Housebreaking A Puppy

Housebreaking puppies can be difficult.

So can housebreaking an older dog. And don’t even get me started on housebreaking a puppy when you live in an apartment!

However, there are five tips for housebreaking a puppy fast that you need to know, to get maximum results in minimal time, whether you live in a house, an apartment or in a barn:

Dog housebreaking tip #1

You should be using a crate.  The fastest way to housebreaking puppies is to start by confining the puppy to a small area.  The crate serves this purpose because it brings out your puppy’s “den instinct” and provides for a sense of security and well-being.  It also acts similar to the way a crib or playpen would for a human baby– it keeps the pup out of trouble when you are not around to supervise.

Housebreaking puppy tip #2

When housebreaking an adult dog, make sure that your dog receives a negative association when he has accidents in the house.  In other words, your dog should be in the crate when you can’t supervise him (see Dog Housebreaking Tip #1) and when you are supervising him, then he should get a correction when decides to eliminate in the house, rather than in the yard.  Please note: Correcting your dog and punishing your dog for housebreakingare not the same thing.  We never advocate punishing your dog.  They’re just dogs.  They aim to please.  It’s our goal to correct unwanted behavior and teach your dog housebreaking … not punish your dog.

Puppy Housebreaking tip #3

Anywhere you look on the internet (or in dog books) you’ll find the most common of advice:  When puppy housebreaking or housebreaking dogs is concerned, you must praise your puppy when he eliminates outside.  This means finding a consistent spot, and repeating a key housebreaking phrase such as, “Get busy, Get busy” … which the puppy will cue on.  Once the puppy begins eliminating, continue with your key phrase.  When he finishes, then praise (touch the puppy positively and say, “Good dog!” in a high-pitched voice).

To discuss puppy housebreaking tip #3 in more detail, please join our discussion forum at

Free Housebreaking Dog Tip #4

Seldom mentioned but just as important as the others when housebreaking older dogs and especially housebreaking puppies is to set up a rigorous feeding and watering schedule.  This means no free feeding! You need to know exactly when your dog or puppy is eating and drinking and then take him outside to his special spot (see puppy housebreaking tip #3).  Do this immediately after eating or drinking.  And then do it again in 10 minute intervals, until your puppy eliminates outside.  And then praise, of course.

For more detailed information on setting up a feeding and watering schedule for your puppy, please join our ongoing discussion at

Housebreaking Puppy Tip #5

No matter how dilligent you are, there will be times when housebreaking your puppy means that puppy has an accident.  After utilizing housebreaking puppy tip #2 and puppy housebreaking tip #3, clean any accidents with an enzymatic odor eliminator that’s specifically designed for pet odors.  Typical carpet cleaners won’t cut it.  I like a product called “Nature’s Miracle” but there are several that will work.  You usually need to purchase these at your local pet store.