House training is one of the first things you’ll need to teach your puppy. The key is for you and your puppy to get into a good, daily routine and stick to the training.
All puppies learn at different paces. Some will pick up toilet training within a few days but others might take much longer. Even if your pup is a quick learner, they’re bound to have accidents at first.
- Take your puppy out first thing in the morning for a toilet break and encourage them to poo and wee outside. It can help to have your puppy on a lead at first to avoid any chance of them running around exploring and not focusing on the fact that a toilet break is due. It’s also helpful to use a word that your puppy can associate with going to the loo, like ‘hurry up’ or ‘toilet’.
- Take your puppy out every 2-3 hours during the day. Remember that your puppy only has a little bladder and they’re not used to having to hold it in. They’ll be able to hold it better as they get older and will need fewer toilet breaks.
- Give your puppy a toilet break shortly after each meal, as they’ll need a poo not long after eating. It’s a good idea to take them outside when they’ve just woken up, too. Puppy play can also make them need the loo, especially if they get really excited. Take them outside straight afterwards or give them a break halfway through a play session.
Rewarding your puppy
When your puppy does go to the toilet outside give them lots of praise and a high-value reward, like a healthy snack. This will let your puppy know that you’re really happy with them for going to the loo outside. They’ll be more likely to want to do it again, so they can get more fuss and treats.
What to do if your puppy has an accident in the house
Never punish your puppy for having an accident inside the house. It’s not their fault: they simply haven’t been given enough opportunity to go to the toilet outside. Clean the area thoroughly and use it as a valuable learning experience!
It’s a good idea to learn the signs your puppy may show before going to the toilet e.g. circling and sniffing the floor. This is your cue to take them outside and praise them for going to the toilet where you want them to.
House training older dogs
Older dogs can also be house trained very easily:
- Take them outside every hour and reward and praise the dog for toileting outside.
- Never punish them for soiling in the house but increase the frequency of trips outside if they are still having accidents in the house.
- Gradually, the time between trips outside can be increased. You may need to give them opportunities to toilet during the night too, but the majority of dogs will learn very quickly.
Keeping to a regular schedule of food and exercise can also help to house train older dogs.
If you need further help toilet training an older dog, ask your local vet or vet nurse for advice. They may be able to refer you to an accredited behaviourist for further help.