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House/crate training is tremendously important in the life of your new puppy and will make your life easier.  You will enjoy your pet more and your pet will learn the rules quicker and easier if you know the rules and how to teach the puppy the rules.  The following great article came from the website of Lenawee Humane Society.  The best part is that IT WORKS!  I have heard many success stories using this method.

There are four elements necessary to successful house training:

  1. Your dog must know that outside is an appropriate place to eliminate.
  2. He must know that nowhere inside is acceptable to eliminate.
  3. Your dog needs an audible way to tell you he has to eliminate.
  4. Your dog must have the bladder and bowel control to wait to get outside once he realizes he has to eliminate.

Your dog will not be successfully house trained until all of those elements have been achieved.

In addition, there are four other elements that are helpful and convenient to your house training efforts.

  1. Your dog should be able to eliminate on leash, which is very important to travel with your dog.
  2. Can learn to eliminate in a special spot in your yard which makes clean-up easy and keeps your dog from destroying your entire yard.
  3. He can learn to eliminate immediately upon being let outside before he plays.
  4. Your dog can learn to eliminate on command.


The following technique for house training accomplishes all eight elements. This technique has been successful, to date, with every dog on which it has been implemented, both puppies and adults. Follow every step exactly as it is described below.

STEP 1. Make use of a dog crate or block off an area in a room so that it is just big enough for your dog to turn around, sit up, and lie down in. If the area is big enough so that he can eliminate at one end and lie in the other end, chances are, he will. Remember, a dog's only "natural" desire is to keep his sleeping area clean. Until he is completely house trained, keep him in this area every time you cannot directly supervise him. Supervision means knowing what your dog is doing at all times. Do not put anything down on the floor of this area.

STEP 2. Set up a feeding and water schedule. Do not vary the schedule even on the weekends. Do not give food or water to a young puppy (under 16 weeks) after about 7:00 p.m.

STEP 3. Take your dog outside upon awakening in the morning, after each nap, after every meal and drink, after each play session, and anytime he becomes excited or shows any indication that he needs to eliminate.

STEP 4. Not all dogs eliminate within half an hour of eating. Some forgot to read "The Book of Dog Rules." Chart your dog's food schedule, water schedule and the times he actually eliminates. Usually you will start to see a pattern which will help you to predict when your particular dog needs to go outside.


  1. Put your dog on leash so that you can take him to and keep him in the spot you wish him to use. Leashing him will teach him to eliminate first before any play. This is also important training for travel on long trips. Continue to leash him until he is actively leading you to his spot and eliminating first thing.


  1. As you start toward the door, say a specific word (outside, potty, broccoli, etc.) And repeat it again as you pass through the doorway.


  1. Go outside and remain with your dog until he has eliminated. This step is very important. People with fenced-in back yards often struggle with house training because they are not there to praise their dog when he goes, nor do they know whether he actually eliminated when they let him back inside.


  1. AS HE STARTS TO ELIMINATE, repeat "outside" and praise him enthusiastically. Make him feel wonderful for such an important performance. Offer him a food treat if you wish. The treat should be given as soon as he finishes. Do not wait until you are back inside the house.


  1. Ignore your dog and do not play with him until after he has eliminated. Then you can allow him to play in the yard.


STEP 6. If your dog fails to eliminate within 5 or 10 minutes (all supervised and on leash), bring him back inside and confine him to his area (Step 1). After 10 to 15 minutes, take him back outside again following Step 5 completely. Repeat this routine again and again until your dog successfully eliminates.

NOTE: Don't ever bring your dog in after an unsuccessful performance and give him freedom in your home. You are setting yourself up for an accident.

STEP 7. Once your dog has eliminated outside, give him some supervised freedom in the yard or in the house. If your dog starts to eliminate during a supervised free period in the house, say "outside" in a low, firm tone of voice, and, immediately, take him outside to his spot in the yard, praising once he is there even if he finished eliminating inside. The low tone of voice shows disapproval and often has a stopping effect enabling you to get him outside to finish the job. The praise outside tells him what the correct behavior should be. When you bring him back inside, clean up the mess and forget it. Do not scold your dog outside or once you are back inside.

If you should "slip up" and permit your dog to have an ACCIDENT when you were not supervising, DO NOT SCOLD HIM, scold yourself. Do not rub his nose in "the accident." Correction after the fact is ineffective. Simply clean up the mess and resolve to actively supervise him or to confine him if you can't supervise him. However, it is important to realize that the prevention of accidents inside the house is important to speedy house training.

STEP 8. As you begin house training, start teaching your dog to tell you he needs to go outside. Listed below are two ways to accomplish this.

