You got a puppy! How exciting! There may be nothing as joyful, curious, and lovable as a baby dog. Cleaning up after them, however, is a little less fun. If this is your first, and you don’t know how to train your puppy, read on for a helpful guide to dog behavior training that will provide you with ways on how to house train your puppy.


There are a lot of things to know about how to house train your puppy. But one of the greatest assets you will develop as you learn how to train your puppy is patience. It can take as many as six months for most puppies to be completely house-trained. Sounds like a long time, right? Well, it is, if you’re impatient. To develop patience, be consistent and be prepared for your puppy to sometimes take some steps back from their progress. And be tolerant: just as your puppy is learning how to be house trained, you’re also learning how to train your puppy. You each may miss the mark sometimes.

When to Get Started House-Training

Of course, the puddles and packages on the papers or in the small crate may make you answer this question with “Right away!” But that’s not advantageous, according to experts. Puppies younger than three months generally lack the requisite bladder control for house training, so shoot for between twelve and sixteen weeks. Your veterinarian can guide you if you’re not certain.

Gently Confining Your Puppy

Puppies will not relieve themselves where they sleep, so confining your puppy in a crate, a smaller room, or a large cage overnight and during daily intervals will lay the foundation for the house-training process. Confinement teaches the puppy that they must go elsewhere for relief. As your puppy makes progress, gradually increase the amount of space he or she has. Remain vigilant, of course.

Feed Your Puppy on a Schedule

Keep your puppy on a rigid feeding schedule and only offer food during limited and predetermined times. This will make your puppy’s evacuation needs structured and predictable.

Take Your Puppy Outside Frequently

This is rewarding for both of you! Puppies love getting outside and exploring. Take your puppy out as early in the morning as possible, and then every 45 minutes or so, with the intervals as regular and consistent as possible. In addition, try to take your puppy out after feeding, napping, and playing (excited puppies are sometimes incontinent puppies). Try to use the same location each time you take your puppy out, as he or she will detect the scent they’ve left and be prompted to eliminate. Of course, the most important element is to praise and reinforce your puppy each time they use the outside. Treats are not necessarily the only reward, though they’re very effective: extended walks to new territory is very reinforcing as well.


It takes a village to train a puppy. As you learn how to train your puppy, enlist some partners if possible. It’s recommended to be with your puppy as much as possible during the early stages of house training, but it’s not always practical. Be sure that others who help you train your puppy understand the steps and process and are prepared for frequent walks. And possibly some cleanup.

Beyond the Early Stages

Some puppies can be trained in as few as four months, while others take longer. You will learn their capacity as you learn how to train your puppy. You will know when you see results. After the initial training period, make sure that your puppy is still given enough opportunities to go outside for at least the following four months. And don’t be discouraged by setbacks or accidents even long after they appeared to be trained: it’s common with dogs up to a year old.

Good luck with your puppy, and remember: if you haven’t gotten a puppy yet there’s still time to consider an older, shelter animal instead. Each year eight million animals end up in animal shelters, and they need homes too.

At Southern Arizona Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center we are happy to provide a wide range of veterinary specialty and emergency services. It is important to have a “primary care” veterinarian to keep your new family member healthy and happy with routine vaccinations and health checks. But if you find yourself in the midst of a veterinary emergency, our team of experienced veterinarians is here to help. When it comes to visiting animal hospitals, we understand that the experience can be full of stress and worry, so we aim to make things as simple as possible. For more information, get in touch with one of our experts today.