand, then put them in a crate or kennel.  If you don’t have a kennel, put them in an area small enough to where they can only lay down, but not turn in circles. If you’re thinking about crate training, make sure to research it to ensure the health and safety of your new pup.  If they have been in a crate or kennel for a long period take them outside as soon as they are let out.  It’s also a good idea to tether them to a chair with a leash (4-6 ft.) when supervising them inside, but not actually playing or cuddling with them. As soon as they show signs of needing to eliminate, take them out to their potty spot immediately. Signs include spinning in circles, barking, scratching at the door, sniffing or squatting.

Accidents Happen

Always keep in mind that accidents do happen and will happen during the house training process.  If you catch them in the process then stop them and take them outside to finish.  If you find it already done, don’t scold them because it’s too late for correction. If they are afraid of getting in trouble when they eliminate they will start to hide to do it, or even eat it to hide the evidence.  Both of these behaviors only undermine the house training process.

Consistency and praise are key when it comes to training your new dog to use the bathroom outside or in a specific area. Only following the routine and using cue words sometimes will confuse your dog and cause more accidents; it basically sabotages all your efforts leaving both of your frustrated.  Also make sure to always make a big deal when they do a good job and hand out treats as often as needed.  Having a new family member can be a little bit of work at first, but it’s more than worth it!