House training 101

December 20, 2015

Potty accidents can happen even with adult, previously house-trained dogs. Don’t despair, we can handle it. Teach your dog to distinguish between indoors and outdoors by taking him outside to go in a designated area and then rewarding him with treats and praise. With a little patience and supervision, your dog will soon be fully versed in toilet etiquette.

Prevent Accidents:
Supervise your dog in the house and use a crate when you are not sure if your dog is empty. Reward your dog for going outside with praise at the right moment and reward with a treat the second he is finished.


  • Until your dog is perfectly house-trained, don’t leave him alone except in his area or crate.
  • Pay attention – if you see your dog sniffing and circling in the house, take him out immediately.
  • Praise and reward your dog with a treat when he relieves himself outdoors.
  • Never yell or punish your dog for a potty accident, otherwise he may become afraid to relieve himself in front of you. He will find somewhere else to go.

Crate training:

Crate training is another good habit to start right away. A crate is a wonderful thing and very useful for house-training.  It teaches your dog to hold it when he has to go to the bathroom. A crate helps your dogs in many ways (and saves your carpets!).

Getting started:

  • Throw small tasty treats into the crate one at a time.
  • Praise your dog when he goes in to get the treat.
  • When he is comfortable going into the crate, practice closing the door for 1-2 seconds, then treat him through the door.
  • Let him back out.

Repeat this step several times, gradually building his time in there up to 10 seconds.

  • Next stuff a Kong with something very tasty or use a special chew that will take a lot of time to get through.
  • Put the treats in the crate and shut the door when he goes in.
  • Move about the house normally.
  • Let him back out after 5 minutes or while he is still working on his treat.
  • Don’t make a fuss over him.

Repeat this step several times as you practice your short absences, varying the length from 1 to 20 minutes.

Bedtime routine:

At night, put a chew toy in your dog’s crate or sleeping area and leave him (I know, some of you might struggle with this but stick it out, it will be worth it in the long run).

He may have trouble settling in at first, but should eventually relax and go to sleep. It is important not to let your dog out of his sleeping area if he cries or barks.

Here’s the bottom line: if you give him attention for making noise, he will keep it up longer next time. Be bold and wait it out. It’s normal for your dog to cry a little for the first few nights, but he will settle down quicker each night.

Related articles:

Preparing for your new Puppy

Your first day with your dog

4 keys to long term happiness with your dog

Preventing Aggression

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