Finley’s Tips on Housebreaking Your Puppy

Finley here!

Let’s have an honest talk about potty training.  It’s not fun for anyone – us dogs included!  If you don’t help us out, it can be miserable, because we honestly just don’t get why you seem mad at us at first!  If you’re consistent about reinforcing what’s right and what’s wrong, we’ll put two and two together a LOT faster.  To help you and your pup through this tough time, here’s how I was housebroken.

1. Crate the little guy if you’re not around. Never, ever let him roam free unsupervised!  By doing so, you’ll set him up for failure… and set yourself up to do a lot of clean up.

2. Always visit the same spot outside, and make sure he’s on leash.  If he isn’t, he’s going to confuse potty time with play time.  Soon enough, he’ll start to see a pattern here and realize what he has to do in order to move on and have fun with you.

3. Attach a special word to going potty.  I like to think of it as me and the human’s code word… like we’re secret agents or something.  Basically, if you say it excitedly every time they “go” they’ll associate the word with the action and will understand that’s what you want them to do.  My code word with my people is “Potty.”  Real creative, I know.

4. If you walk in on your puppy doing his business, you’ve gotta act quick! Verbally let him know he’s doing something bad and get him outside as fast as humanly possible. Then change your tone to being excited and positive the second you set him down outside.  Even if he doesn’t carry on right away, give him a little time and continue to encourage him.  Praise him even more when he does finish answering nature’s call.

5. If you find a puddle or a pile and you were too late, that’s about all there is to it.  Chalk it up to experience, and don’t let him roam around without your watchful eye on him again. Accidents are still bound to happen here and there even if you are consistent in your housebreaking methods.

I cannot stress this enough – don’t rub your pup’s nose in his own mess!  We can’t figure out what you’re punishing us for after the fact, and it’s just plain gross.  Not to mention it will make him think that going potty is a very bad thing and that he should hide it.  What’s worse than having your puppy leave a mess for you inside?  Having them leave a mess and discovering it unexpectedly (usually with your foot! EW!)!

Until Next Time


Executive Canine Quality Control Officer


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