House Training Your Puppy in just 4 easy steps!

house trainingWhen it comes to house training your puppy, the most important thing you need to remember is to be patient and consistent. House training can be very simple if you follow these steps. If you skip any steps, know that you are going to slow down the process and you may see a delay in training. Also remember that puppies are puppies, and they will make mistakes as will you. If your training is going well and your puppy makes a mistake, take note of whether you skipped a step that day. 95% of the time mistakes are human error, and preventable.

Here are the steps for house training your puppy:

1. Be reasonable in your expectations – Puppies are growing, and so are their bladders. Be reasonable in your puppy’s ability to hold their bladder. Up until the age of 6 months, puppies should not be left to hold their bladder for more than a few hours. You will be able to increase the time as they get older and their bladder develops. If you are gone all day, you can expect there to be accidents when you get home.
2. Limit access – Puppies usually have accidents by running to another room and eliminating, and you will find it later. Since reprimanding a puppy after the fact is useless and unfair you will need to stop the puppy from doing this. For the next 2 weeks, you will have the puppy tethered to you by leash and collar. Get a belt or carabiner to attach the leash to your waist or hold onto the leash handle. In order to be fair in correcting the puppy, you need to catch her in the act. If she is attached to you, then you can quickly clap your hands, say a firm “NO!” and then get the puppy outside. Praise, praise, praise when your puppy eliminates outside! Also limit their access to food and water if you know they are going to be left alone. Do not leave food or water in their crate and try to limit their access to it for about an hour before you leave. Being left alone with a full belly and bladder is asking for accidents when you get home.

3. Anticipate your puppy needing to eliminate before they even think  they need to go. If you know your puppy just ate and drank, and normally it takes about 30 minutes before they have an accident, then you need to take your puppy outside 20 minutes after they eat or drink. Take them out before they even think about going in the house and they won’t even have the opportunity to go inside. Over time you will be able to extend the time as they learn to hold it but still stay on top of it. If 3 hours go by and they haven’t asked to go out and haven’t had an accident, then take them outside anyways. And when they go out and the eliminate, throw them a party!
4. Crate Train – If you are not crating your puppy already, go out and get a size appropriate crate. There are crates that adjust to make them bigger as the puppy grows. You want there only to be enough room for the puppy to get up and turn around in the crate. If you get it any bigger they will eliminate in one side of the crate and go lay in the other side. Moving forward, if you are not home or cannot have your eyes on the puppy, crate them. If you need help crate training you can check out our “How to Crate Train” article or please give us a call at 905-869-1170 or email us at to set up a training appointment.

If you need further help for house training your puppy please give us a call for a FREE evaluation at 905-869-1170 or

Happy Training!
Katherine Vooys-McDonald
Canines In Balance
Hamilton, Ontario