How do I know when my puppy needs to go outside to eliminate?

Since dogs will try not to soil their sleeping area, the utilization of a crate will help in the housebreaking process. Crates are not cruel, and should be used whenever the puppy is not under direct supervision. When used properly, most dogs will find security and comfort in the fact that the crate is “their place.” Never use a crate for punishment. If the puppy needs a “time-out,” find an alternative place.

When housebreaking your puppy, accidents are bound to happen. After removing any solid waste and washing the area, it is important to neutralize and remove any trace odor of urine and feces so that the puppy is not attracted back to this area. A solution of 50% water and 50% white vinegar is inexpensive and effective.

Proper diet is important. There is a direct correlation between what “goes in” and what “comes out.” Avoid sudden dietary changes and additions, because this can change the consistency of the stool and increase the dog’s need to defecate.

If the puppy should relieve himself in his crate, do not scold him. Stay calm and immediately take him outside to his elimination area. If the dog starts to relieve himself in the house, firmly say “No!” Then take the puppy directly outside to his elimination area. The correction is only effective if given while the dog is in the process of having the “accident.”

When taking the dog outside for his elimination walk, always use the same door. This will help him identify going out for the specific purpose of voiding. Choose an area that will be used specifically for elimination. Go directly to this area with the puppy and stand in one place. By allowing your puppy to investigate a larger area, he will become distracted by the different sights and scents and not fully concentrate on voiding. Initially leave a small amount of stool down for the puppy to identify “its spot.” Keep the remaining area clean.

Once you have brought the puppy out to the designated elimination area, start repeating in a quiet, monotone voice a phrase such as “Go potty.” Use the same phrase every time, because you want the puppy to associate your particular phrase with the actual process of elimination. Continue repeating this phrase until the puppy starts to void and then be silent until the dog is completely finished. Once the puppy has eliminated, vocally praise, praise, and then praise some more. Allow the Puppy ten minutes to relieve itself. Give the puppy two extra minutes after it has finished to make sure that he/she is completely done. Now it is time for exercise and play.