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Article by Dimitri Michel

Housetraining a puppy

Updated on 30 October 2023.

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puppy with toilet paper in his mouth
You’ve just acquired an adorable puppy and you can’t believe how much you love him already. You can’t keep your hands off him, and you’re so touched by the look on his face.

It’s all very sweet, but there’s one thing you need to think about urgently. You need to potty train your puppy. It’s not always easy, because your pet has suddenly left his old environment and his mother, and he’s feeling disoriented. This training must be firm, but tender and indulgent. Your puppy needs to experience it as a demonstration of love.

What exactly is puppy potty training?

The notion of cleanliness is not the same for you and your puppy. By cleanliness, your dog means not doing his business where he eats or sleeps. This is what his mother taught him. After two months, the puppy has already learned not to relieve himself in his sleeping area.

Cleanliness for you is: relieving yourself outside the house. But this is the last stage. Your puppy must first learn to relieve himself on newspapers in a specific corner. Then, little by little, as he grows, he’ll learn to go outside to do his business.

When should you potty train your dog?

Before the age of 2 and a half months, puppies can’t hold themselves in and will relieve themselves indoors, just about anywhere. To deal with this situation, you’ll need to take the necessary measures at home.

From eight weeks onwards, you need to take him outside constantly to introduce him to the gutter, the earth and the lawn.

Puppy housebreaking rules

To begin with, try to feed your puppy according to a more or less precise rhythm. Never feed your puppy while you’re at the table. Later, feed him from his own bowl, in a place you’ve defined as a feeding area. 25 minutes later, remove the bowl (even if it’s not empty) and do the same for other meals. Leave water available all day long. Puppies generally relieve themselves after eating. Keep an eye on him once he’s finished eating, and take him out in good time.

Another very important point in potty training your puppy: defining the different living areas.

You need to plan a sleeping area, a feeding area and a play area. Dogs like each activity to occupy its own space. That’s why you’ll provide a relief area inside the house at first. Teach your puppy to relieve himself on newspapers always placed in the same place at first. Move the newspapers gradually to the front door, to teach him to go outside.

During the day, a puppy can’t hold it in for more than an hour or two. At night, the interval lengthens to 3 or 4 hours. It’s not until they’re 6 months old that dogs start to hold back for longer periods. If you have the opportunity to take your puppy out after feeding, playing or waking up from a nap, it will be a great help in potty training.

If you’re going to be out of the house for hours at a time, use the newspaper trick. Mark off a remote area and spread newspapers over it. When you’re at home, teach your puppy to relieve himself there and he’ll get used to it.

Finally, you must understand that small accidents are bound to happen. If you ever catch your dog doing his business where he shouldn’t, don’t hit him or rub his nose in it. He won’t feel guilty, and he won’t learn that way. Instead, try to guess the signs that he wants to relieve himself and take him to the designated area. Don’t clean up in front of your dog. He’ll take it as a game if you turn up with your bucket and mop every time he makes a mistake.

Housetraining a puppy is no easy task, but you’ll get the hang of it.

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