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Why Housebreaking or Potty Training is Important for Your Puppy

Consistency and Positive Reinforcement Are Key Facets in Puppy Potty Training

a white dog being potty trainedWhen a puppy comes home for the first time, it sets in motion a period of adjustment for both the dog and their new owner-family.  The puppy will need time to acclimatize to its new surroundings while family members must adapt to the schedule changes and added responsibilities brought about by welcoming its newest member.

Though this feeling-out period is quite natural, the new puppy owners must not become complacent with respect to establishing positive behaviours, for both the puppy and for themselves, which will lay the foundation for a long and mutually-rewarding relationship.  This is done by the immediate initiation of training, beginning with puppy housebreaking.

It is generally accepted that puppy potty training can be achieved within the first four to six months of the puppy’s life.  Since puppies usually remain with their mother until they are at least eight weeks of age, this narrows the window of time available to successfully establish this particular positive behaviour.

There are several important elements needed to achieve the desired results with puppy potty training. These include:

  • Setting a specific location in the backyard as the designated elimination area
  • Establishing a daily routine with respect to meal times, exercise, going outside
  • Closely observing the puppy, especially early on, for signs that it has to go out
  • Taking the puppy outside to its elimination area when potty breaks are needed
  • Positive reinforcement – lavish praise on the dog when it behaves appropriately
    • This can include treats when the dog responds as desired to its potty training
  • Exercising (walking/playing) on a daily/frequent basis – to encourage elimination
  • Giving the puppy a special bed – by nature, it will learn not to soil where it sleeps

It should be apparent that one of the overriding factors to successfully housebreaking a puppy is the element of consistency that runs through all facets of the training process; it is important to note, however, that this is not only applicable to the puppy’s schedule but also to the manner in which all family members participate in/contribute to the potty training regimen – any breakdowns or inconsistencies in communication between family members and the puppy will stall the process and potentially negate its success entirely.

In-Home Consultations Can Help Determine Specific Dog Training Requirements

giving instructions while potty training a dogSometimes, a puppy simply might not respond as anticipated to housebreaking training. This could also be the case when an older dog is adopted or rescued by new owners – it may not have been adequately trained at the puppy stage and is now somewhat defiant or non-responsive to housebreaking in its new environment.

While it can be frustrating for dog owners to have their new pet making mistakes in the home, there may be underlying issues that are contributing to such unwanted behaviour.  In these cases, the owners, and the dog, may benefit from an in-home consultation by a professional dog trainer from Alpha Paws.

These sessions are designed to observe the puppy/dog in its natural environment in an effort to assess any obstacles to successful housebreaking training, as well as determine any formal obedience training or behavioural training that might benefit the dog and its owner-family.  To obtain more insight/information on the in-home consultations offered by Alpha Paws, go to

If you would like expert support with your puppy’s potty training or other dog obedience training needs, call Alpha Paws today at 905-830-9500 or 1-877-868-PAWS (7297) to discuss your specific needs or to arrange for an in-home consultation.

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