  • BARKING: Take him to the door at a time he usually has to potty and, saying "outside" with excited conversation, get him worked up enough to bark. As soon as he makes a noise, immediately open the door, praise him, and take him outside to his spot. If you cannot stimulate your dog to bark at the door but he does bark at other times, you can teach him that barking opens the door. Every time he barks, say "outside," take him quickly outside to his spot, and praise him the entire time.


  • BELL: Use either a "ring for service" bell (which you can pick up and travel with), a bell hanging on the door handle, or a bell hanging from a hook beside the door. Take your dog to the door and, using his muzzle or paw, ring the bell. Open the door, say "outside," praise enthusiastically and take him to his spot. If your dog is taller, and you are using a bell on the floor, set it up initially on a stool or can so that he can see it as you are helping him ring it.

Continue the procedure until your dog begins to signal you, on his own, that he needs to go outside. Once he is trained to signal you, ALWAYS RESPOND TO HIS SIGNAL. You can begin ringing the bell the first day you bring your dog home. NOTE: If your dog starts signaling all of the time, respond every time, but put him out on a tie-out line by himself and do not let him back in for a short while. Usually being left outside all by himself will quickly teach your dog not to frivolously ask to go outside.

NOTE: You can take the "ring for service" bell with you when you travel. When you arrive at each new location, take your dog and the bell to the door he will go out, set the bell next to the door, ring the bell with his paw, say "outside," praise him and take him immediately outside. He will then know how to ask you to go outside in this new place.

Continue following the steps listed above until your dog has successfully accomplished the four elements necessary for house training.


It is absolutely necessary to SUPERVISE YOUR PUPPY EVERY TIME HE IS LOOSE IN YOUR HOME. Many puppies under 12 to 16 weeks do not have sufficient bladder control to signal, then wait for you to let them outside. By the time they realize they have to go, they have to go! If you have ever potty trained a child, you'll see this similarity. Be patient...expect accidents.

How Long Should it Take? Be realistic in your expectations. The length of time necessary to successfully train your puppy will depend on his age, his bladder capacity, your home schedule, and your ability to be consistent. Generally, medium to large dogs should house train anywhere from several days to several weeks, while very small dogs may not completely house train for several months. However, keep in mind that each dog is an individual. Anytime you experience difficulty, review the steps for training to ensure you are not forgetting one. Keep your emotions out of the training; praise, praise, praise at every opportunity; and remember that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." NOTE: Because of the unsanitary condition in which some back yard bred, puppy mill bred, and pet store puppies are kept, they sometimes give up on their desire to keep their "den area" clean. Such puppies can require special patience to house train.


How Often Does Your Puppy Need to Eliminate?

New puppies 6 to 12 weeks old literally need to urinate about every half hour or so during active times and usually cannot go through an entire night without urinating. They may have a bowel movement about as often as they urinate. If your puppy will be left alone during the daytime, you may need to initially return home at noon. If this is not possible, there are pet care companies you can hire to come in at noon or possibly a neighbor who can fill in for you. Puppies from about 12 weeks to 5 months old need to eliminate at least 6 to 8 times a day (sometimes more). After about 5 months, your puppy will probably average 3 to 4 trips per day until old age when frequency will again increase. By 5 months the average puppy will have a bowel movement only once or twice a day.


How Does Your Puppy Tell You He Needs to Eliminate?

Your puppy will usually provide subtle little signs that he has to eliminate. These might include a sudden increase in excitement, circling, sudden sniffing, arching his back, squatting, lifting his tail, or finding an out-of-the-way spot he normally stays away from. If you are supervising your puppy, you will be able to see these signs and act accordingly.

NOTE: If your puppy or adult dog eliminates upon greeting, in play, or when being corrected, it is not a house training mistake. It is submissive urination. Submissive urination must be handled using different techniques (ask the Lenawee Humane Society for an instruction handout). Some puppies also urinate during excited greetings because they have not yet developed sufficient bladder control. They, too, benefit from the techniques used for submissive urination.

Building Bladder Control In order for a dog to be able to go 3, 4, 6, 8 or more hours without urinating, he must build up bladder capacity. The crate helps tremendously in this regard. Even if you are generally home every day, confine your puppy for stretches of several hours daily to help develop bladder control.


House training an older dog is generally quick and easy. If you have just adopted an older dog who was not house trained, follow the training steps just as though he were a puppy, including supervision and confinement, until he is trained. If you have worked consistently with your dog for several weeks with no improvement, have the veterinarian check him for a urinary tract infection. If your older dog repeatedly eliminates in one particular spot, feed him there for several weeks and supervise him to prevent further accidents.


If, after diligent effort, your house training efforts are still unsuccessful with your puppy or older dog, contact a behavior consultant. Almost every dog can be house trained with a little effort and consistency.