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How To House Train Your Dog?

At A Glance

Sticking to a routine is the best way to house train your dog. We recommend giving your dog enough time to empty their bladder or do their business regularly.

For puppies, this could mean taking them outdoors or showing them to their “bathroom” area every 2 hours - which is the standard amount of time they can control their bladder.

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Last Updated on: Aug 26, 2022

Welcoming a new dog to your home can be an exciting experience. However, trying to manage a pup or older dog that hasn’t been house-trained can be challenging for any pet owner. From peed-on rugs to hidden mickeys, leaving your dog untrained when it comes to doing their business can spell trouble for your home’s sanitation and your family’s health.

The good news is, it’s not that difficult to house train your dog. This article covers top tips from dog behavior experts that are sure to help you keep your home clean and dog litter-free.

dog sitting on a couch

You need three things: consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement. When one of these elements is lacking, you’ll find it much more difficult to see the entire process all the way through. To explain why, the Humane Society of the United States recommends following two principles in training your dog:

custom oil-painted dog portraits by Poshtraits

Develop A Realistic Routine

Before anything else, it’s important to remember that the first few days will be the trickiest for you and your dog. To make this period easier for both of you, it’s important to stick to a schedule.

Studies show that maintaining a consistent frequency and duration when training your dog yields better results in the long run.

The reason behind it is simple.

Puppies and dogs don’t think as humans do. If you want them to learn something, repetition is your best option. Taking them out regularly to do their business is the easiest way for them to learn to associate the routine with their bladder and bowel movements.

How do you do it?

The first thing you need to do is figure out a routine that works for your dog. For example, puppies need to do their business every 1 to 3 hours. In contrast, when house training an older dog without a crate, they can hold it for up to ten hours.

That said, don’t expect an adult dog to wait that long without going to the bathroom. This practice can have adverse effects on their health, primarily due to the high risk of bacteria buildup that could cause UTIs.

It’s best to keep an eye on their bathroom schedule to understand how frequently they need to go throughout the day.

Some dogs may have a bladder that’s disproportionate to their size and may need to go to the bathroom more often than you assume. House training involves a lot of close observation of your new dog’s habits and developing a routine that will accommodate their body’s needs.

Also Read: Best Labrador Breeders In Florida

dog sitting on lap while reading book

Establish Boundaries

Early on, it’s crucial to decide how you want to house train your dog.

Do you want them to empty their bladder outside your home at all times or a designated toilet area somewhere inside?

Trying to teach them both at the beginning can be tricky and confusing for your dog. We suggest taking things slow and teaching them exactly where you want them to go.

Taking your dog out to pee every few hours may not be a reasonable option for most pet owners. Giving your dog their own space to do their business is an important element for house training.

You might have to set up a private bathroom space that they’ll have access to whenever they need to go.

It is vital to make sure they understand where they can and cannot. Routinely take them to their toilet area according to the schedule you’ve set.

Each time they pee or poop in the right place, give them a treat and praise them enthusiastically to reinforce their positive actions.

If you’re having trouble with a dog that doesn’t seem to want to go in the right place, you can take a bit of their urine and spread it around the designated toilet area. While this isn’t quite a scientifically proven method, it may help your dog associate the marked-off area with peeing.

An important tip you need to keep in mind:

Establish The Living Space

Make sure your dog understands that they’re not supposed to use their living space like a bathroom.

Letting them know where they can and cannot do their business will help your puppy understand why they aren’t supposed to pee in your living room, or anywhere else in the house.

Dogs typically think that they can pee anywhere they want. So establishing strict boundaries in your home may help you prevent unwanted accidents.

To do this, give your dog a designated bed that will be easy to move around. Once they’ve grown accustomed to their bed, occasionally transfer it from one room to another.

Each time you move your dog’s bed, make sure they have enough time to acclimate with the new location before moving it again. This way, they’ll understand that these spaces are for sleeping and living in, and not for doing their business.

With this training technique, you will establish definite boundaries within your home.

Also Read: Top Cattle Dog Breeds

Dog in blanket

How Long Does It Take To House Train A Dog?

House training puppies can take anywhere from 4 months to one year. Of course, it all depends on how you train your dog and how strictly you stick to your training schedule.

A good rule of thumb to speed up the house training process is to never reprimand or yell at your dog when they disobey or make a mistake. This can have adverse effects and actually slow down your dog’s learning process.

Instead, focus on giving rewards each time they do something correctly.

With positive reinforcement, your dog will become more motivated and will likely be going to the bathroom without any problems in no time.

It’s important to remember that you can’t expect perfection from your dog. If you do, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. Sometimes accidents happen, so you shouldn’t dwell too much on them.

Instead, consider yourself lucky once your dog begins to establish a schedule that they follow every day. And if they’re not doing it on a regular basis yet, you’ll need to work more closely to make it happen.


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Common House Training Problems And Solutions

House training is not a one-and-done situation. You’ll face many problems and come across difficulties that may seem impossible to overcome.

The best thing to do is to make sure you understand why these problems occur and how you can fix them.

Here are some common issues owners face throughout the early stages of house training.

Soiling Their Den

When dogs soil their designated living area or their den, it could mean one of two things:

– They’ve been left there for too long and you need to adjust your routine

– They have too much space.

Dogs who aren’t accustomed to your home can develop anxiety. It’s a common belief among vets that anxiety can lead to urine marking behavior in dogs.

Your best bet is to limit their den space in the beginning, until they get used to sleeping and living there. Slowly, your dog will grow accustomed to it, and then you can continue to gradually make it more spacious and comfortable.

dog looking outside the window

Drinking Too Much Water

Some dogs love to drink water when they’re bored. If you notice that their dog bowl needs to be filled more often than usual, then they may be drinking too much water – which could be causing their accidents.

To get through this, you should limit their water intake. You can create a schedule for them to drink water, or you could offer them their water bowl and take it away after they’re done.

Frequent Accidents

If your dog continues to pee uncontrollably, it may be dealing with some health problems. Peeing more than usual can be a sign of a UTI and should be dealt with as soon as possible.

Go to the vet to rule out any health-related issues your dog may be suffering from. It may end up being a false alarm, but it’s still better to be safe than sorry.

Changing Diets

If you tend to give your dog table food or varying brands of dog food, then it may be more difficult for you to gauge their internal bathroom schedule.

Sticking to one brand of dry dog food while house training your dog may make it easier to establish a routine.

This way, you can eliminate any surprises when it comes to their bathroom schedule. You can give them more variety in the future when they already understand where they should and shouldn’t go to do their business.

Dog drinking water

With this guide, you have all the tips you need to house train your dog. Remember, patience is key to success when doing any kind of training.

Taking your dog to the bathroom without any accidents is a wonderful start, and will make it much easier for them to maintain consistent good behavior.

We wish you the best of luck with house training your dog! And if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to leave them below. We’ll be sure to get back to you!


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Meet Paul, a devoted dog dad to the delightful French Bulldog, Cofi. With a flair for humor and a deep understanding of Frenchie quirks, Paul brings a lighthearted touch to his writings. His relatable stories and practical insights are a blend of laughter and valuable advice and resonate with fellow dog owners.

Through his words, Paul aims to celebrate the joys and challenges of being a dedicated pet parent, reminding you that life is simply better with a four-legged, snorting sidekick by your side.