House Training

Adult Dogs 

Your new adult dog may already be potty trained, but she may be anxious and is certainly unfamiliar in her new home and not at all aware of what you want; so expect some accidents at first. 

Take the dog outside to eliminate when you first arrive home, first thing in the morning, before confinement (if you go out), immediately after confinement, after his dinner, just before you go to bed, and any time she signals a need to go. 

If your dog, no matter what age, continues to eliminate in the house when you are at home, attach a leash to the dog’s flat collar and tie it to your waist! This way you can watch your dog and take him outside when he begins to show signs of needing to eliminate.


A good rule of thumb is puppies can control their bladders for approximately *one hour of time for each month of their age. In other words, a three-month-old puppy cannot be expected to last more than three hours without relieving himself and typically they need to defecate 10-20 minutes after eating. 

Consistency and routine are key. If you can be at home with your puppy, take him out, on-leash, to eliminate every two hours, after every nap, and before confinement or any time he signals (circling, sniffing).  Take him to the same area of the yard each time.  Give him a word to associate with the action such as “potty”.  Do not play with or interact with him until he goes and immediately praise him for eliminating outside. If he does not eliminate after a few minutes take him back inside and confine him for 15 minutes, then take him out again. Repeat this until he goes. 

DO NOT rub his nose in any errors as this does not teach proper elimination habits or control. 

  • Use a crate
  • Have the crate next to your bed and during the night, when the puppy whines, take him outside, wait 2 minutes and when he eliminates, praise him.
  • Always keep his crate spotlessly clean; this will encourage him to do the same. 
  • DO NOT punish your puppy for eliminating on the floor. This teaches the puppy nothing except to hide when he has to go out! 

When you are home, be diligent about taking him outside to eliminate and use lots of praise. 

REMEMBER: Be patient. Young puppies have limited control of their bladders and short memories. Some learn more quickly than others.

Submissive and Excitement Urination

Less confident dogs sometimes urinate to show submission or in excitement to greet you.

  • Just ignore your dog, do not make eye contact or lean over to pet him.
  • Try to distract the dog with another activity such as catching a treat or going to get a toy. 
  • Building confidence by practicing basic manners and agility games may help. 
  • As your dog’s confidence grows, the problem should lessen and eventually stop.
  • Instruct guests to ignore the dog on arrival and to praise him verbally when he sits, lies down, etc. (everyone can help with training). 

Methods That Do NOT Work–Please Avoid 

  • Hitting your dog. 
  • Pushing the dog’s nose in his accidents. 
  • Shouting. 

These methods lead to your dog being more worried, making the urination worse

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