Housebreaking Rules for Your New Puppy

You’re the proud owner of a new puppy. Unfortunately, you are also the not so proud owner of a soggy living room carpet. It doesn’t take long to realize this can’t keep happening. So what do you do? It might just be time to housebreak your new pet.

Housebreaking may sound painful but relax. It really isn’t all that difficult. It is your dog’s natural tendency to want to keep its living area clean so once the home is firmly established in your pets mind the problem will be resolved. There are several ways you can assist the process to move faster.

Noodle's last class.
Image credit: aiiliiin

The first thing you want to do is be sure your pet is healthy to start with. If your pet has not been to the vet already, make an appointment. Your dog should be checked for overall healthiness and for conditions that would make house training difficult, such as cystitis and kidney or bladder dysfunction. While your pet is visiting the veterinarian, ask to have them checked for worms and parasites also by way of a fecal exam.

Also bear in mind the truthfulness behind mothers’ wisdom when she said “You are what you eat.” Poor quality dog food, in addition to contributing to a poor nutritional state, can cause digestive problems resulting in loose stools, thus contributing to your pup’s inability to control itself.

The most important part of housebreaking your pet is close supervision. This is necessary because your puppy learns by repetition. If you see your dog showing signs of needing to relieve itself, then immediate action must be taken to get the animal outside to its designated area. Consistency in training is critical. Do not think being lax because it’s cold or dark outside is acceptable or your pet will adopt these same attitudes.

Gabi the puppy
Image credit: Gabi

Close supervision during housebreaking is also necessary because it gives you time to learn your dogs special quirks such as needing to urinate right after eating or a certain action they take prior to soiling the floor so you can watch for these actions and respond in the future. Also it allows you to correct a situation while it is still fresh in the dogs mind. While being very intelligent creatures, short term memory is not the strong point for most animals of this species and correcting them after more than a few minutes have passed serves no real purpose.

Another key to Housebreaking is giving your dog a limited amount of space. Baby gates across doorways or a pet crate help to make a more confined area and help your pet to recognize this as his living space. Their natural tendency is to go outside of their own living space to urinate so making this association for your pet will make your job easier. Lining this space with sorbent paper is a good idea at first as it facilitates a much easier cleanup of any accidents your pet might have.

Image credit: Gabi

Also be aware that some surfaces are more pet-friendly than others. Try to confine your new pet to areas of the home with tile or vinyl floors which are much easier to clean. Avoid letting them have access to carpet or hardwood floors which retain odors and can be extensively damaged by an errant pup.

Remember to limit the amount of water your dog has access to at the end of the day as you will otherwise be making a walk with your pet in the middle of the night. A quick walk outside at regularly timed intervals is advisable to training as this helps your pet to set an internal schedule. Be certain to use a consistent keyword to tell your pet why you are out in the yard such as “potty” or “toilet” or anything you choose and do not return indoors until they have relieved themselves.

Also remember to give praise when your dog relieves itself in appropriate places such as on a disposable/reusable surface or outdoors. Again consistent training is the key.

If your pet does have an accident indoors, correct the animal immediately and then clean the area using non-ammonia based products. Instead use an enzyme based deodorizer (such as PetLab Urine Stain & Odour Remover) to clean the area and be sure to remove all odor of the accident or the animal will repeat the behavior again.

If you follow these simple rules, your carpets and your new pet should be able to coexist peacefully and relatively free from stress.


  • John E. Neyman, Jr.

    The guest author is a passionate dog lover and enthusiast with years of experience in canine care and training. With a deep understanding of dog behavior and a commitment to promoting responsible pet ownership, the author shares insightful tips and engaging stories to enrich the lives of both dogs and their owners. The views and opinions expressed in articles written by guest authors on our website are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of our platform.

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