A white puppy standing in the grass.

How to Housetrain Your Dog in Three Easy Steps

House training is all about creating a habit in your dog. He will go to the bathroom wherever he goes the most. It’s that simple! Your goal is to make sure he “goes the most†outside on the grass.

Follow these three easy steps to house train your dog:

  1. Put your dog on a schedule. Take your dog out anytime he wakes up, finishes a play session, and 20 minutes after he eats or drinks. One of those things should be happening every 2–3 hours!
  2. Go outside with your dog. Don’t just put the dog out alone in a fenced yard. Instead, put him on a leash and go out with him. Stand in one general area until he goes to the bathroom. Reward him for completing his business and make the reward memorable- a piece of garlic chicken, cheddar cheese, or a walk.
  3. Prevent accidents by managing the dog’s environment.
    1. When you’re home, tether the dog to your waist. That way, he can’t sneak into another room to go to the bathroom. If you choose not to tether the dog, you must actively supervise. Don’t allow the dog out of your sight, even for a moment.
    2. When you’re out or when you can’t supervise, either use a crate or a puppy-proof room to minimize the chance of damage and accidents. Until the dog has gone three months without an accident, no not leave him unattended or unconfined.

Keep repeating these three steps until your house has been declared an accident free zone for at least three months.

What happens if your supervision falters and your dog has an accident?

  • If you catch your dog “in the act,†remain calm. Don’t bother punishing the dog. Punishment at this point will tend to teach the dog not to go to the bathroom in front of you…which is not a good plan for house training. Instead, just take him calmly by the collar and lead him outside. (If your dog is small enough, scoop him up and carry him out.) Reward him if he finishes his business outside.
  • Clean the area thoroughly using an enzyme-based product. (Nature’s Miracle, Simple Solution, etc.) Any remaining residue will serve as a marker for your dog, indicating that this is a good potty spot, so be thorough. After you’ve cleaned the area, make it inaccessible to the dog in some way—put a chair over it, block the doorway, etc.

With a little diligence and management, house training can be a breeze.