Things You'll Need
Housebreaking a puppy is necessary to teach it to be a good companion and to keep your home safe and clean. According to the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, the more consistent you are in following the basic housetraining procedures, the faster your puppy will learn acceptable behavior. Keeping a strict routine is key in housebreaking a puppy fast.
Place a crate in a safe, quiet area in your home. It must be big enough to hold the puppy, but small enough so that the puppy can’t freely urinate or defecate in one spot and resume playing or sleeping in another. Regular crate use will teach the puppy that it’s possible to “hold” its bladder or bowels for a limited amount of time.
Line the crate with a soft blanket and add a chew toy or other treat so the puppy will associate the crate with a positive experience and feel at home in it. Ideally, the puppy will learn to consider the crate its den. Place a comfortable yet secure collar on your puppy and put the puppy in the crate. Leave the puppy in the crate for approximately one to three hours at the most, depending on its age and size. Smaller, younger dogs need to be let out more often.
Let the puppy out of the crate, attach a leash to its collar and take it outdoors after every meal. Your puppy should have plenty of playtime in the house with you and family members during the day, as well, but during the training period, the crate, or den, will serve as its headquarters. Take your time walking with the puppy until it successfully does its business. Immediately reward the puppy with a treat, so it associates the "bathroom break" with positive reinforcement.
Return indoors and place the puppy back into the crate. Add a special treat or chew toy to make it a fun den and not a prison.
Wait another one to three hours and remove the puppy from the crate and take it back outdoors for another restroom break. Reward the puppy with another dog treat as soon as it urinates or defecates.
When you are in the house, try periods of time with the puppy confined in a room with you, and watch it closely. When it seems to be looking for a place or is actively pawing at or whining near the door, immediately attach the leash to its collar and take it outdoors. Reward the puppy with a treat immediately after it does its business outdoors.
Repeat the steps listed above for as long as it takes until the puppy is regularly holding its urine and feces. Depending on the dog, it can take weeks or longer. Consistency, positive reinforcement and patience are essential to the success of any housebreaking program.
Keep your puppy in the crate overnight and at all times when you’re not available to supervise it to prevent it from accidentally making your living room floor into a restroom, but make sure it's let out every three hours at least.
Feed the puppy on a schedule to ensure it eliminates on a schedule.
Never leave the puppy in the crate longer than three hours, as puppies cannot hold their bladders and bowels for long periods of time. If you cannot be present, arrange for someone to let it out for bathroom breaks at least every three hours.
Never yell at or beat your puppy for mistakes. Instead promptly take it outdoors to ensure it’s finished with its business. Punishment will make your puppy fear and distrust you, and ruin your chances of a successful housebreaking program.
puppy image by jimcox40 from Fotolia.com
Brittany Tucker began a freelance writing career in 2008. She specializes in home and garden topics, and her work has appeared on a variety of websites. Tucker studied English literature at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.