How to House Train your dog

by Nancy Boland

House training your dog is an essential element to dog training. Young or old, your dog must learn this, so be patient and encouraging during the learning process.

How to House Train your dog 

1. Decide upon a designated area for your dog to go. Make sure he knows that is where is supposed to go by repeatedly taking him our after meal times to begin with. 10-30 minutes after he eats or sleeps, take him our to the designated area and wait until he goes. When he does, praise him generously so he knows he’s done the right thing. Remember to be patient. 

2. Repeat step one every 2-3 hours depending on the breed of dog you have. Repeating this action will reinforce where the deeds need to be done (outside).

3. Pay close attention to your dog for signs like pacing, sniffing the ground, moving in a circle and crouching down are all common signs of needing to go, so stay aware of these habits to eliminate accidents in the home. As soon as they do this, again, take them outside to the designated spot, wait, and praise them again. Repetition here is the key to success. 

4. Take your dog to this same area each time, every day. They will pick up on their own scent and learn quickly if you keep repeating the action. Remember to be patient, and try not to get frustrated if any accidents occur. This will happen in the learning process!

house train 2

Dealing with accidents 

If you catch your dog about to go in the house, with a firm but calm  voice say, ‘No’. If they stop what they are doing, take them out to where they should be going and praise them well. If your dog ignores you, or you discover an accident on another occasion, stay calm and remember that punishing a dog for bad behaviour after the incident has occured is counter-productive because they don’t understand what they are being punished for. Remember that they are still learning, and aren’t deliberating trying to do it to cause upset.

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Common errors

Unfortunately there are many reasons why ‘toilet training’ might not go as smoothly as it could, so make sure you do not make any of the following mistakes:


Feeding an unsuitable diet or giving a variety of foods

Not feeding at regular times or at the wrong times

Punishing for indoor accidents

Feeding excessive amount of salty foods resulting in increase in water consumption

Expecting your dog/puppy to let you know when they need to go out, instead of at regular intervals

Laziness on the owners part

Leaving them to go by themselves outside without reward or praise

Expecting them not to have any accidents during the learning process

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