How To House Train A Dog

woman taking a picture with her dog

Ah, dogs! You've got to love them. They're the perfect companion, and you can tell them all your secrets and rest assured they won't spill — a true best friend! But this friendship can go right out the window when your furry friend can't stop peeing on your $2000 leather sofa. And if you don't know how to house train a dog, the temptation to surrender him/her to a shelter may be eating at you.

You're not alone. Every fur baby parent has been down this road. The trick is to use proven tips and tricks on how to house train a dog to get results. Just don't expect to see changes overnight. Your dog may take some time to learn the new tricks.

But with patience and consistency, they should be fully house-trained within no time.

A Comprehensive Guide on How to 

House Train a Dog

guy with his dog demonstrating how to house train a dog

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Potty training is not a walk in the park — though it may involve some! Every dog is different. Not to mention, dog owners have different schedules and living conditions that may affect how the dog picks up house training tricks.

For this reason, there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach on how to house train a dog. Nonetheless, there are certain things you can do that will set you up for success. So without further ado, let's get this show on the road.

Understand your dog

It doesn't matter if you're using the best dog training books on the market. If you don't understand your dog and what they need, your entire training is bound to fail.

The first step is ruling out any health complications that may be causing your dog to have uncontrolled "accidents" around the house. Sometimes it may be an issue of marking, in which case neutering may help.

Therefore, visit the vet and rule out all health complications before you begin applying tricks on how to house train a dog.

It's also crucial to understand normal dog behavior. A dog doesn't have the instinct to relieve themselves outdoors. It's only natural for the dog not to go where they sleep, but everywhere else is fair game!

So don't rub their nose in their waste as a way of punishing them. Doing so will only cause your furry friend to be afraid of you and hide when they have to go.

Just be patient and apply these proven tips on how to house train a dog, and you should be well on your way to attaining success.

It's going to take some time, plan for it

It's crucial to take your dog on regular midday bathroom breaks once you get them into their new home. Doing so gets them on a routine and reduces house "accidents."

Therefore, if you have work, school, or other engagements that may make it impossible to take your dog out during the day, it may help to hire a dog walker when you're away. This way, you don't disrupt their routine.

Alternatively, you can ask a neighbor to take your dog outside if you can't afford to hire a dog walker.

Gather the right supplies immediately

dog inside the red bucket

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Apart from getting your dog on a routine, it's also essential to ensure you have the supplies you'll need for the training.

One of the items you should buy as soon as you get the dog into your home is a crate. Crate training is one of the most effective ways on how to house train a dog. Because dogs don't like to soil where they sleep or rest, a crate will teach them bowel and bladder control.

The crate should be spacious enough such that the dog can lie down and stand up in it comfortably. However, it shouldn't be too big. If the crate is too big, your dog may feel that it's okay to soil in one area and still keep the sleeping space clean.

And if you're worried that your furry friend will feel too confined in their crate, don't. Dogs love a place just for them to sleep and rest. So don't be surprised to see them using it even after they're adequately house trained.

Use proper crate guidelines

You can't just put your dog in a crate and hope they understand what you want them to learn. If you're not using the right approach on how to house train a dog, your fur baby may suffer from anxiety and start soiling their sleeping area.

Fortunately, there are some steps you can follow that will help your dog understand what you need them to do. These include:

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Don't push too hard

When you're just getting started on how to house train a dog, it may seem like a great idea to make him hold as long as he can. Don't do this. If you confine your dog inside for longer than they can hold, they'll only go inside or outside their crate.

And when this happens, all your training would have gone down the drain. Therefore, as soon as you notice your dog wants to go, open the door for him to go outside.

The station matters

Dogs love going in the same spots. Therefore, make sure you choose a place where you'd like them to go and stick to it every single time. Remember, consistency is critical when it comes to house training for puppies and older dogs.

No distractions

Just like you wouldn't want someone talking or distracting you when you're doing your business, give your pup some peace when they want to go. Stand there in silence and watch them as they circle and sniff.

When they begin going, give them a command like " go pee" or "do your business." By doing this, your dog will learn to go on cue — something you'll appreciate when you're traveling with your fur baby and don't want to pick up poop at every stop.

 A treat for a good deed


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Any dog training session should include praise and treats for it to be successful. For this reason, every time your dog successfully eliminates outside, you should praise them and give them a gift.

Ensure your praise is enthusiastic and that the treats are something the dog likes to encourage them to do it again. With this approach, you're teaching them that going outside is good.

Just make sure you do it after the deed. Otherwise, the dog won't connect the praise and treat to eliminating outside.

The best way to instill punishment

How you punish your dog for going inside the house will also make or break your training.

It's crucial not to punish your dog when you haven't caught them in the act because they won't know what the punishment is about. Instead, clean up the mess to ensure your furry friend isn't attracted to the same spot again.

When you catch them in the act, startle them immediately with a shout or clap and direct them outside. When the dog has eliminated successfully, reward him or her with a treat. Doing so teaches your fur baby it's good to eliminate outdoors and that it deserves a reward.

Bathroom breaks can make or break your training

When you're house training your dog, it's essential to give them as many opportunities to go as possible so that they don't have "accidents" in the house. It's advisable to do it at least six times a day until the training s successful.

Take your dog outside first thing in the morning before you leave for work or school, twice during the day, before dinner, and before going to bed.

It's also essential to reward your dog with more time outdoors when they eliminate outside. This way, they'll learn to hold because it earns them more time outdoors.

