Updated: Jan 23, 2019
First off, you must ensure that your home is free from urine stains and residual odors. Purchase a black light (search on Amazon) and an Oxy or enzyme-based pet odor remover. I personally prefer Odoban in my carpet cleaner and in my mop bucket. Also highly recommended is a Bissel SpotClean. Especially if your dog is having lots of accidents. It’s well worth the cost and will save your carpet! In the evening, turn off all the lights and thoroughly inspect your home, carpets, furniture and tiled areas. The black
light will reveal any old stains, so you can effectively clean and remove them. If you don’t already have one, purchase a good quality solid sided crate that is only large enough for your dog to stand up, lie down and turn around in. Position the crate in a quiet part of your home. You will also need several of
Kong's original chew toys, the ones you can stuff with peanut butter, a squeaky toy, a flat nylon collar and a flat 6-foot nylon leash. I’d recommend a thin chain leash if your puppy is chewing through leashes.
Your dog should be leashed at all times during this process other than when they are in the crate.
You will need a 24-hour management schedule of potty breaks that will be critically adhered to in order
to avoid your dog having accidents. This schedule should include meals, play time, training time,
numerous bathroom breaks and sleep time for the entire 14 day that you will be on the program.
Bathroom breaks should be scheduled every four hours for adult dogs excepting overnight when you can
allow 6 hours. Young puppies (8 to 10 weeks of age) will need to be taken outside every 30 to 60 minutes. The plan should also include two (three for puppies younger than 5 months) feeding sessions, one in the morning (one at midday for puppies) and one no later than 7pm. After the evening meal, all food and water are picked up. If you can’t be home during the midday break, hire a dog walker or pet sitter to stop by and help you with that portion of your house-training schedule. It’s only for 2 weeks after all.
DO NOT use puppy pee pads.
This will only teach your dog that it’s okay to use the bathroom in the house and will ultimately set you up for failure and even more work. Spend the time on this technique now and you’ll have a dog that goes outside in no time.
Your dog’s daily schedule will include meals, sleep, play, training and bathroom breaks. During each of these periods the dog is either in its crate or tethered to you, no exceptions, no exercise pens or bathroom confinement. To ensure success your dog must be supervised 100% of the time during the house-training period and you MUST play by the rules.
Your schedule will look something like this...
Puppy’s Daily Schedule:
Put this page up on your refrigerator so the family is all on the same page about puppy’s daily schedule.
• Morning wake up, directly out for the morning bathroom session.
• Morning walk, the longer the better, 20 minutes is a minimum.
• Morning feeding –Food and water is down for 15 minutes and removed.
• Morning play –5 minutes of vigorous indoor play on the tether
• Into the crate or onto the tether
• Noon bathroom session
• 15 minutes of indoor play –on the tether
• Into the crate or onto the tether, offer water before mid-afternoon bathroom session.
• Mid Afternoon bathroom session
• 15 minutes of indoor play
• Into the crate or onto the tether
• Early PM bathroom session
• Evening walk, 30 minutes minimum (no maximum, longer is better), give water and leave down.
• Evening feeding-Food is down for 15 minutes and removed, water removed at 8PM
• Evening play and relaxation –all on the tether
• Before bed bathroom session
• Bedtime, dog goes in the crate with NO toys, blankets or distractions.
All eliminations will happen in the same area of your choosing. You decide where you want the bathroom area to be and you will take your dog to that spot and stand there like a post. By ignoring your dog, because it isn’t getting any attention from you and there are limited things of interest to explore within the restricted area defined by the leash, your dog will eventually go to the bathroom. While you are waiting, keep repeating the bathroom command of your choice (potty, hurry up, etc..) saying nothing else until the dog goes. In this way you will train the dog to associate the act with this exact command. This will be enormously valuable in the future when in a new, unfamiliar environment or while traveling. Having a dog that will eliminate on
command is the gold standard of housebreaking.
Once the dog eliminates, make a huge excited celebration over it, praising and even treating (occasionally) him and then excitedly run back inside. Use this same routine EVERY TIME you go out for a bathroom break.
During waking hours of confinement, giving your dog a Kong stuffed with treats or frozen peanut butter for mental enrichment while it’s in its crate will help relieve boredom. When out of the crate with the dog tethered to you, keep careful watch for signs of needing to go to the bathroom. If you notice your dog sniffing the ground, walking in circles or looking uncomfortably around then quickly take the dog outside to its designated bathroom area.
Every time the dog comes out of its crate, it should be immediately tethered and taken to it’s bathroom spot. EVERY TIME, no exceptions. Only after your dog has been to the bathroom should it be allowed to play with
you or taken for its walks. This ensures that your dog will soon learn that the more quickly it completes its bathroom behavior, the more quickly it will get its reward, whatever they may be, treats, play, a walk or all three. ALWAYS exercise, play with or train your dog for at least ten minutes before you put it back inside its crate. Show your dog you are a trusting and benevolent leader. Never punish your dog for bathroom mistakes. Your dog’s accidents are actually your accidents. If you notice your dog displaying signs of needing to go to the bathroom while inside and are slow getting your dog outside, accidents are likely. You can attempt to interrupt such accidents by simply getting their attention with a loud clap of your hands and immediately taking the dog outside to its bathroom area. (clean up later)
While tethered, if you should notice your dog sniffing the ground or circling around, quickly but calmly take him to the designated bathroom area. After about 10 minutes, if your dog doesn’t eliminate, re
turn him to his crate or his tether, and take him outside again in about 15 minutes. Repeat this process every 15 minutes until he goes.
Be vigilant. Smaller dogs can get into places to eliminate where you may not immediately take notice or be able to find until a bad habit has already taken root. Be as assiduous with house training a toy breed dog as you would a giant dog. There’s nothing is cute about dogs crapping all over the house so don't assume that these small mishaps will just "go away".
The most important thing about your schedule is consistency. If you are consistent and do the same thing every single time, your dog will catch on very quickly. On the other hand, if you slack around and change your actions from day to day, your dog will become confused and so will do whatever seems right to it at the time, regardless of what you "want". Creating a predictable routine ensures that your dog will have the opportunity to success.
Tara Siefring-Dog Trainer
Tara is a dog trainer helping struggling dog owners have extraordinary dogs in the Navarre, Milton and Pensacola areas. She got her start as a struggling dog owner herself which was her fuel to learn the skills to help others. Today, she's helped nearly two thousand dog owners all over Northwest Florida learn how to be better leaders to their pets so that their dogs can be better companions for the family. Hire Tara or learn more at www.happyhoundfl.com