Veazie Veterinary Clinic
1522 State Street, Veazie, ME
(207) 941-8840

House Training Your Puppy

Housebreaking can be frustrating for every owner. The trick is to start early.

The more accidents in the house the longer it is going to take to train your new pup. Here are some tips that the staff has put together.


Provide your puppy with an airline crate or similar enclosure:

  • This replicates the natural “den” all wild canines are born in.
  • Think of your puppy’s crate as its den.
  • They feel safe in the den when sleeping or when the pack is away hunting.
  • Their instincts tell them not to eliminate in the den.
  • Your puppy should sleep in its den adjacent to your bed.
  • Your puppy should sleep in its den when you are away during the day.
  • Never use the crate as punishment.

Be consistent with trips outside.

  • Always go out the same door.
  • Each time you take your puppy out, lead it to the same place that you want it to eliminate.
  • Stand with the puppy and give it a command (“Hurry up” or “Go pee”).
  • Praise the puppy when it eliminates and then take it immediately back inside.

Make a chart of meals and eliminations.

  • It is usually safe to allow the puppy to explore for 1-2 hours after elimination.

When you are at home and the puppy is outside of its den, it must be confined in some way.  Some ideas include:

  • On a leash tied to the owner.
  • In an area or small room blocked with a gate or door.
  • In a playpen.
  • If you cannot watch it closely, the puppy should be put back in its den.
  • Remember that dogs are social animals and that effort should be made to minimize confinement from the family.

A Typical Day:

  • 6 am: The puppy is awake and in the crate. Let it outside immediately.
  • Give breakfast for about 15 minutes. Watch for signs that the puppy has to eliminate then take it outside.
  • When you leave for work or school, put the puppy in its crate.
  • Noon: Let the puppy outside to eliminate.
  • When you go back to school or work, return the puppy to the crate.
  • 4-6 pm: Take the puppy out to eliminate.
  • Give dinner for about 15 minutes. Watch for signs that it has to eliminate then take it outside.
  • Evening is free time for people. It is also the time when the most accidents occur. Keep the puppy with you or confined.

Signs of needing to eliminate include:

  • Sniffing, circling and whining.
  • Watch for signs after eating, napping and playing.
  • Take your puppy out immediately when you see these signs.

If you catch your puppy in the act of “eliminating” in an inappropriate place:

  • A quick “No” and bringing the puppy outside immediately is appropriate.
  • NEVER punish the puppy after it has finished eliminating.
  • Never rub its nose in its urine or stool.
  • The puppy does not know that it is doing something wrong before or even minutes after it has eliminated inappropriately.

How long can you expect your puppy to go without eliminating?

  • 6 to 8 weeks – 4 hours
  • 12 weeks – 4 to 6 hours
  • 16 weeks – 8 hours