| Feed at set times. Do not vary even on weekends. Puppies should be fed three
times a day. If the puppy does not eat after 10 minutes, take the food away. He will be
hungry next time. This helps establish routine eating/potty times. Don’t add something
‘yummy’ on top just to get the puppy to eat.
Feed a quality diet and do not vary it. Do not feed table scraps or lots of treats
during the housetraining period. Watch your puppy’s stool—if they are loose, you may be
overfeeding or giving too many treats.
Have your veterinarian do stool checks for worms; another possible cause of loose
stools. If your puppy has a sudden setback or is urinating more frequently, your puppy
could have an infection. Call your veterinarian!
Housetraining is a matter of getting the puppy outside often enough and preventing
him from going inside. Take your puppy out on a regular schedule, stay out with him, and
praise him when he goes. Take your puppy out after he has eaten or drunk, after he wakes
from a nap, after he has played or when he begins to sniff in a circling motion. Keep a
chart of exactly what the puppy does at what time, including accidents. You will notice a
pattern and be better able to plan his schedule. Dogs thrive on a routine! Your puppy
depends on you to establish this.
Use a crate or small area to confine the puppy any time you cannot supervise him
and at night. The crate should be just big enough for the puppy to turn around and lie
down comfortably. Do NOT put any bedding in until after the puppy is potty trained. It
will only absorb accidents and encourage him to “go” in the crate. Dogs will usually
keep their sleeping area clean, so don’t allow room for him to potty in one area and sleep
in the other. Crates are not cruel, when used properly, and will become your puppy’s
“den.” Following the instructions that come with the crate, gradually get your puppy
comfortable with going in the crate. Remember, you must take the dog out often enough to
When you take him out, go straight to the spot you want to make his toilet area, use
a command like “Go potty” & Praise when he goes! Teach him that this is the time and the
place to relieve himself. If he will not go, put him back in his crate and try again in 20
minutes or when he lets you know. Don’t give him a chance to make a mistake inside.
Young puppies will need to go out every three hours or so during the day until they gain
better bladder control.
Clean accidents with a cleaner designed for urine odor, or with white vinegar and
water. Do not use an ammonia-based cleaner. Urine contains ammonia and such a
cleaner would attract your dog to that spot again. Clean the spot thoroughly.
If you catch your puppy in the act of relieving himself in the house, say, “Ah-Ah!”
Pick him up or encourage him to follow you, Say “Let’s go outside”, carry him directly
outside to his toilet area, wait with him until he goes there and then Praise! No harsh
punishment is necessary!
Under NO circumstances drag your puppy over to an accident to show it to him
and scold him. Or worst of all, rub his nose in it. If you don’t catch him in the act, say
nothing. Put him in another area and clean it up. Severe punishment will only make things
worse! Punishment after the fact only causes new problems and solves nothing.
Puppies and Crates 101
Puppies and crates. They should really come as a package deal. Crate training is an
important part of preparing your dog for life in the human world. Even if you do get lucky and are
able to accomplish housetraining without one, your dog will most likely, someday, encounter the
need to be in a crate. An overnight stay at the vet, traveling in a car, and possibly if boarded or
groomed. Having your dog already accustomed to a crate can greatly reduce stress in those
Housetraining can be a difficult task for both owner and dog. It can create much frustration and
anger for owners. It can create much fear and anxiety for your puppy. Sometimes the result is a
resentful, unhappy owner and a confused, insecure puppy who now has more serious
housetraining issues because housetraining was inconsistent and confusing. A crate can alleviate
most, if not all, problems associated with housetraining if used properly.
Here are a few things that can help you introduce your puppy to a crate and teach him to think of
it as his own safe place…his ‘den’.
• Introduce the puppy to the crate as soon as it comes home. If introduced early, the puppy
will take to the crate much more quickly and permanently.
• First, simply leave the door open and throw treats or toys inside to get the puppy going in
and out. Praise each time he goes inside. Then begin using a phrase like “kennel up” each time.
• After several repetitions, close the door and praise while the puppy enjoys his treat or toy.
Close it for only a few minutes at first and gradually increase the time. Praise as long as the puppy
is in the crate and is NOT throwing a fit. When you open the door and let him out, do NOT
praise. Continue using a treat and your phrase, “kennel up” each time you ask the pup to go
inside. You can work up to a few hours the first day.
• Never open the door unless he is being quiet. He must be quiet even if it is just a second so
you can take that opportunity to praise and quietly let him out.
• While the puppy is in the crate make sure he has things to do. Supply stuffed Kong toys,
Orbees, or other safe toys and treats. Do not put anything in the crate that will absorb urine (like
blankets, towels or fleece toys) until after the housetraining process is complete.
• Feed all of the puppy’s meals in the crate to begin with. Leave the door open if possible.
• Keep the crate in a social location, not in the basement or garage. The puppy should be able
to see what is going on and know that you are close when you are home. If you can put it in the
bedroom at night, that may help the puppy feel safe at night and it gives you the ability to correct
whining and crying immediately.
• If the puppy carries on for more than a few minutes, give the crate a sharp rap on the top
and say, “Quiet!” in a firm voice. If the puppy stops, praise quietly with a level, “Good boy.”
• If he starts again, give a stern, “Aaah, aah! Quiet!” and another sharp rap if necessary.
Make sure he does not need to go outside and is not overly thirsty or hungry. If he has needs, you
must provide them.
• Make SURE you are taking the puppy outside often enough to relieve himself, so that he
does not have to go in the crate. Follow all the rules on the other side of this sheet. Puppies can
generally hold it for about an hour longer than their age in months. For example, a three month
old puppy can hold it for four hours while an 8 week old pup can only hold it for three hours. At
night they can usually go longer unless they are highly stressed or you feed and water them too late
in the evening. Do not leave water in the crate overnight.
• Use your crate diligently, but be fair with its’ use. Always use it if you cannot pay close
attention to your puppy when you are home. This way you will not inadvertently allow mistakes
to happen without catching him in the act. You cannot reprimand a puppy after the fact. He will
have no understanding of why he is being scolded unless you catch him in the act.
• Using the crate will help not only with housebreaking, but with other puppy behavior such
as chewing on forbidden items. If you are watching the pup, you are in a position to train him not
to chew on certain items. If you are not watching him, bad behavior can begin and progress to
habits rapidly. He should be in his crate if he cannot be supervised.
• Using these strategies consistently will have your pup off to a great start with housetraining
and general behavior within a couple months providing you follow the rules and provide plenty of
training, exercise, love and attention while the pup is out of his crate. Used properly, a crate is not
cruel; a crate is a safe and secure den for your puppy. It will be one of the wisest investments you