About Teaching Your Dog Where to Potty

The First Concept of Housebreaking Your Puppy

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Guide your puppy to where you want her to potty.

 A key to housebreaking your puppy is to teach her where to go potty. Shocking news, right? It may sound simple, and it can indeed be as simple as it sounds!

Before you begin, consider these things:

  • The age of your puppy and her vaccination status
  • The weather
  • Access routes to outdoors
  • Your physical ability to get your puppy outdoors quickly

It is possible to teach your puppy to go potty indoors and outdoors at the same time.

The key is to teach your puppy a word or phrase to go potty on command as discussed in the fifth concept of housetraining. This phrase makes it easy to switch your puppy from indoor training to outdoor training to suit your needs.

For outdoor training you will need the following equipment:

  • 15 foot long line (cotton web is best)
  • A designated potty area
  • A big umbrella kept by the door to outside
  • Small easy to swallow treats in your pocket

For indoor training you will need the following equipment:

  • A 3-4 foot non-retractable indoor leash (nylon with the handle cut off works best)
  • A designated potty area
  • Wee-wee pads
  • 2 dog litter boxes OR 2 frames to hold the wee-wee pads
  • Small easy to swallow treats in your pocket

For ease of writing, I am assuming that you are teaching your puppy to go outdoors.  Simply replace the phrase ‘outside’ with ‘inside’ for indoor training.

Be Ready to Guide Your Dog to Her Potty Area

Remember to keep your puppy in the room where are you, in your line of visual sight, with her wearing a short non-retractable leash

Watch your puppy for signs of intention behavior. Typical intention behavior includes: stopping an activity such as chewing her bone, sniffing and circling. Watch your puppy to determine what she does just before she starts to go potty.

As you see this intention behavior calmly approach your puppy. Place your foot on her leash. Pick up the leash and lead her to the door leading to outdoors. Say ‘Outside’ as you walk her through the door. Remember your umbrella if it is raining! Puppies that don’t ‘do rain’ typically live with owners that do not ‘do rain’.

Replace her indoor leash with her long line. Walk quickly to her designated outdoor potty area. Silently walk her around in this area. Watch her for the same intention behavior that you watch for indoors. Limit your time outdoors to 10—15 minutes. If she does not go potty simply take her back inside and practice concept two - teaching your puppy where not to go potty. If she does start to go potty remember to be silent as she goes. I know this sounds counter intuitive to your goal! Praising your puppy as she is going interrupts her train of thought and may cause her to not finish going. This leads to the puppy finishing indoors as soon she comes back in. Follow the 5-second rule. Count silently to five when she finishes going. Then praise softly as you put a treat in her mouth. You will be surprised how many times a puppy will walk 3 steps and go potty again when you do not interrupt her with praise as she is going.

Keep in mind that your puppy will often urinate quickly but take a few more minutes to defecate. Since motion stimulates elimination keep your puppy moving while outdoors.

I am often asked what is the importance of the long line to outdoor training.  Consider the following benefits the long line gives you:

  • Allows you to keep her in the area you want her to go potty in
  • Allows her to move far enough away from you for a sense of privacy
  • Allows you to keep her moving
  • Allows you to bring her back inside if she does not go in 10-15 minutes
  • Allows you to redirect her if she tries to eat her feces

It is very important to keep your puppy’s potty area clean.  The scent will linger in the potty area even after you clean it. This is useful for attracting your puppy back to this area. Some puppies do not like to go a second time in an area with old feces.

Cleaning the area has the added benefit of preventing you and your children from stepping in piles!