Housebreaking a Puppy – a time proven potty training method

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Potty Training Your Puppy

Use Puppy Gates and Crates!!

The time proven housebreaking method.  Housebreaking a puppy can be an easy process or difficult depending on the method chosen. Before bringing home a new puppy you should have everything necessary to make housebreaking easy. I personally love doggy door training but if a doggy door is not possible then the following method works very well and fast if you do it right.




  1. Get your puppy on a feeding and drinking schedule ASAP (see below) or Download this PDF download on Puppy Schedules.
  2. Purchase a small crate with a latching door. This crate will be used to confine the puppy when you can not monitor them.
  3. Buy a bag of small dog treats, or you can use small pieces of chicken. The treats should be no bigger then a dime.
  4. Have plenty of Dog Urine and Stain removing liquid on hand.. I recommend Nature’s Miracle Stain & Odor Remover, 32-Ounce Pour Bottle
  5. Place a bell(s) (Christmas type) bell on a rope hanging from the doorknob of the door. Check out PoochieBells but you can easily make your own.
  6. Make certain you have a 6ft – 10ft leash and collar.
  7. Decide on a command for the puppy to go potty. I personally just use: “Go Potty”. This will reinforce the word with the act and pretty soon your dog will be going potty on command.
  8. Use lots of praise and repeat the command for example “Good Go Potty Outside, Jack!!” “Good Boy”!! and give affection and/or a treat.  Say your potty command over and over until they go potty and then once they do… give them a small party with lots of praise.
  9. If you decide to use treats, then just one per potty and only use them for the first week or so and then remove the food reward, this is not something you want to continue to do everytime they go potty outside for life.
  10. When you con not have all eyes on your puppy in the house then they need to be put back in their enclosure or crate until they’re housebroken. This is super important. Its much harder to train a puppy not to go potty on the carpet once they’ve done it a few times.
  11. DOWNLOAD: this is my favorite feeding and potty training schedule printout: How to Housebreak Your Dog in 7 Days

Reece as a puppy

The Potty Routine..

The following house training approach will be effective with most puppies in three to four days. You must be diligent for this method to work. Using the steps for a few hours and then skipping a day or two will not lead to a housebroken puppy. From the moment the puppy comes home you have to begin the outside training process. Immediately upon bringing a puppy home, put them on a leash and take them directly to the door that leads outside and where you have your bells hanging, take his paw and ring the bells, then open the door and take him to his new go potty spot. Never carry a puppy to its potty spot. When the puppy has reached the location where you want them to go potty, use the command phrase that you’ve selected and do not say any other words. I personally use the phrase “Go Potty! Then wait for the puppy to do something. Immediately upon seeing the puppy completes going potty, bend down and give the puppy a small treat. Praise your puppy!  I like to say “Good Go Potty Outside!

Be consistent with whatever you choose to say and say the same thing every time!  Only one treat per completed job.  When finished, lead the puppy back into the house, play with the puppy for maybe ten or fifteen minutes. Then place them back in their crate. Repeat this process every two to three hours. Always be consistent, soon the puppy will begin to understand the routine. Placing the puppy back in the crate or enclosure unless you’re going to be able to monitor them at all times. Never leave the puppy to roam the house when housebreaking. One accident can set you back.

Be vigilant when your puppy is in the house especially on the carpeted areas of your home, watch for potty ques like circling, sniffing etc. if you see them doing this take them directly outside. The backing on carpet has a smell that makes them want to us it for potty. Therefore, it’s better to restrict the puppy to hard surface floors for at least the first couple weeks, I understand that this is not always possible so in the case where your house is all carpeted then you just have to be more vigilant and keep your eyes on your puppy at all times when their out of the crate during housebreaking.. eventually they will get it and this will no longer be an issue but during potty training you must have your eyes on your puppy in the house at all times to avoid accidents. Like a HAWK! One adult should take on the responsibility of the initial training but if more than one person is going to be potty training the puppy… You want everyone to be on the same page with the potty phrase you use, the spot you take them all the way down to the praise and reward that you give them.

