One of the most important things to keep in mind when housetraining a dog is that he will have accidents. Don’t expect him to be instantly perfect in this area. For many dogs, both puppies and adult dogs, being successfully housetrained will take several months.
The two main methods of housetraining are paper training and crate training. If you decide to paper train your pup, you will teach him to eliminate inside, on a large floor area that is covered by newspaper. Once your puppy has mastered the idea of only relieving himself in the newspapered area, you can begin to remove sections of newspaper, slowly shrinking the area he uses for eliminating until it is about the size of one piece of paper. Eventually, once this process is completed, you will need to teach your puppy to eliminate outdoors.
People who choose the paper training method often do so because they know the puppy will not have outside access as often as he will need to eliminate. While some dog owners find success with this method, it can be confusing to the dog. Paper training teaches the dog to eliminate inside, and later he will need be trained to relieve himself outside. Once a puppy is accustomed to eliminating indoors, it can be very difficult to deter him from this habit.
Crate training is a great choice for a dog who has accepted his crate as a place for sleeping. Since dogs don’t like to eliminate in the same spot where they sleep, he will be anxious to leave his crate and head outside when he needs to eliminate.
The first step in successfully crate training a puppy is to commit to a regular routine for taking your puppy outside, so your puppy can learn that his chances to eliminate occur on a schedule. These trips outside should include first thing in the morning, at least once every hour during the day, and right before bedtime. After you’ve taken him outside, give him some play time before placing him back in the crate. During the times between trips outside, keep a close eye on your puppy and carry him outside if you see any indications that he is about to eliminate.
Keep in mind that accidents will happen, and that for many dogs, housetraining can take upwards of six months. No matter which method you choose, be faithful to it. Housetraining success is achieved by consistency—and a whole lot of patience!