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Dogs are den animals that are born with an instinctive desire to urinate and defecate outside their homes. This is to prevent their enemies from locating them, their food and their families.

As new puppy owners, we need to teach them that our house is their new den and that they have to go outside the den to relieve themselves. To do this, we must start by only allowing the puppy access to one small area at a time. As he understands what areas are for play, sleeping, and eating, he will also be learning that outside is the only acceptable place to go “potty.” As he matures, you can add additional areas for him to explore and use as his den.

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Step 1 – Choosing a Crate

Choosing the right crate is very important when housetraining your new puppy. You must choose one that lets the puppy stand up, turn around, and fully lie down. It must not be too big so that your pup can potty in one area then sleep and eat in the other. If your puppy will be growing quickly while still being potty trained, you might consider getting a larger crate and using a divider to make a smaller area until he has grown larger.

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Step 2 – Association

Hang some bells on the door handle, making sure they reach the floor where the puppy can touch them. Use the same door each time and jingle the bells while saying the command “Let’s go potty.” Be sure to go out with him and praise him when he is finished. As your puppy becomes more mature, he will use the bells to let you know whenever he needs to go outside.

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Step 3 – Dealing with “Uh Ohs”

The puppy will have some accidents while being housetrained. Just accept this and understand that he is still just a “baby.” When you catch him urinating, IMMEDIATELY get his attention so he will stop, then quickly take him outside to finish. If you find a soiled area, DO NOT punish. Just clean it up without letting the puppy see you. If he sees what you’re doing, he might think that it’s a fun game for you and he may try to make more “games” for you throughout the entire houe… uhhhgg!

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Step 4 – Routine

Never make the puppy stay in his crate longer than he can physically handle not urinating. Depending on his age, you may need to have someone let him out again after 3-4 hours. Make sure they praise him after he finished and give him clockxa little playtime before going back in the crate. Remember to do the same as you get home.

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As long as your puppy is getting positive feedback only when he goes outside and NO praise or attention when he goes inside, he WILL learn where to go and not to go in his new home!

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Here’s a typical schedule.

Morning – Immediately take your puppy outside to “potty” as soon as he is awake. Make sure to go out with him and praise him when he is finished. Let him eat no later than one hour before you leave, and give him some supervised play time. Before leaving, make sure to take him back out to potty, and then place him inside his crate with a toy and some water.

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Evening – As soon as you walk in the door, IMMEDIATELY take him outside, stay with him, then as soon as he’s finished, praise, praise, and PRAISE the little guy for being so good!

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Bedtime – Before bedtime, make sure to take him outside one last time before putting him in the crate. And remember: don’t let him have any food at least one hour before crating him before the night.

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If you’re able to be home most of the day and the puppy can hear and/or see you, this could cause him to be very excited and anxious. Make sure to take him out every 30-45 minutes to prevent any possible mistakes he may have.

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