Puppy House Training: Tips & Hacks for Success

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You've read all the guides on how-to advice for puppy house training, and you're seeing success. Yet accidents are still happening, and you're ready to fast track your puppy's progress. You're looking for house training hacks you can implement along with the regular potty training tips you've already put into practice. Check out these six tips to help your puppy finally get the hang of bathroom time.

1. Attach Bells to the Door

Not only should you train your puppy to relieve themselves outside, but you should also train them to signal to you that they're ready to do so. By hanging bells from your doorknob, you're giving your pet a tool to nudge with their nose or bat with their paw whenever they want to go outside and use the bathroom.

2. Designate a Potty Spot

Accidents happen when your puppy is confused about where they should relieve themselves. New puppies and newly adopted dogs were just taken out of a familiar environment and are now being asked to follow the rules in a world that's new to them. To accelerate any puppy house training progress, keep the potty spot in one designated area. For instance, don't simply let your pup out into the yard. Lead them to one specific corner of grass. Or, if you're potty training with puppy pads in a high-rise apartment, keep the pad in the same exact location every time.

Jack Russell Terrier sitting on welcome mat at the door looking up.

3. Choose a Bathroom Word

Verbal cues help alert your puppy that it's time to use the bathroom, so pick a word or phrase and use it consistently every time you bring them to their potty spot. Phrases can include "Go ahead" or "Do your business." Using the bell in conjunction with the bathroom word is helpful. The bell gives your puppy the power to alert you when they need to go, and the bathroom word reminds your dog that it's important to relieve themselves where you'd like them to.

4. Loop Them to Your Belt

Let's face it: If you're far away from your pup, you won't notice the signs they're giving to let you know they have to relieve themselves. But how can you keep them close enough to you when you have many tasks to accomplish throughout the house? Simple: Keep them on a long leash or lead and loop the end of it to your belt. You'll always be within 20 feet (or less) of each other, and when they jump up from a nap or begin to whine or pace, you can practice your potty training routine immediately. Just keep in mind that puppies have a mind of their own and may run circles around a table leg, so make sure the leash is free and clear for you both to move throughout the house safely.

5. Use a Crate

Puppies get distracted when outside and often play instead of going potty on cue. Instead, they run inside and get creative on your new carpet. So, when you can't watch them or loop their leash to your belt, confine them inside a crate. You can use a crate for puppy house training to keep the house clean and persuade them to potty the right way. Here's how it works: You wouldn't want to sleep next to a dirty toilet, and neither does your puppy. Make their crate a fun, comfortable spot with special toys and a snuggly bed. They won't want to dirty their nap spot, so they'll let you know when they need a potty break. If they wasted time outside without squatting, confine them in their crate when you bring them inside. They'll have to live with their mistake — a potent lesson — and you can easily clean the mess instead of calling the carpet cleaners.

6. Move Them Closer to the Door

If your pup is doing well with puppy house training yet can't stop occasional accidents or using a potty pad, move the pad (or your pet) closer and closer to the door. Pad training is easier. Every time your pet uses one, move it a few feet nearer to the door until it's in front of the door, where you can reinforce the gesture by using the bell. If the accidents are happening in random spots, keep moving your puppy closer to the door. To do so, you may need to close doors to some rooms or set up a baby gate to remove their access to certain areas.

Your furry friend will give you signs that they need to relieve themselves, but learning how to house train your pet with these puppy training hacks will help skyrocket their chances for success.

Contributor Bio

Amy Shojai

Amy Shojai, CABC

Amy Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant, and nationally known authority on pet care and behavior. She began her career as a veterinary technician and is the award-winning author of more than 35 prescriptive nonfiction pet books.