Accidents happen, of course, but you can prevent your house from becoming a virtual washroom for your new pup by following these tips:
- To prevent bad habits from developing, your puppy should be crated or in a puppy pen whenever you can’t supervise – remember, it only takes a second for an accident to happen.
- Whenever your pup is outside of their crate, you must keep them close to you and keep your eye on them every second. Keeping them on leash is sometimes an easy way to accomplish this.
- Feed your puppy on a regular schedule – what goes in on time, comes out on time! Monitor all water intake and remove the water dish two hours before bedtime.
- Don’t wait for your puppy to tell you they need to go – take your puppy out (or to the paper, if paper training) every two hours until you have a better idea of what his elimination pattern is. Keep track of when your puppy goes…and what they do. Once you have better idea of their schedule, you can adjust the times you need to take your puppy out accordingly.
- Reward your dog immediately (within two seconds) after eliminating. That means that you’ll need to go out with your puppy, rather than just opening up the back door.
- Clean up accidents with an enzymatic cleanser. Any lingering scent will signal to your puppy that they have found the washroom. While household cleaners may clean the stain, they aren’t as good at getting rid of the odor.
- During the early stages of the housetraining process, your puppy should have limited access to your home. Start by allowing your puppy into only one or two rooms and expand his freedom slowly and gradually from there. Note: It’s best to introduce your puppy to new rooms after he has just relieved himself, to minimize any chance of an accident.
- Even if you’re doing every thing right, accidents can still happen. If you didn’t actually see your puppy making a mess, just clean it up as though nothing happened (and reflect on whether this was preventable). There is no way to punish your dog for something that happened more than a few seconds ago. If you happen to catch your puppy in the act, quickly scoop him up and try to get him to the “right” place to go. Punishing your dog after the fact will only teach him that you + poop = bad things, not that he shouldn’t have gone there in the first place. This may only encourage him to hide it better.