Choosing a Housebreaking Plan

Remember how exciting it was when you made the decision to get a dog? Before you got your puppy, you probably thought a lot about what it would be like when you got him. You thought about long walks and trips to the beach, snuggling on the couch, playing fetch out in the backyard and getting lots of great, sloppy dog kisses. You had high expectations... this was going to be so much fun! But then, once your dog moved in, you discovered something SHOCKING. He goes potty. A lot. And not always in the right places.

You probably haven't spent much time in your life thinking about dog bodily functions, but now that you're a dog owner, you may find that's pretty much all you think about, especially if Fido's having housebreaking issues. The first step in getting control over those pees and poops is deciding where you want them. If you're not sure, your dog certainly won't have a clue. If you've already figured out where your puppy will be going potty, you can skip this article an move on to the appropriate training section, either Housebreaking or Paper Training and Other Indoor Potty Training Methods.

If you don't have a plan yet, the first decision you'll have to make is whether you want to housebreak your puppy, teaching him to go potty outside only, or do indoor potty training, which teaches him to go potty indoors on newspapers, on potty pads, or in a litter box.

Generally, you should use the outdoor housebreaking plan for your dog if:

  1. 1. He's a large dog whose puddles and piles are too big to be part of civilized, indoor society.
  2. 2. Your schedule allows you to get him to his potty area regularly or he can take himself out through a doggie door.
  3. 3. You have access to an outdoor area that is appropriate for use as a dog toilet.

Get started with Housebreaking.

You should use the indoor potty training plan for your dog if:

  1. 1. He's very small and his pees and poos won't be terribly offensive indoors.
  2. 2. You work very long hours and can't give him outdoor access on a regular schedule.
  3. 3. You don't have access to a suitable outdoor potty area.
  4. 4. You plan to permanently allow him to use an indoor potty area.

Get started with Indoor Potty Training.

Shouldn't I papertrain my puppy before I teach him to go outside?

Cute dog

Contrary to popular belief, paper training should not be used as the first step in your housebreaking program except under two circumstances. Paper training should be done only if :

  1. 1. You intend to permanently papertrain your dog (usually done with small dogs) OR
  2. 2. You have a young puppy that must be left alone with no access to the outdoors for several hours a day

There's no getting around it. When you papertrain your dog, you are teaching him the opposite of what we want him to learn in his housebreaking... you're teaching him to go potty in the house. If your goal is to have a dog who goes potty only outside, start in the housebreaking section to get off on the right foot.

Puppy Sleep Training ebook cover

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