House Training for Dogs



A quick and easy guide to take the mystery out of house training



There are three different categories that fall under the concept of HOUSE TRAINING:


This applies to establishing an allowable toilet area for puppies or older dogs that are new to your home. Problems can include both urination and defecation.


This relates only to urination that occurs when greeting or disciplining. Or if the dog is highly excited.


This can include defecation, but is more commonly a urination marking problem. Both male or female dogs can display this behavior. It is only seen in dogs that have reached puberty.

If your dog has a problem with SUBMISSIVE WETTING and is older than four months, or if your dog is displaying MARKING behavior, we would suggest that you contact us for an evaluation. The evaluation will help determine why there is a problem. There is no charge for this service.


If you are committed and prepared from the first moment you introduce your new puppy or dog to your home, it should take about two weeks to achieve appropriate housetraining behavior.

If you have a puppy or dog that has already developed a bad habit in house training, new reliable behavior will take at least six weeks to establish.

Medical Problems

Always make sure there are no medical problems complicating issues. Any type of urinary tract infection or intestinal upset makes house training difficult at best. Some medications can also interfere with the process.


Diet can be very important. Some foods can make it more difficult to house train a dog. Toilet areas can be as general as an area outside, or as specific as a litterbox. You must have a clear idea, however, of what is an acceptable toilet spot before you start educating your dog. And yes, your dog can be trained to use only a specific corner of the yard if you are willing to take the time to train your dog to that level of understanding.

Toilet Areas

Toilet areas can be as general as an area outside, or as specific as a litterbox. You must have a clear idea, however, of what is an acceptable toilet spot before you start educating your dog. And yes, your dog can be trained to use only a specific corner of the yard if you are willing to take the time to train your dog to that level of understanding

Your Attitude

Your attitude is probably the most important ingredient in the formula of house training. You are taking your puppy or dog through a process of education. He does not know that it is wrong for him to use your carpet as a toilet. His mother never told him. It is not pre-programmed into his genetic coding. It is your job to help him understand the whole concept. Do you speak “dog”? He doesn’t speak “people”. This language barrier is best conquered with patience and understanding.



1. You are creating a schedule for your dog. CREATE ONE THAT IS CONVENIENT TO YOU!

2. Do not feed your dog free choice meals while establishing a housetraining schedule. Keep all meals on a predictable schedule. Snacks and treats should be kept to a minimum while setting a schedule. And avoid any “rich” foods that could upset the bowels of your dog.

3. Establish a bedtime and a waking-up time. Try to stick to these times as close as possible.

4. Young dogs need a lot of nap times; make sure the schedule provides for these. Keep in mind, the dog will need to be taken out after all naps.

5. Anytime the dog has been emotionally stimulated (i.e. badly scared or frightened, a very rowdy play session) it may experience the need to eliminate.

6. Most dogs will be able to “hold it” for eight hours during the night within two to three days, but day time schedules have a lot more variables. Pay attention, supervise and educate your dog and you will establish a daytime schedule you both can live with.



1. If you know where your dog is at all times, and what he is doing, you can catch him before he makes a mistake.

2. If he starts to make a mistake, firmly but calmly say “No” and take him straight out to the toilet area. Do not yell at him or chase him.

3. If you are busy and cannot totally supervise your dog, put him in a contained area where he won’t make a mistake, or tie him to a doorknob in the area you are in.

4. If you are sitting watching TV or reading, have the dog with you on a long line or leash. This way, the dog cannot wander into another room and make a mistake. Before you relax, give your dog some of his toys to play with, so that he learns that being with you is pleasant.



(Gone to work all day?)

1. Provide a small area to contain the dog in; i.e. A small bathroom (with all temptations removed), a fenced-off corner of the garage, or a crate.

2. Do not leave food and water with the dog, and do not load the dog down with “doggie cookies” just before you leave.

3. If you are gone for more than eight hours, it would be good to find someone who can go in and give him a drink and a chance to relieve himself.



1. Take your dog out to desired toilet area and stand quietly while the dog investigates the area for the right spot. THIS IS NOT PLAY TIME! Do not distract the dog by trying to talk him into “hurrying up”.

Three to five minutes is the length of time you should give the dog. If he doesn’t go in that time, return him to the house and contain him for another half hour and then try again.

2. When he does start to potty: Quickly and calmly praise him WHILE HE’S IN THE PROCESS OF GOING. Use the word you have chosen for this: e.g. “Good Potty.”

3. When he is done going you can now praise with more enthusiasm.

4. Learn your dog’s habits. Some dogs need to “potty” two or three times per outing. Urination is often followed by a BM.

5. If the weather is foul and you aren’t happy about having to take your dog outside, it is very important not to let him sense this. You may create a dog that doesn’t like using the outside as his toilet in foul weather.

6. While you are learning your dog’s individual habits; take him out when he wakes up, after he has eaten and after all play sessions



1. Quietly but very firmly say “NO”. If you feel you must add volume to get the dog’s attention, do it by clapping your hands together.

2. Help the dog to get outside to the appropriate area. Follow the preceding instructions for taking the dog out.

3. Clean the mess with an odor neutralizer or an odor-killing product. The dog’s sense of smell is much better than ours. If it smells like a toilet area to the dog, he will continue using that area for a toilet.



1. Realize that someone wasn’t supervising when they should have been.

2. Put the dog on a leash and calmly bring him to the scene of the accident. Keep the dog to your side not in front of you and, while the dog is watching, quickly and very firmly scold the potty. DO NOT scold the dog.

3. Blot up some of the urine on a small piece of paper, or pick up some of the stool with a tissue, and take it and the dog out to the appropriate toilet area. Place the paper with the potty on the ground and with the dog watching, praise it for being in the right area. Then leave it there.

4. Clean up the remaining mess as previously stated.

Board & Train Dog Training Seattle Bothell Everett AOCB

425-486-9567 (phone)
425-486-9479 (fax)

Monday-Saturday: 9AM-6PM
Sunday: CLOSED


Monday-Saturday: 9AM-6PM
Sunday: CLOSED


© Academy of Canine Behavior 2020