Puppies are so cute, squishy and cuddly and… messy. When they are very young they don’t yet have much concept of holding their bladder or bowels and go when and where they need.
Getting house-trained (or toilet-trained) is an important part of their development, but it isn’t as difficult as you may think. However, it does require consistency and patience and plenty of positive reinforcement!
How long does it take?
To fully house-train a puppy it will take approximately 4 to 6 months. Some puppies can take up to a year before they are fully house-trained. Smaller puppies may take a bit longer; they have smaller bladders and need to go outside more often. If your puppy was eliminating in a cage before you got her, and she is older than 12 weeks it may also take longer. Each little ball of fluff is unique, so don’t worry if there are setbacks or if they don’t progress the same as other puppies.
When to start house-training
The ideal time to begin house-training is when your puppy is between 12 and 16 weeks old. Any earlier and they don’t yet have enough control of their bladder and bowels.
Steps to house-train
- Keep your puppy in a defined space – this can be in a crate, in a room, or on a leash.
- Feed your puppy on a regular schedule, and take the bowl away between meals.
- Take her outside to eliminate every 30 minutes to an hour starting with first thing in the morning when she wakes up. Also take her out directly after meals and naps.
- Take her to the same spot each time. She will start associating the scent with doing her business.
- Stay with her and as soon as she is done gives her lots of praise. Follow the praise with a treat or a reward such as a walk.