Accidents can happen if you’re not paying attention..

Keep Calm and Assertive If the puppy has an accident, do not discipline them, a calm and assertive energy is going to be key to gaining your puppies trust. If you’re yelling and screaming then your puppy will just think that you’re unbalanced and that you can not be trusted and this is really not the way you want to start to build a strong lifelong relationship with your puppy. Labradoodles and Aussiedoodles are very smart dogs, training them is easy but you also need to be careful what you’re training them, you can unintentionally train them things without realizing you’re even doing it and training them with anger will only teach them that humans can not be trusted. Dogs follow assertive energy, they do not follow angry or frustrated energy so pay close attention to your body language and your tone when training your puppy. Being an assertive leader is fine, being an angry and frustrated leader is not. To learn more about how to be a calm assertive dog owner you should read one of Cesar Millan’s books or watch some of his shows on Youtube (full episodes are available on Youtube).  This is a great book “Be the Pack Leader: Use Cesar’s Way“. If you catch your puppy squatting in the house, rush over, pick them up, say in a calm but assertive tone of voice… “No, you go Potty Outside” Take the puppy directly outside using the same routine (do not put the puppy back to the crate first so you can clean up the mess). Take the puppy outside first and then clean up the mess once the puppy is back in their enclosure. Use your Nature’s Miracle Stain & Odor Remover or another effective urine/pheromone cleanup liquid. Never let the puppy see you clean up its mess, and this means never. If the puppy marks the inside of the house with accidents that are not cleaned up completely, it will use the pheromone in these accident areas as the indicator of where it should go again and again that is why the best rule is to avoid the first accident by containing and watching your puppy like a hawk when it is not contained until you think they’re reliable going outside. Do not scold the puppy for having an accident. Do not use a newspaper to swat them, rub their nose in it or any of the old school potty training punishments we’ve all seen used in the past. Make certain everyone in the household and any friends or guests understand not to punish the puppy for an accident. If the accident was inside the crate, then place the puppy in a bathroom or other safe confining area in the house while you clean up the mess inside the crate. This process should take place like clockwork for the first week after bringing home a new puppy. At night right before going to bed, you take the puppy out for the last time (follow the script) then place them in their crate for bedtime.

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Do not give your puppy food or water at least a couple hours before bedtime. 

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Do not let the puppy train YOU with moans and whimpering at night. Leave the puppy to adjust to its new environment. In the morning, go to the puppy and put the leash on their collar, pick them up and carry them to the door quickly and begin the housebreaking process again. Following all the before mentioned steps. If the puppy soiled its crate, cleanup the mess without bringing attention to the puppy that it had an accident. After a month or more when the puppy always goes to the door to go outside, begin to wean the puppy off treats. Skipping a treat every once in awhile. When the puppy is completely house broken you can wean them off the treats completely. Just remember to not give up on training the new puppy to follow a set procedure to let you know it wants to go outside. Do not use doggy doors until the puppy knows its proper spot to go potty and not to go inside. Be diligent, have patience and consistency in your training and your new puppy will be housebroken in a short period of time.

Puppy Potty Schedules

Setting Up Your Schedule Puppies urinate frequently and predictably. They go after waking up, after eating, after playing, and when they get excited. Always take your puppy out to the same place, the same time, and following his meals. It is important to allow your puppy to earn space in your home. Only allow him in a new room after he has gone to the bathroom outside. Do not overextend his limits. He needs to gradually work up to extended freedom in the home. Do not wait until your puppy is 6 months old to show him your living space, he will not consider this part of his “den” and may not respect it. Good manners are taught young. Within 10-30 minutes after you feed your pup he will have to relieve himself. All your walks do not need to be long. The first walk in the morning is just to relieve himself then bring him back in for breakfast in the crate. Pull up all food and water by 7pm (depending on your schedule, climate, etc.). Your puppy needs to go to bed on an empty stomach and bladder. An ice cube instead of a whole bowl of water is helpful…. It gives them liquid in the bowl gradually and/or is a fun snack. Feed your pup in his crate for now. This does several things, it enables him to eat with more peace of mind knowing he’s in his own space, and it makes the crate a more enjoyable place to spend time in. Giving your puppy dinner by 5pm allows him to digest and urinate prior to bedtime. If he seems hungry later a biscuit around 7 is ok.

