Housetraining Your New Dog


Puppies have to go potty. It’s teaching them where we want them to go that’s important. Potty training requires patience and consistency. Please remember that it is normal for your puppy to have accidents in the house while they are learning. The more consistent you are in following the basic housetraining procedures, the faster your puppy will learn where to go.

Establish a Routine

  • Like babies, puppies do best on a regular schedule. Take your puppy outside frequently, at least every hour, after waking up and before and after a play session. 
  • Your puppy didn't go when outside, don't allow free access to home and keep taking him out ever 10 minutes until he does and make sure to give praise. 
  • Praise your puppy and give treat every time he eliminates outdoors. You must do it immediately after he’s finished eliminating, not after he comes back inside. 
  • Choose a spot not too far from the door. Always take on a leash to that spot. Take him for a walk or play with him only after he has eliminated.
  • While your puppy is eliminating, use a word or phrase, like “go potty,” that you can eventually use before he eliminates to remind him 
  • Regular feeding schedule, depending on age, puppies need to be fed three/four times a day. Regular schedule means likely eliminate at consistent times as well.


  • Don’t give your puppy an opportunity to soil in the house. Use a leash and/or baby gates to keep them with you.
  • Watch for signs that he needs to eliminate, like sniffing around or circling. When you see these signs, immediately take him outside, on a leash, to the  spot.


  • When you have to leave confine them to an area small enough that he won't want to eliminate there. It should be just big enough for him to comfortably stand, lie down, and turn around. Common areas are bathrooms and laundry rooms.
  • This is a great time to start crate training. When you let him out go straight to the spot and praise when he eliminates. 


  • Expect your puppy to have an accident in the house – it’s a normal part of housetraining.
  • When you catch him say “oops” (don’t scare him). Immediately take him to his bathroom spot, praise him and give him a treat if he finishes eliminating there.​
  • Never punish your puppy for eliminating in the house. Do nothing but clean it up.
  • Rubbing your puppy’s nose in it, taking him to the spot and scolding him, or any punishment or discipline, will only make him afraid of you or afraid to eliminate.
  • Cleaning the soiled area is very important because puppies are highly motivated to continue soiling in areas that smells. Use an enzymatic cleaner.
  • It’s extremely important that you use the supervision and confinement procedures outlined above to minimize the number of accidents. If you allow your puppy to eliminate frequently in the house, he’ll get confused about where he’s supposed to eliminate which will prolong the housetraining process.



Adult dogs bond just as readily as puppies do, and one of the benefits is that housetraining is often a much easier process for them.

An adult dog’s ability to “hold it” for several hours is what can make the process easier than it is for a puppy. Give her plenty of opportunities to learn by frequently taking her outside to the place you want her to use. Reward generously with treats and praise.

Adult Dog Potty-Training Routine

  • Establish a firm routine, including feeding meals at regular times. Pick up the dish 10 to 15 minutes after putting it down, empty or not.
  • Use a leash and go outside with her; don’t simply let her out into the yard by herself and hope for the best.
  • Stay out long enough for them to sniff around, exercise, and check things out before relieving themselves.
  • Take her out first thing in the morning, after breakfast, after dinner, a few times throughout the day and before bedtime.
  • If she doesn’t go, bring her back inside and immediately crate, leash or confine. Take outside every 10 minutes until they eliminate. No free roaming indoors if they didn't eliminate outside!

Crate is a wonderful tool

  • Any time you cannot supervise, they should be in a crate or pen, or in a smaller room behind a baby gate.
  • Gradually allow a little freedom 10 or 15 minutes after they eliminate outside.
  • Don’t punish for any accidents, EVER!
    • If you frighten or punish, they may become afraid to potty in front of you and will sneak off to do it
    • If you catch your dog, get their attention, but do not yell or make a loud noise
    • Take them right outside so they can finish and then clean up with enzyme cleaner

How to Know When Your Dog Has to Go

  • Look for pacing, whining, circling, sniffing purposefully, or leaving the room. This mean: take me out right now!
  • Not every dog will give you a signal such as barking or scratching at the door.

Some reasons why an older dog might not be house trained:

  • No one ever bothered to train him.
  • They may never have lived indoors.
  • They may have spent a long time in a place where they could only go on concrete, paper in a pen, bedding in a crate, etc.
  • Senior dogs may prefer an indoor bathroom option

Be extra patient. Your canine companion wants to do the right thing and he just needs a little help from you to figure it out.

P.O. Box 5042 •  Concord, NC 28027  •  (704) 786-7729 •  cabarruspets [ at ]