Housetraining 101

What is Housetraining? 

It’s teaching your dog to go to the bathroom outside, and NOT in the house! Some people also train their dog or puppy to go on potty pads which is ok too but, in this article, we will be focusing on teaching them to go outside. 

How do I housetrain my dog? 

1. Make a potty schedule –young puppies will need to go to the bathroom around 8 times a day! Older dogs may only need to go 4-5 times a day. Make a schedule so you can let your dog outside often each day. Remember, dogs are more like to go potty after waking up from a nap and after eating or drinking. An example of a schedule is: 

2. Supervise your dog when they are free in the house. Close all doors to rooms you’re not currently in to stop them from going into other rooms and having accidents. 

3. Keep a leash dragging on them if they like to wander off and have accidents when your back is turned. 

4. If you cannot supervise your dog, keep them in a small area such as a single room, a dog crate, or a pen. 

5. Dogs do not like to go to the bathroom where they sleep, so keep that in mind!

6. Always reward your dog for going to the bathroom outside! Label the behavior by saying “Good Potty!” when they go and before you give them the treat. 

7. Learn what signals your dog gives before they go such as: sniffing the ground and circling, laying by the back door, pacing and acting restless, etc. If you suspect they have to go then let them out –better safe than sorry! 

8. Never punish your dog for having an accident in the house. This only teaches the dog to not go in front of you and encourages getting sneaky when going in the house. 

9. If you see them about to go, try to interrupt it in a way that doesn’t scare your dog and get them outside a.s.a.p. Make sure to reinforce them when they do go outside! 


  • My puppy will only go on the potty pads and not outside: Start placing the potty pads closer to the door you take your puppy out to the potty to get them in the habit of being near the exit they’ll use to go potty. Begin labeling the behavior by saying “Good Potty” whenever they go on the potty pad so that you can then transition the cue to outside. Keep a diary of when your puppy goes so that you can begin taking them outside a little before they typically go. 

  • My dog is peeing when guests come over or people go to pet them: This is known as submissive urination and isn’t the same as house soiling. This typically occurs more in puppies than adult dogs but it’s not unheard of. With puppies, they typically outgrow the behavior as long as the pet parent doesn’t punish the puppy for doing so. Try not to make a big deal of it, just clean it up. You can try teaching your dog to sit when people and guests approach for a tasty treat. This helps create a positive association of interactions with guests and keeps your dog’s focus on the treat rather than on the interaction with the person. 

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