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Housetraining a puppy may be simple, but it's often not easy, it takes time and patience - don't expect to housetrain a puppy overnight.  It won't matter how diligent you and the family are, accidents will happen.  Be prepared to clean up after your puppy, there's no point getting cross and scolding your puppy, it will only upset you and your pup won't understand why he/she is being told off.

Puppies cannot control their elimination before four months of age and this may vary depending on the size and type of breed you have.  Dogs will not generally soil their 'den'.  With this in mind, a great way to train your puppy is through crate training.  Not only will you housetrain your puppy quickly, but your pup will have a 'sanctuary' where they can rest when the busy house is just too much for them (see crate training factsheet).


When you first bring your puppy home, carry him/her to where you want him/her to eliminate in the garden.  Be patient, once your puppy eliminates in the garden (or area of your choice) say GOOD and REWARD with a treat (we recommend a high value food i.e. finely chopped hot dog, chicken or liver treats).  Make sure you always have treats available for training in the early days.  Your dog will soon learn that if they clean themselves outside it brings a nice treat.  Once this is learnt, you can then introduce a command such as 'BE CLEAN'.


How to tell if your puppy needs to go outside:

  • if your puppy barks or whines at you
  • if your puppy starts sniffing the ground in little circles
  • if your puppy starts panting or raising his/her tail while doing any of these things, it's time to take your puppy out and quickly


Please note: Before a puppy is 12 weeks old, they need to go out every 1 - 2 hours.


When to take your puppy outside:

  • as soon as he/she wakes up in the morning or after a nap
  • before putting them into the crate and leaving them
  • before and after meals
  • last thing at night
  • if you see any of the signs previously mentioned


 Once your puppy begins to understand what to do he/she will ask to go out, often by barking at you or standing by the door.