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How to house train your puppy

Owning a puppy is a full-time job. As a new puppy parent, you’re responsible for all their needs including feeding, exercise, and training. 

Once you’ve figured out what to feed your puppy and how much exercise they need, you’re going to need to get started on training. House training is one of the biggest obstacles you will face and requires plenty of effort and attention on your part. Because house training can be a minefield, we’ve put together a nifty guide.

Establish a routine

Your puppy can only hold their bladder for a short time, so it’s up to you to make sure that they get outside often enough to relieve themselves. Aim to let them out at least every hour to begin with, including right after they get up, after playtime and after mealtimes.

Start with paper training

As soon as your puppy gets home, start training them with newspaper or puppy pads. Consider keeping a puppy pad in each room they spend time in. The moment you notice them squatting, get them to the puppy pad (especially if you can’t get them outside.) Make sure you reward them for going on the puppy pad rather than straight onto the floor. Once your puppy is in the habit of using the pad, move it outdoors – they should head straight for it!

Recognise the signs

Australian Shepherd puppy amongst bluebells

Even if you are taking your pup out regularly, there will be times when they just can’t wait. Watch out for the following signs and if you spot any, take them outside quickly!

  • Squatting
  • Circling
  • Excessive sniffing
  • Whining or barking
  • Standing by the door or going to an area they normally use.

Reward them for doing their business outside

Every time your puppy does their business outside, make sure you reward them. This can be with plenty of fuss, treats or playtime – whatever motivates them most. Never punish them for doing their business indoors – just clean it up and try to figure out why they went inside this time.

Create a dedicated toilet space

Your dog associates going out in the garden with all sorts of excitement – great smells, playtime, exploring – and this can distract them from the important business of doing their business! To make it clear when they need to go to the loo, you can set up a small area of your garden that is their own toilet space. Even better, it means you can contain their eliminations into one space making it much easier to clean up.

To make sure your puppy uses their space, you’ll need to direct them there and reward them for doing their business. You may need to wait a while – but with consistency they’ll figure it out and soon will take themselves there quite happily.

Toilet training can be a long process, and some breeds may have particular trouble with it. However, with consistency and positive reinforcement, most dogs can be properly house trained. If your dog or puppy was previously housetrained but has started having accidents indoors, it might be worth a trip to the vet, in case it’s down to a medical issue.

House training is much easier when your puppy has a consistent exercise routine. With a PitPat dog activity monitor, you can track all your puppy’s activity, so you can rest assured they are getting the right amount of exercise. They’ll be hitting their exercise goals in no time!

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