Example of Puppy Schedules

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To download these time schedules and more for older dogs –

Download How to Housebreak Your Dog in 7 Days .PDF  

NOT INTO THE CRATE IDEA?

TRY POOCHIE BELLS…

Poochie Bells for training dogs

Poochie Bells

3 step training instructions

  • STEP ONE – INTRODUCTION – Hang PoochieBells inside the house on a doorknob or hook next to the door your dog exits to go out and leave it there so it is accessible at all times for your dog to ring.
  • STEP TWO – ASSOCIATION – Every time you let your dog out to potty, bring the dog to the bells to sniff, ring them, and state a command such as “Outside, ring your bells!”, praise the dog, then take him/her out to potty. We do not recommend playing with or giving the dog a treat at that time. You want him/her to associate ringing the bells with potty time only.\
  • STEP THREE – PRAISE AND REPEAT – Throughout conditioning, continue your command, be consistent and praise your dog for their attention and wanted behavior. Consistency is key.

BUY POOCHIE BELLS ON AMAZON HERE!

Crate Size information:

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The first few nights, you can place the crate beside the bed so that the puppy can hear and smell you. It is your choice to place a pillow, towel or puppy pad inside the crate. Normally puppies will not soil their sleeping area. Dogs are den animals and are naturally clean, they do not want to sleep in their own potty mess. If they’ve been raised in a clean environment to begin with at the breeders then you can use their natural instinct to your benefit by using a crate to potty train your puppy. Using a crate is not mean. They may not like it at first but they will eventually see their crate as their den and safe haven. A chew toy is usually the best thing to place inside a crate and nothing else. You want to make sure however that the crate is not big enough for them to make a bathroom area and a sleeping area in their crate. It needs to be big enough for them to turn around, lay down, stand up and sit down without their head hitting the top of the crate. If the crate is too big they will divide the crate with one side being their potty spot and one side being their sleeping spot. You do not want this. If your puppy is going potty in their crate then you are waiting too long to take them out to go potty and you need to adjust their eating and drinking schedule. A puppy that eats and drinks all day will also go pee and poop all day.

For our Aussiedoodle and Labradoodle Puppies I recommend the Midwest 1542 iCrate Single-Door Pet Crate

Standard Labradoodle and Aussiedoodle Puppy Size: Medium: 30″L x 19″W x 21″H

Mini Aussiedoodle Puppy Size:  Small: 24″L x 18″W x 19″H (this size may work for them as adults as well depending on how big they get, you can always get the Medium size to begin with as well)

Standard Labradoodle and Aussiedoodle Adult size:  Intermediate: 36″L x 23″W x 25″H

The Midwest iCrate comes with the following: 

  • Single Door
  • Fold and Carry Configuration
  • Divider Panel ( to make a larger crate smaller until they grow into it)
  • Composite plastic Pan
  • Safe and secure slide bolt latch

For people who work or for those people who can not take their puppy out every 2-3 hours, I do recommend they use a contained area with access to a litter box until they’re a little older and can hold it for the full 8 hours in a carte. You can use either baby gates or an x-pen with a crate inside of it to contain your puppy in a small area. I personally like the wire x-pens which you can find on amazon.com for really cheap. I like to put a plastic tarp (as seen in this picture below) under the x-pen.. however, I do not recommend the grass puppy patch that’s shown in this picture. I’d rather see you use a litter box with paper pellets. I hear these grass patches can start to smell. Not fun. Puppies tend to chew up puppy pads which causes a huge mess.

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You can find these x-pens at Amazon.com, Petco and Petsmart –  Amazon Link: Midwest Black E-Coat Exercise Pen, 24″H x 8 x 24″W  

Great Video by Cesar Millan

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