While this may seem tedious, do it knowing that you won't have to do it as often when your dog training is over. After successful training, you'll only have to take the dog out four times a day( for adult dogs), and sometimes, they'll let you know when they want to go by standing by the door and scratching it.

lady kissing her dog while bathing

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Accidents will happen, prepare adequately

When you're implementing tips on how to house train a dog, it's inevitable for him to have a few "accidents" here and there. How you manage these "accidents" will determine whether or not you succeed in your training and have peace of mind through it all.

We bet you don't want your house smelling of dog urine and feces. Therefore, the first thing you need to learn is how to clean the mess effectively.

It's best to use a cleaner with live enzymes or bacteria because such cleaners break down the mess instead of masking it with a fragrance. Stay away from ammonia cleaners — since they smell like pee, your dog will be drawn to that spot and soil it again.

You can also encourage your dog to go on their "elimination station" by placing soiled towels there. The smell will draw them there when they need to go.

Supervision is key

Another useful tip on how to house train a dog is to supervise them at all times. You should see everything that comes out of your dog so that you can act accordingly.

If you're always getting messes around your house, it means you're not supervising your fur baby enough. You need to be aware of signs like squatting, sniffing, tail our straight, and circling because they indicate he or she wants to go.

When you notice these signs, take them outside immediately and stand there to praise them when they go. Opening the door and allowing them to go out won't suffice because they won't attach the treat to the lesson.

sunset working dog with man in front

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Scheduled feeding will save you a lot of hassle

When your dog eats all day, they poop all day. So if you don't want to clean or go outside every other minute, it may help to have your dog on a feeding schedule.

If you don't know how to determine how much your dog should eat in a day, your vet can help. Ensure you stick to the new schedule and don't give your dog any food between their meal breaks. Also, make sure you remove any uneaten food after 20 minutes.

Do this until your dog gets accustomed to the new feeding program and you'll surely notice a difference in the number of bathroom breaks he has to a take.

House training Troubleshooting

guy with his dog demonstrating how to house train a dog

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As we mentioned, learning how to house train a dog can be a tall order. You can do it for days and see no results, and sometimes your dog may not be the easiest to train.

It happens. But you can't afford to give up after starting because it will only set you back. You need to know how to deal with the common house training mishaps to succeed.

When you take him out, and nothing happens

Your dog has shown all the signs that they need to go, but when you take them outside, they stand there doing nothing. What do you do? The best thing you can do is to go back inside and try again after about 10 to 15 minutes.

Don't punish your dog when they don't go, because you can't make them go when they don't have to. Also, don't get tired of trying because doing so will only make the dog go inside the house.

When the dog only runs or plays when you take him outside

Dogs get easily distracted. If there are toys, children, or other pets running around when you go out, chances are they'll follow suit and forget what brought them outdoors in the first place.

To prevent this from happening, you need to choose an "elimination station" that doesn't have a lot of play triggers and distractions. You should also refrain from engaging your dog or playing with them when you want them to go. If you do, they'll never get it!

Also, make sure your dog is on a leash of about 6 feet long to ensure they don't wander off too far. If they still don't go, go on a few rounds until they're ready to go again.

Too many accidents

If you keep finding urine and feces all over your house, you're doing something wrong — you're not supervising correctly.

For your training to work, you need to start watching your dog like a hawk. Watch his or her every move and ensure the dog is always within range. It may help to have the dog's crate in a high traffic part of the house so that you have your eye on them at all times.

Observe their behavior and always know when they want to go so that you can take the necessary steps. If you improve your supervision, you won't have to deal with many messes.

Accidents in her crate

If your dog is always eliminating in their crate, it may be because of one of two reasons. First, your container may be too big. If the dog has enough space to go without getting their sleeping area dirty, you may need to rethink the size of the crate.

However, if the crate is the right size, and your dog is still messing up their sleeping area, it may be a medical condition. Take your furry friend to the vet to have any behavioral and health complications ruled out.

If your dog has a behavioral complication, you may need an expert trainer or behavioral therapist to help you with the house training.


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Your dog won't stop crying in their crate at night

There are several reasons why dogs cry in their box at night. One, they may not be fully exercised and still have a lot of energy. Therefore, make sure you walk your dog before you put them in their crate at night.

Your dog may also cry out when they need to go outside for a bathroom break. Take your fur baby out without acknowledging him or her because doing so will teach that going outside at night is fun — you don't want that!

However, if you notice that your dog is crying out, destroying their sleep area, or panicking, you may have to seek the assistance of a behaviorist or trainer because the dog may be suffering from separation anxiety.

You find it hard to keep an eye on your dog

Some dogs are too active, and it may be hard to always have your eye on them. If this is the case, it may help to have him tethered close to you during the training period.

You can also restrict movement by closing doors and gates so that your fur baby is where you are at all times. Just makes sure your dog isn't in their crate all day. They need regular exercise to stay healthy and to avoid feeling trapped.

Train Your Dog like a Pro

guy with his dog outdoor

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There you have it; a useful guide on how to house train a dog. If you follow these dog training tips, we believe you'll have a fully trained dog and a mess-free house within no time. Just remember to be patient because your dog won't learn all these tricks overnight.

And when it seems like you're not making any progress after trying for a long time, it may help to seek professional help.

Was this guide on how to house train a dog useful? Have you used any of these tips before? Did they work? Please let us know in the comments section below. We love hearing from our readers.

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