Dog Training

How to House Train your Puppy (These Tricks Will Help!)

Congratulations - your puppy has finally moved in with you and you can spend your first days together. However, one topic might cause displeasure and disgust: Potty training. This article will help you get your little dog housebroken.

Puppy housetrained
Table of contents


When your puppy first enters his new home, he probably isn't housebroken yet.

He has not learned housetraining and therefore cannot be held responsible for his misbehavior. He doesn’t know that he shouldn’t do his business on the nice soft carpet.

Therefore, it’s your job to teach him which places he is allowed to relieve himself. This will not happen overnight.

You will need a little patience. However, it is all the more important that your pet internalizes housetraining. 

Your little one can then easily live in the apartment or be taken to the homes of friends and acquaintances.

Potty Training: How Often Should You Go Out?

puppy does not want to go for a walk
Puppies need to do their business often. They can’t hold it back for long and don’t understand why they should.

Besides, everything is still so exciting at the beginning, so there are often mishaps.

That's why you should take the precaution of going outside with your charge every few hours.

Initially, it is best to do this every 2 hours. After a while, the time can be extended to 4-5 hours. 

You don't have to stay outside with him for a long time every time. It is only important that he has the opportunity to do his business.

The most "dangerous" times are after eating, drinking, or waking up. Keep in mind that these are times when your puppy probably needs to pee.

Plan on taking your pup outside after every meal and after napping.

In the beginning, your pet will also need to relieve himself at night. If you let him sleep near you, you will notice when he gets restless.

It is helpful to move his sleeping area to a lockable dog crate or similar for the first few weeks. 

If he cannot come out on his own, he will whimper as soon as he has to do his business. 

This is because dogs will avoid getting their own sleeping space dirty. By whining, they let you know they need to go outside.

The more often he does his business outside, the faster he will get used to it. 

He will also learn there are also quite a few interesting smells outside and a lot to explore. This is a special incentive for your puppy to go outside.


When You Should Go Out

Watch your puppy for a while. You will soon notice exactly when he wants to relieve himself.

This is important, because you need to react quickly. As soon as you recognize the signs, you should go outside with him.

Your puppy probably gets very restless when he has to do his business. He start looking for a suitable place and sniffing the floor.

He may also go to a place where he has been detached before or stand beside the door. 

Many dogs also run in circles at this moment. They know they are not allowed to do their business inside. However, they also have no other option. 

In any case, your puppy will move away from his sleeping or feeding place. Most dogs prefer to keep the places that are important for them clean.

Here is a summary of the signs:

  • Restlessness
  • Sniffing the ground
  • Running in circles
  • Standing by the door
  • Seeks out place where he has used the bathroom before
  • Moving away from his feeding or sleeping place

Choose a Fixed Place

When you realize it's time, don’t waste time. . A few seconds can be all it takes. That's why you should have your jacket and shoes ready at all times.

Take your puppy outside as soon as possible. In the beginning, you can still carry him, later you can just lead him there.

If he does not do his business in the apartment, but outside, praise him extensively.

Your puppy must learn he has just done something really great. He has also earned a treat and a petting. This helps you furball realize it is worthwhile for him to go outside.

Reward him as soon as he is finished with his business. While he’s going, he needs rest and should not be distracted.

It's best to find a specific place where your pet is allowed to poop. You can use different devices for house training, in fact, like puppy pads or crates 

Then bring him there every time and praise him when you arrive. He then knows he should only go there and not in the apartment.

If he is allowed to relieve himself anywhere outside, this could confuse him. A fixed place solves this problem. 

In addition, you can later better control that he does not do his business in inconvenient places. And you know where the poop is.

If you like, you can also use a command to teach when it should be released. This is not absolutely necessary. If your dog has to, he will do it on his own. But it can be helpful. 

Has your dog been in the car for a while? Or does he stay alone in the apartment? Show him where he should relieve himself first. This way you can also control where he leaves poop on the occasion he cannot wait. 

To do this, simply give a command like "do" every time he does his business. After a while, he will get used to the command and know what it means.

When He Must Go in the Apartment

Dog pees in apartment

This will happen very often during the early weeks of training . Your puppy will only learn after a few weeks that he is only allowed to relieve himself outside.

There are several reasons why a dog leaks inside your home. You should understand why before fixing this behavior.

No matter the reason, you should never scold him . Punishment tends to have the opposite effect.

There is also usually too much time between the mishap and the scolding. If that’s the case, your puppy won’t associate the punishment with his action. 

He won’t know what he is being punished for – because he did his business? Because he did it in this room?

Besides, punishment doesn't work nearly as well as reward. Punishment is more likely to make him insecure, and it will harm your relationship.

If he is afraid of you because you are angry with him, the trust between you will deteriorate. He might even hide his business because he is afraid of the consequences.

So you better show your puppy how to do it right. You do this by paying more attention beforehand and taking him outside in time.

➡ The most important thing, of course, is to praise him when he has done it right.

Show Patience and Consistency

It may take several weeks to a few months before your pet is completely housebroken. This can bring some dog owners to the brink of despair. 

Be understanding to your puppy and show him again and again that he is only allowed to relieve himself outside. It will get better with time.

Always remember that it's not your dog's fault. He just doesn't know any better. That's why you must show him. Stay consistent, but don't be too strict with him.

And above all: have patience. Even if it takes a while, in the end your pet will be housebroken. Once he learns, he'll probably stay that way for the rest of his life.

My Conclusion

The housetraining period can be nerve-wracking and exhausting. But if you are understanding with your dog and practice consistently, the whole thing becomes much more pleasant.

It is important that you show him from the beginning that he should relieve himself outside. Take the precaution of taking him outside every few hours. 

If you notice: 

  • Unrest 
  • Sniff 
  • Running in circles 

take him outside as soon as possible. 

When your puppy has done his business outside, praise him extensively. He will quickly realize he is behaving correctly. Over time, he will get used to it and slowly become housebroken.

Even if there is a relapse: don't scold your dog. It's not his fault. Just pay more attention to the signs next time and avoid a mishap.

If you stay patient, your dog will soon be completely housebroken.

Written by Anja Boecker
Written by Anja Boecker

My name is Anja Boecker and I am a dog trainer and behavior consultant (IHK certificate). With these articles I would like to help you understand your dog better and build an inseparable bond.

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1 Comment

  1. Bernhard Schuch

    quite a great treatment of an unpleasant problem,
    will start tomorrow with your advice,
    but I am very confident.
    I have a 4 month young Airedale Terrier girl who is terrier typical sassy and stubborn.
    Will report on experience on an ongoing basis.
    Many greetings

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