Whether you call it housebreaking, house-training, or potty-training, there are some simple and basic rules to follow while teaching your puppy to "go" outside. We've outlined some of the house-training basics below:
Carry puppy to the outdoor place you intend to use as his "toilet area." Ideally, this would be a spot close to the door that you'll use whenever you take him out. Have some puppy treats on hand or in your pocket (some of his regular kibble will do), and put him down in that spot. When he squats to pee, give him some kibble and praise him.
Puppies under the age of 10 weeks have no control of their bladder or bowels. This means they should be taken out every hour that they are awake. (Luckily, puppies sleep a lot, too.) It helps to have each family member take a regular "shift" for house-training the puppy, so the responsibility doesn't turn into a burden for one person.
If the puppy has an "accident" in the house (and he will), do not react either negatively or positively. Simply remove the pup from the area and immediately clean it with Nature's Miracle or another enzyme cleanser that will erase any lingering scents.
As the pup gets older, he can spend longer periods of time in his crate before being taken out. A general, almost-universally accepted rule is that a puppy can control his bladder one hour for each month of his age, so a three-month-old puppy is usually able to control his bladder for three hours before he has to go.
Even if you're taking the puppy on frequent trips outside, there will be other times he has to go. Watch for puppy behaviors like suddenly replacing playing with sniffing around; it usually means he's looking for a place to pee, so it's better to be safe and take him outside immediately. Also, about 20 minutes after a puppy eats or drinks — and almost as soon as he wakes up from a nap — are ideal times to take him outside.
We love pets! Read about when our columnist Beverly Beckham gave her grandson the gift of frogs. Elsewhere on Grandparents.com, read what happens when one grandma buys her grandkids a rat, and join in this father-daugher debate about whether or not to get a family pet.
How well do you get along with your grandchild and other family members? Want to know if your personalities mesh?Find out here.