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Effective Potty Training Techniques for Dogs and Puppies

Updated on November 3, 2011

Potty Training can be a challenging task, but I have found that there are a few hard and fast rules that will help lead to success. First, if he is in the house, make sure that he is with you at all times. I generally keep a light leash on the dog. I will grab it if I catch the dog trying to leave me a present. If the dog cannot be supervised, he needs to be either outside or in his kennel. Kennels are to be kept small at this point; forcing the puppy to pee in “his den” which is entirely against his nature.

You want to take him outside often and ask him to go potty. Reward when he does. This likely will have to happen many times. The reason you keep the dog close to you in the house, is you need to catch him in the act. It’s all about timing. You need to stop him and put him outside immediately when he is caught. Most people find the most success after the dog has been caught 3 times. Trainers sometimes refer to this as the rule of 3. Do NOT punish the dog if you do not catch him. He will not understand, and this likely will only make the problem worse.


Free feeding can make potty training nearly impossible, because then you cannot predict with any certainty your dog’s need. I feed twice a day and pick up food after 20 minutes. At that point, I take the puppy out. The puppy will feel pressure on his bladder which will encourage him to poop. Be patient with him and give him plenty of time. If he does not, try again in 30 minutes. With respect to water, I usually pick it up about an hour before bedtime to prevent night time accidents.

Finally, you want to make sure you clean up any accidents, both new and old from ANY animal (cat or dog) in their entirety. Old scents tell the dog that it is an okay spot to pee. First, soak up as much moisture as possible. Then be sure to use an enzyme cleaner or vinegar, which will break down the urine.

We wish you the best of luck in your potty training quest. Feel free to contact us if you have further questions.


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    • kimberly Crocker profile image

      kimberly Crocker 6 years ago from Southern New Hampshire

      Great HUB! my boyfriend and i have a new puppy and i wanted to crate train him because he chews everything when we are not in the house, which is why i asked the question. But he caught on real quick to potty training. He's a smart pup but loves to chew everything!

    • profile image

      careers4 6 years ago from Cheshire, MA

      I have housetrained many, many dogs over my forty years of involvement in breeding and showing. What I find easiest is simply to keep a new dog on a leash, with the other end tied to my belt loop. This way, he is right at hand if he starts to go, and I avoid what could potentially turn into a game of chase as I try to grab a loose lead. This has the added advantage of teaching the pup to focus on me at all times, as every time I move he must come with me. This only takes a few days.

      I would also like to comment on the "don'ts" of housebreaking. Never correct an accident you did not witness, even if the "gift" is still warm. It goes without saying that you never bring the animal over to the mistake or, God forbid, rub its nose in it. The dog will not know why he is being disciplined, even if he acts contrite. He is actually responding to your behavioral and scent cues rather than any awareness of what he's just done.