House-training your dog or puppy requires patience, commitment and lots of consistency. Just like children, dogs need to learn basic manners such as what to do when the urge to go arrises!
How to know when to go
You might see pacing, whining, circling, sniffing purposefully, or leaving the room. These mean: take me out right now!
Not every dog will give you a signal such as barking or scratching at the door. You can train these behaviors, but if you learn to recognize the signs and respond quickly, they will probably figure it out and start “asking” because you get up and let them out right away when they do these things.
THE BASICS - HOUSETRAINING
1. Establish a routine
Just like children puppies do best when they have a schedule. When they know that there are times to eat, times to play and times to do their business. You are setting yourself up for success. Generally speaking, a puppy can control their bladder one hour for every month of age. So if your puppy is two months old, they can hold it for about two hours. Don't go longer than this between bathroom breaks or they’re guaranteed to have an accident.
This means that you must take them out least every two hours — But that's not all.
You also need to take them out immediately after they wake up, during and after playing, and after eating or drinking
Feeding your puppy at the same times each day will make it more likely that they'll eliminate at consistent times as well, making housetraining easier for both of you.
Pick up your puppy's water dish about two and a half hours before bedtime to reduce the likelihood that they'll need to relieve themselves during the night. Most puppies can sleep for approximately seven hours without needing a bathroom break. If your puppy does wake you up in the night, don't make a big deal of it; otherwise, they will think it is time to play and won't want to go back to sleep. Turn on as few lights as possible, don't talk to or play with your puppy, take them out and then return them to bed.
Don't give your puppy an opportunity to soil in the house; keep an eye on them whenever they’re indoors.
When you can't supervise:
Tether your puppy to you or a nearby piece of furniture with a six-foot leash if you are not actively training or playing. Watch for signs that your puppy needs to go out. Some signs are obvious, such as barking or scratching at the door, squatting, restlessness, sniffing around or circling. When you see these signs, immediately take them outside to their bathroom spot. If they eliminate, praise them and reward with a treat.
Crates are great for house training. Dogs and puppies don’t like a soiled bed, so a properly sized crate is very useful to assist you in teaching him bladder and bowel control. Check out Crate Introductions.
3. Use reward
Reward your dog every time they eliminate outdoors. Praise or give treats—but remember to do so immediately after they’ve finished, not after they come back inside. This step is vital because rewarding your dog for going outdoors is the only way to teach what's expected of them. Before rewarding, be sure they’re finished. Puppies are easily distracted and if you praise too soon, they may forget to finish until they’re back in the house.
4. Mistakes happen
Don't punish them for eliminating in the house. If you find a soiled area, it's too late. Just clean it up. Rubbing your dog's nose in it, taking them to the spot and scolding them or any other punishment will only make them afraid of you or afraid to eliminate in your presence. Punishment will do more harm than good.
Let them know that no other accomplishment, ever—not going to the moon, not splitting the atom, not inventing coffee—has been as important as this pee outside.
It doesn't matter if your dog is 8 weeks, or 8 years old, the same guidelines for house training applies.