House Training Your Puppy

Here are some tips and tricks for house training your new puppy!

There are many options about housebreaking puppies so I am going to just talk about my favorite.

Housebreaking your puppy
Bad Human

First, things NOT to do:

NEVER spank your puppy when he/she pottys in the wrong place! DO spank yourself though. It was your fault you did not have him in the right place at the right time!

NEVER shove your puppy’s nose in it’s poop or pee – that is just plain stupid. That’s sad.

OK. Now for my advice on how to get the job done easily & painlessly:

Our Goal: Puppy to do ALL pottying outside (or in designated place).

I keep my puppy in a small place like my bathroom or utility / laundry room with a baby gate in the doorway or their “luxury suite / kennel”. This way my puppy can see me while I am working in my kitchen. In one corner I have a kennel with the door removed or a doggie bed. Food & water are also in that part of the room. The other end of the room (small room or pen remember) I have potty pads. I use the XL pads made for people beds bc they are so much larger & heavier. Your puppy may be very sad if he/she can’t see you. The puppy pens are great to use in the main room that you will be spending your time. That way, your puppy can at least see that you are in the same room and be happy.


If you dampen the floor underneath the potty pad with a wet cloth, the pads stick better to the floor. They rarely get chewed up and bunched up and used as a toy. It helps to dab a bit of the puppy’s pee on it to scent it with it. That is a signal to the pup (this is the place to go). Then when the pup suddenly has to potty, the floor is covered with pads, they cannot make a mistake. Good pup! Good human! 

Housebreaking your puppyHouse training your puppy

In a day or two, you will see that your puppy is only using 1 or 2 of these pads (probably the ones farthest away from his food & bed area. Take the 1 pad that is always clean away. One day later, take another away. Goal = 1 pad, better yet no pads.

Now, when little pup gets the urge, he has to pause, look around for that available puppy pad, go over there & use it. Good puppy! Good human!

During this time while your puppy is learning his puppy pads, I also simultaneously teach him to go outdoors. After every meal and as soon as puppy wakes from his nap, he is going to want to go potty. Use this to teach outdoors as much as you can! Take him out on a leash at these times when you are home. Take him to the same spot, stand there and act very boring so he doesn’t think it’s playtime. Pretend you are a fence post.

Housebreaking your puppy

This is NOT playtime. Say “go potty” or whatever verbal cue that you want to use. If he walks around, smells the pee or poo scent there, he will get the idea rather quickly – IF you don’t play with him. After he potties it’s time to cheer for him & play!! GOOD DOGGIE!! GOOD HUMAN!! At first it may take a little while, be patient. You & he will get better at this with practice.  House training your puppy

NEVER give your puppy run of the house until that privilege is earned! It is great if you want to play with him for a bit or cuddle with him while you are watching TV but never allow him to roam unwatched until he is completely trained. VERY good for you to join him in his room/pen and play or cuddle with him there! After he is doing very well in his room on 1 pad, he can graduate to the kitchen / larger room with no throw rugs or carpet. (A throw rug or carpet looks and feels just like a potty pad to the little fellow). If puppy pottys on the floor/rug – be sure to clean REALLY good to remove the scent (after you spank yourself).

House training your puppy

I move the baby gate to the kitchen doorway now which gives him a larger room but temporarily give him a couple more potty pads, then back to 1 in a few days. BUT, I continue to try my best to keep their potty pads clean by taking him outdoors when I am supposed to.

Night time: I sometimes keep my puppy in his bathroom / utility room / kitchen room for night time but usually he is very sad and alone there. After all, they naturally are pack animals & want to be with their human pack. I bring their “5 star luxury kennel” in which I have taught them to LOVE (with the door closed on it) and place it right next to the head of my bed where I can reach it. I place my hand where I can put my fingers inside his cage & he can smell me. We fall asleep that way. He cannot hold his pee all night (and neither can I), so I expect when he wakes up during the night to have to either take him outside to pee, or use his little bathroom / utility room where he can use his potty pad. I train to both in & out doors for my convenience at first. Sometimes my pup & I do not want to go outside in the middle of the night in our jammies if it’s raining or snowing! 🙂

House training your puppy

If you want your puppy in your bed, that may be questionable. Just know that he may potty in the wrong spot & you’ll have to spank yourself! If you will wake easily when your pup wakes & becomes restless with the need to potty & you can get him/her to your chosen place to potty in time – you might be fine.

BUT, let me say here that training with the Luxury 5 star kennel (that you have put in the effort to where they LOVE their “own personal safe bedroom”) will help them for the rest of their lives at times when you need to keep them safe. You WILL need a “comfortable/safe room” for them many times during their & your lives. If you start early to show them how wonderful it is for them to have their very own luxury suite kennel where they can chill out, relax, & get away, have a glass of wine, maybe chew on their favorite chewy bone, (which they are only allowed to chew on when they are inside their wonderful suite on their soft, warm bed) you & your puppy will benefit over & over for the rest of your lives!!!

There are soooooo many fun types of kennels!!!

Remember, whenever you take your pup to a new house – it may take a month or two for him to learn where the new potty places are so be aware of this and take them outside often until they understand. Do not give them the run of your friends homes without supervision until they are ready. You want them to be welcome at other places!

House training your puppy

This whole housebreaking thing can be quite easy when you get a pup from me because I have already allowed the basics to happen. Just please be vigilant and try as hard as you can to prevent “mistakes”. Whenever your pup goes in the wrong place – it will set you back a little. Again, spank yourself and try harder next time. Some folks have little bells on the door so pup can learn to knock them with his paw to signal you that its time to go out. Some folks use litter boxes. Whatever your preference, be consistent & it’ll get done. Then you will have the next 15 years with clean floors! Hooray!!!

House training your puppy

Although outdoor potty training is always the preferred, for people in high apartments, health issues preventing them from going outside, cold or heat outside, or work, this may not be the best option. Besides the Potty Pad Method, another option is Litterbox training similar (but not exactly the same) as you would use with cats.  There is also a fake grass option that works well.

House training your puppy

Cesar Millan has some good advice on his web site here: House Training your puppy. He also some good advice on Crate Training your puppy. I just LOVE Patricia McConnel PhD’s books and can’t brag enough on them. She really knows dogs and is VERY good about teaching people in a fun way! Here is a link to her small but EXCELLENT book on house training “Way To Go” I will be giving you this booklet in your puppy kit! 

Way To Go by Patricia McConnell. Book on House Training Puppies
“Way To Go” by Patricia McConnell. Book on House Training Puppies

Need Professional Trainer Assistance?

I am ALWAYS here to help! I enjoy it!! Sometimes bad habits can be avoided so easily. I know a group of VERY good trainers who have connections all over the country. Often they can fix problems just by talking to you on the phone for a few minutes. They have worked & trained with Cesar Millan and many other top trainers in the world. They have several of my puppies also!! If you ever would like to call them or have friends who may need them here is Eileen’s number & email. She is a pro!!!

• Eileen Balcom-Vetillo  Website: A Whole New Dog ; phone 815-751-6309.  [email protected]